A little under two weeks ago, long time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour car owner Eddie Harvey announced jointly that he and two-time Southern champion Andy Seuss had decided to mutually part ways to pursue their own future goals. At the same time, Harvey revealed exclusively to Speed51.com that he and his Ideal Racing team were in the early stages of forming a combined effort with LFR Chassis owner and house team operator Rob Fuller with the purpose of providing a full season detail for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour up-and-comer Chase Dowling of Connecticut.
On Wednesday, Dowling and Harvey confirmed to Speed51 that while plans for 2018 are still on the drawing board, the two teams are coming together early to run for a win at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 16.
“Rob Fuller and I are teaming up with Eddie Harvey to run Bristol,” Dowling told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I think it’s a good opportunity for both teams, especially with the Tour combining North and South together, it’s easier on both teams financially when you can team up with another one that has the same desire as we do to win. We’ve been talking with Eddie, Rob and I both made a decision that we thought would be the best thing for our future too. After Bristol we’re going to try and run full-time next year, that’s the plan.”
Though Harvey has spent little time with Dowling in person he is confident from what he has heard from Dowling’s past and present supporters, as well as following Dowling’s racing accomplishments; including this season where Dowling has four wins at Stafford Motor Speedway in the SK Modifieds and his first Tour-type Modified win in Modified Touring Series competition at Monadnock Speedway (NH).
“I’m very excited about it, looking forward to working with Chase quite a bit,” Harvey said happily. “I’ve never worked with him, but I’ve heard so much from Jamie Tomaino and Rob Fuller about him; heard about what he’s doing in the SK’s at Stafford, that’s all I’m hearing about. I’m very excited to put this together.”
North Carolina based Ideal Racing had run full-time on the former Southern Modified Tour before being absorbed into the original NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour during the winter of this year. Following that, the team scaled back to part-time with Seuss prior to his departure two weeks ago. Harvey has already enjoyed a healthy relationship with Fuller and LFR since Ideal Racing switched over to the LFR chassis in 2015.
It is a combination that Dowling believes can be lethal straight off the trailer in two weeks at “Thunder Valley”.
“I’m excited to work with someone like Eddie Harvey that can get great equipment out on the racetrack. It’s a very nice shop with great cars and motors. You look at Eddie’s past, he’s got great accomplishments. I know Rob and the whole LFR team with the 15 car do a great job preparing race cars to be fast every week. I think the equipment’s there, the people are going to be there, and I think the sponsors are going to be there. It’s good for everyone, for me, Rob, and Eddie. I’m very excited to go out and work with them,” Dowling said proudly.
Harvey has been very happy with the relationship the team has enjoyed with LFR so far and believes that this expanded partnership is essential for any future endeavor Ideal Racing wants to make in the modern Whelen Modified Tour.
“Rob and LFR have been a huge supporter of our camp for the last two years and if I’m going to move forward with someone and try to improve our program, I feel like Rob is the way to go. We’re very excited about working with Rob and LFR, especially rubbing elbows with each other, that’s going to be the neat part,” Harvey said.
Technically, the effort for 2018 is not official as of yet, with both owners using Bristol as a determining factor going forward. But a solid effort for Dowling will help to bolster the budding partnership, and perhaps get Dowling a chance at some seat time beyond the four remaining races he has with Fuller and LFR in 2017.
“It’s still in the works, that’s definitely the plan, though, to run full-time next year. We just have to figure out everything out, what cars are going to run at which races, where Eddie and Rob run. We’ve just got put things on paper and see how Bristol goes. We’ll take it one race at a time as always, see how it goes and if Eddie wants to run a few more races this year, I think we’ll run them. I’ve still got four more races with Rob, Thompson next Wednesday, then in the fall at Loudon, Stafford, and Thompson (World Series). We’ll see how it pans out. I’m definitely thankful for the opportunity,” stated Dowling.
Harvey is confident that the essentials are in place for a full effort in 2018 and that it’s just a matter of working out the fine print.
“It’s just dotting all our I’s and crossing all our T’s, everything preliminary is in place to move forward with Chase, it’s just getting it all on paper and getting it finalized is about all that’s up there,” Harvey replied.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com