For more than three months, fans from around the United States and Canada made their way to Speed51.com to cast their votes for the 2014 Speed51.com Modified Most Popular Driver. Nearly 50,000 votes were submitted throughout the three months. After a long process of tabulating the votes, the 51 staff is excited to announce the winner of the inaugural Speed51.comModified Most Popular Driver Award.
In 2014, this Modified driver burst onto the scene during his rookie season competing in the highly-competitive SK Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT). After just one year competing in the SK Light division at the track, this driver made the jump to one of the most competitive weekly divisions in the country and did so in style by becoming the youngest driver to win a SK Modified division in track history.
At the age of 16, he captured Rookie of the Year honors and went on to make his first career Tour-Type Modified start during a Valenti Modified Racing Series event at the Waterford Speedbowl (CT).
Without further adieu, the winner of the 2014 Speed51.com Modified Most Popular Driver Award is… Chase Dowling.
“I have a ton of fans that support me and have my back,” Dowling told Speed51.com powered by JEGS upon being notified of his MPD win. “When you walk around the pits, you may not know people but if you just say hi or wave to them and smile at them it may go a long way with them. It just seems like when I’m at the track I just see a lot of smiles and a lot of smiles back, which means that people are happy about my racing.”
As a result of winning the award, Dowling will receive a free hero card design from 51 Sports, the parent company of Speed51.com.
“It’s great when a young, up-and-coming driver embraces social media and uses it to promote himself and his racing efforts like Chase Dowling has,” said Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director. “Promoting things like 51’s Most Popular Driver voting to the fans goes a long way, as we’ve seen in past MPD voting. Chase is a talented young driver and plenty of fans in the Northeast have taken notice. I’m sure he will represent his fans well as the Speed51.com Modified Most Popular Driver.”
During the upcoming racing season, Dowling has plans to once again compete weekly at the half-mile Connecticut oval, as well as compete in select NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events. He believes that winning the Speed51.com Most Popular Driver Award will help him in his quest to get his name out there and solidify a full-time ride on the Tour in the near future.
“It’s a great opportunity to get your name out there,” said Dowling. “They always say that you need opportunities to get your name out there in order to make connections. I’m just putting everything on the line now. I just turned 17 years old and I’m thinking about going to college after I graduate next year. My sponsors will always have my back and I’m just trying to give it all I’ve got.”
What type of strategy did Dowling use on his way to winning the award? He said he didn’t really have a strategy. He simply used social media to his advantage and put the voting in the hands of the great people that support his racing career.
“I looked online one time and saw my name in the top-10 and I’m like, ‘that’s awesome.’ I posted a thing on Facebook and tried to see who could help me out to get the award. It was just the word of mouth with all of the awesome people that support me.
“I guess I’m just a likeable person.”
Springport Motor Speedway driver Brian Roes finished a close second to Dowling in the voting. 2014 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Rookie of the Year Timmy Solomito, KOMA driver Jeremy Mayfield and 2014 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Andy Seuss rounded out the top-five in the voting.
Since 2001, Speed51.com has been the home for short track news, behind-the-scenes stories and in-depth race coverage and radio broadcasts of series all around the country, from ARCA and NASCAR’s Touring Divisions, to the Super Late Model and Modified series and much more. 51 is the Official News Website of such major short track racing events as the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Florida, the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida, the Winchester 400 and more. In 2014, Speed51.com introduced its live video broadcast division, 51 TV, and has produced pay-per-view broadcasts of some of short track racing’s most prestigious events with more live broadcasts to be announced soon. 51 also has an exclusive partnership with NASCAR to provide live updates at many NASCAR K&N Pro Series and Whelen Modified Tour events.
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-Speed51.com Staff Release. Photo credit: Dowling Motorsports