For the third straight year, New England’s grassroots stars are getting to taking on the region’s biggest race track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway during the third running of the New England Short Track Showdown. Once again, things are going to be even bigger this Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23, with the addition of two more divisions and a whole host of race cars for all six classes of competition.
One constant that continues this year will be Tour-type Modified racing under the banner of the Valenti Modified Racing Series, with “The Magic Mile” playing host to race number six on the 2019 schedule. The growing entry list boasts plenty of experience as well as youth, with some drivers fitting both categories.
This includes Connecticut star driver Chase Dowling, who last fall in his most recent trip to Loudon, New Hampshire, came away with the biggest win of his career and perhaps all of Modified racing, the inaugural Musket 250 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
But this weekend many things are different: the series, the engines, a team and car that have yet to take on the track, and most importantly, the format. Heat racing will be used instead of time trials, and the race will be a 50-lap sprint race instead of a 250-lap marathon.
“It’s a different series and format than the Tour. Going in with a different team and a different car, but it’s going to be fun,” Dowling told Speed51. “There’s still a lot of practice with the two-day show Saturday and Sunday. I’m not used to racing at Loudon on Sunday.”
The 2019 season has become one of picking and choosing races, rather than running for titles for Dowling, with the same being said for the No. 00 Jimmy Paige owned team that he is driving for this weekend. It is also a season of chances; chances for Dowling to try events that he has never attempted before, with the Short Track Showdown being one of them.
While he is focused on doing his part in the MRS portion, he is looking forward to getting a taste of the overall flavor of the event which includes the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models, Northeast Mini Stock Tour, Street Stock Showdown Series, Weekly Modifieds, and Super Streets in addition.
“It’s cool to see so many people involved from so many different series. It’s neat to go through that tunnel into one of the big tracks, it’s just a great experience.”
This year the MRS 50-lap feature boasts a $5,000 winner’s prize, which goes a long way for many teams and drivers. With a win already this year at another big and fast track, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) back in April, it gives Dowling and the “double-o” team a nice bit of confidence heading north.
“Yeah it does, we’re going in there to win of course,” Dowling stated. “I know all the guys are going to give me the best car they can, I’m sure we’ll be up front racing for the win again. We’ll be going for that $5,000 check; that’s the whole reason we’re going there, it would be for all of us.”
If Dowling wants to come out on top, he will have to face off against a stout list which includes Mike Willis Jr., Ronnie Williams and former MRS champion Anthony Nocella, all of whom are boasting series wins this season.
Drivers such as Brian Robie and Andrew Molleur have also shown success in their home states of New Hampshire and Connecticut respectively this year.
There are also experienced pilots like Max Zachem, Andy Shaw, Dave Ethridge, Anthony Flannery, Todd Owen, and Dave Schneider who are trying to add that big “Magic Mile” win to their resumes.
Speed51.com will also be on location in Loudon, churning out video content throughout the weekend on the Speed51 Network. Become a premium subscriber today to watch video recaps, exclusive interviews, on-board videos, highlights and more from the New England Short Track Showdown.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Rick Ibsen