The start of the 2016 season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour brings new surroundings for a number of drivers and teams. Some drivers are entering as rookies on the Tour while some are returning after some time away in other racing ventures, mixed in with the usual “silly season” moves. Chase Dowling is a driver returning to the tour for his sophomore campaign with some new surroundings, teaming with team owner Bob Katon for the upcoming season.
“I’m really excited to team up with Bob Katon and bringing on all the same sponsors again,” Dowling told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The car was good during testing. It’s the same car we used last year, we also have Bob’s car that he always has. We’ve got the same motor, basically the same equipment, we’re just trying to relaunch this year with Bob, and it should be a good year.”
Dowling, who is entering his second full season on the Tour might be expected to have a lot to still learn, along with adapting to his new background for the season. Dowling though believes that 2016 is not about learning, but instead applying what he learned as a rookie in 2015.
“Biggest takeaway from last year had to be experience and notebooks,” Dowling explained. “We went back to every track and got better and better. We’re going to use that going into this year, hopefully we will get even better. Last year just shows you that time helps you throughout the year, that’s why I think it’s going to be a good season.”
Dowling has rapidly risen through the Modified ranks the last three seasons. He started at Stafford Motor Speedway running the SK Light Modifieds where he earned seven wins in 2013. He moved up to the track’s elite SK Modified division, mixing it up with top Modified drivers in the country on a weekly basis, winning one race and rookie of the year.
In 2015 Dowling made another jump up to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, partnering with 1990 champion Jamie Tomaino. He finished ninth in the points standings, coming away with eight top 10s, including the final five races with a high finish of third at Riverhead (NY) in August. With the Rookie of the Year title secured from last season, Dowling feels he has the momentum to do something big in 2016.
“We definitely have momentum with just the experience of being in the Tour and the knowledge you can bring into the year,” Dowling said. “I think we should be contending up front with a lot of top five’s this year and might be in the mix for a win at some point. I really believe we have the team and the effort to get there.”
Dowling and the entire field of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will take to the track for the first time in 2016 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the season opening Icebreaker 150.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, LI, MA) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen