The Valenti Modified Racing Series made their first and only trip of the season to the Stafford Motor Speedway Friday night, and Roxbury, Connecticut’s Chase Dowling put in a dominating run to secure the victory in the Lincoln Tech 80. The victory was Dowling’s second career VMRS win and his second win this season.
Despite what appeared to be a dominating performance, Dowling said his victory did not necessarily come easily.
“I mean the tires were worn out, you can’t pit for tires, so we run these same tires during the heat race and the feature,” Dowling said in Victory Lane. “We’re all riding out there, if you watch the lap times, we’re a second off in the beginning and at the end we’re just giving it all we got.
“Luckily, the cars that were out front, you kind of figured Ronnie [Williams] and Keith [Rocco] were going to be there at the end, so I had to pace myself to not get too far in front of them. My spotter kept going on the radio and was just like ‘You got them on drive off, you got them on drive off.’ They started getting free and we still had plenty of right rear left in this thing.”
After taking the lead on lap 24 and dominating the next 50 laps of the race, Dowling had to survive a flurry of late restarts to hold on to the lead at the end.
“Obviously crazy race, those restarts there, you don’t want to see that happen,” Dowling said. “I just had to nail the restarts at the end and not give those guys a shot at the bottom groove.
“Can’t do it without these guys, we weren’t supposed to come to this race. We struggled during the Open 80 races but we’re not people who quit, so we have to come back and try to redeem ourselves.”
Stafford weekly competitor Keith Rocco backed up his win in the SK Modified feature with a strong second-place finish. He ran up front for the entire night but in the end was unable to track down the No. 00 of Dowling
“Yeah, it’s just tough, the tires get so hot and then the yellow comes out and they don’t fire it back up right away,” Rocco said. “Chase had a good car tonight. We were able to get by the 25 [of Williams] there at the end and come home second so we’ll take it.”
Another Stafford regular, Matt Galko, came home with a strong third-place run.
“Yeah for most of the race, just like all these guys, we were just saving tires,” Galko said. “I didn’t really have enough to get by Keith or the 25, but the caution came out. Luckily we were able to still sneak in a podium. I think we had a better car than that, but track position got us tonight.
Anthony Flannery and Les Hinckley finished out the top five. Todd Owen, Ronnie Williams, Mike Willis, Donnie Lashua, and Anthony Nocella completed the top 10.
The next race for the Valenti Modified Racing Series will be the headline event at Lee USA Speedway’s Oktoberfest festivities on Sunday, October 6.
-Story by: Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com
VMRS Lincoln Tech 80 at Stafford Motor Speedway – Full Results
1 00 Chase Dowling
2 57 Keith Rocco
3 3 Matt Galko
4 25CT Anthony Flannery IV
5 06 Les Hinckley
6 81 Todd Owen
7 25 Ronnie Williams
8 83 Mike Willis Jr
9 17 Donnie Lashua
10 92 Anthony Nocella
11 1 Andrew Molleur
12 27 Derek Robbie
13 45 Dan Meservey, Jr.
14 09 Brad Vanhouten
15 10 Cory DiMatteo
16 34 Dave Etheridge
17 13 Cameron Sontag
18 63 CJ Bolton
19 39 Sal Accardi, Jr.
20 93 George Sherman
21 1A Artie Pederson III
22 8 Cam McDermott
23 28 Kreig Heroth