In June 2014, Chase Dowling emerged as one of the stars in a deep SK Modified lineup at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) when he became the youngest winner ever in the division at just 16 years old. Dowling went on to win the Rookie of the Year title at Stafford.
In 2015, Dowling looks to win Rookie of the Year again, but this time he is hoping to do it on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Dowling, at 17, will be the youngest full-time NWMT driver, and will be a teammate to one of the long-time veterans of the Tour, Jamie “The Jet” Tomaino.
Dowling was a member of Tomaino’s pit crew for much of the 2014 season. They were connected due to having a mutual sponsor, Doug Dunleavy of Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair.
“Jamie just offered (a ride) one time,” Dowling told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “At the end of the year we sat down and had a talk. He’s a really good guy. I can’t thank him enough. Jamie is an owner giving me an opportunity. He’s going out of his way to provide me a car. I have two big sponsors in Doug Dunleavy and S&S Asphalt Paving that are backing me, so it all fell in place with sponsors and Jamie is giving me a huge opportunity to race one of his cars.”
This is all happening very fast for the young driver from Roxbury, CT. Some drivers spend many years running SK Modifieds before getting a chance to run the NWMT. It’s something that Dowling is well aware of.
“We went from go-karts to Legend cars to SK Lights to SKs and now all of a sudden I’ll be 17 years old and running on the Whelen Modified Tour,” he said. “It just seems like a lot has gone on really quick.”
Dowling has very little experience in a Tour-Type Modified. He made one start on the Valenti Modified Racing Series in 2014 at the Waterford Speedbowl (CT) where he finished 23rd after only completing 23 of the 100 scheduled laps.
His lack of experience has made him think of realistic goals. Does he want to win? Of course he does. But that isn’t the goal he’s set for himself.
“It would be awesome to shoot for a top 10 in points,” he said. “I think it’s possible with the equipment we have. That’s a goal that would be amazing to accomplish.
“I know Tommy Barrett won a race in his rookie year but he has so much experience. A top-three (in a race) would be a win to me. A win would be like a dream. It’s just awesome to have a chance to race.”
Dowling will be in a Troyer chassis with a number nine on the doors. He’ll have a Roush-Yates NASCAR Spec engine prepared by Billy the Kid under the hood and will be backed by Spectro Oils, All About You Homecare, John Carragan Heating and Air Conditioning, Family Electric, and Dough Broker.
His full stable of sponsors has him feeling some pressure heading into his rookie campaign.
“There’s big pressure running in a NASCAR sanctioned series,” he said. “There’s a lot of money on the line and a lot of sponsors believing in you to get good results. You want to go out there and have fun but you’ve got to do the best you can because it’s basically another job.”
Dowling believes he has the equipment capable of getting the job done, so he can’t use that as an excuse if he doesn’t get the job done.
“It’s just being on your A-game every week,” he said. “That’s what we are going to do. We are going to have a brand new car and motor and good enough equipment to run up front. I think it’s possible. It’s up to me.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Regional Editor (Long Island, CT and NJ) -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Dowling Motorsports Photo.