(Stafford Springs, CT)—After a 2015 season that saw him win Sunoco Rookie of the Year on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, 18-year old Chase Dowling is ready to challenge for his first career victory. What better place for Dowling to collect his first Tour win than at Stafford Speedway in the 45th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler, where he first sat behind the wheel of an open wheel modified car.
“I’m really excited,” said Dowling. “I have a lot of laps at Stafford thanks to my SK Modified® and SK Light experience and it’s always nice to go back to your home track. It’s really hard to win at the Tour level and we don’t expect to win a ton of races, but we’re going to try our best. What’s better than winning at your home track? It would be an honor to win a race especially at Stafford having grown up there and coming through the SK Light and SK Modified® divisions for both myself and the crew. Everyone on this team deserves to be in victory lane.”
After teaming with Jamie Tomaino Motorsports for his rookie campaign, Dowling and the #9 S+S Asphalt Paving / Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair / Hocon Industrial Gas team have joined forces with long time NWMT owner Bob Katon. While the car owner is new from last season, Dowling says the crew remains the same and they are looking to build upon the experience that they logged during the 2015 season.
“We had a building year last year and I learned a lot going from track to track and we built up a good notebook for this season,” said Dowling. “We’re teaming up with Bob Katon as our car owner this year so it’s a new team but we’re going to have the same group of guys working on the car. I think it should be a pretty good year for us.”
Just as he had done in Stafford’s SK Light and SK Modified® ranks, Dowling proved to be quick study during his rookie NWMT season. Dowling’s season got off to a very slow start with his best finish over the first 6 races of the year a 12th place effort at Stafford. But in the final 9 races of the season, Dowling posted 8 top-10 finishes, including a career best third place finish at Riverhead. With positive momentum on his side, Dowling is looking to carry that over into the 2016 season.
“I think that having a good notebook is key to having good results,” said Dowling. “Our results last year weren’t a result of myself or the team not trying hard, we just didn’t have a notebook to work with. I remember in the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 at Stafford we were running right with Woody [Pitkat] up front until we had to make our pit stop and we had some issues there. Our first time at Riverhead we finished 10th and second race there we were running right up front and battling for the lead. That just shows how much experience and time counts. You’re never going to beat experience. If you look at Doug Coby and Phil Moran, Phil’s been doing this for a lot of years now and he knows the cars inside and out. We’re trying to build so we can get to that same level. I think we’ll be there one day, it’s just going to take some time.”
For three consecutive seasons, Dowling has been a rookie and he has won Rookie of the Year each time. He was Stafford’s SK Light R.O.Y. in 2013 with 7 wins and SK Modified® R.O.Y. in 2014 with 1 win before taking home the rookie award last year in the Whelen Modified Tour. The rear bumper will be rookie stripe free in 2016.
“I don’t think it will be any different this season,” said Dowling. “If you respect the guys around you, they’ll respect you on the track. I think we were starting to get it at the end of the 2015 season. We qualified seventh and finished 6th at the NAPA Fall Final and I think we have a lot to look forward to. We’re hoping that we can get a solid top-5 finish in the Spring Sizzler.”
Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Tickets will be available at all 57 participating NAPA Auto Parts stores beginning on Monday April 4th. For a full list of the 57 locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island, call the speedway office or visit us on the web at www.staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores.
For more information on the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.