(Stafford Springs, CT)—For Roxbury native Chase Dowling, the past few years of his racing career have been a whirlwind. Dowling came to Stafford as a modified rookie in 2013 and he very nearly won the track championship with 7 wins. Dowling followed that up by moving up to the SK Modified® ranks last season where he again won a race as a rookie and he finished 5th in the points standings. Dowling was Rookie of the Year in both seasons and the 2015 season will see him move full-time to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ranks as a teammate to Jamie Tomaino.
“We’re going to run the full season,” said Dowling. “It’s crazy, a lot has been going on and I’ve been going through the ranks pretty quickly and it kind of hasn’t set in yet. But it’s a dream come true to have an opportunity to run on the Tour, especially for a guy like Jamie Tomaino with awesome sponsors like S+S Asphalt Paving, Dunleavy Truck and Trailer Repair, Family Electric, Carrigan Heating and Air Conditioning, Spectro Oils, and Billy the Kid helping to support us. The best way for me to learn is from the best and most experienced drivers and Jamie has a ton of experience and he’s won a championship, so I’m excited to work with him and I think we’ll have a good combination for this season. Rookie of the Year is the goal but we’ll see how it goes. We have good equipment and good people behind me, so it’s all down to me. There’s some other good rookie drivers who will be trying to win Rookie of the Year as well so it should be interesting.”
While Dowling was racing his #57 SK Modified® last season, he was also serving as a crew member on Tomaino’s #99 Whelen Modified Tour ride and that connection is what led to Dowling getting his ride for the 2015 season.
“I was working as a crew member changing tires for Jamie during the season and we were kind of joking around and it ended up we started talking about it,” said Dowling. “We talked to some other race teams and they were all looking for a driver with experience so everything fell in place that Jamie is giving me the best opportunity that I can ask for right now. The car is a brand new Troyer chassis and I’m so excited, I can hardly contain myself. It’s almost too much going on and it’s definitely a route that’s going to take some time. I have to get experience and learn how to race with the guys on the Tour, it’s a whole new ballgame now.”
With Dowling’s 8 career wins at Stafford, he is looking forward to not only making his NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler debut on April 25-26, but coming back to Stafford for the other three Whelen Modified Tour events during the 2015 season.
“Stafford is going to be fun to come back to four times this year,” said Dowling. “I’m excited to race at Stafford, especially since I have laps around the track. It’s definitely a different type of racing with the Tour car but I’m very excited to come back to my home track. I think it will be a little bit easier to adapt to the car at Stafford than some of the other tracks on the schedule that I haven’t been to yet. Hopefully I can grasp things quicker at Stafford and we can get a good finish. There’s a lot of competition so realistically a top-15 finish would be good and if we could get a top-10, that would be awesome. It’s going to take a lot of patience. Patience is the name of the game but the only way to figure that out is get out there and get some experience racing with the guys. I’m going into it with a clear head and hopefully things go well for us.”
The NAPA Spring Sizzler will be a new challenge for Dowling as the longest race he’s previously taken part in was last year’s 100-lap NAPA SK 5k. Dowling will need to have a car setup for a long run as well as having to come to pit road during the race for tires. Dowling will also have to time trial his way into the starting field rather than qualifying through heat races, but he is ready to tackle all of those challenges.
“I’ve time trialed before but it’s still going to be new for me with the modifieds. Qualifying is a whole ‘nother league of its own and if we could start anywhere in the top-15, that would be good for us. Strategy kind of plays out with what the leaders do. We’re not going to try to outsmart anyone, we’ll probably just do whatever the leaders do. I have all the guys from my SK team working on the car and they’re going to be pitting it and it’s a good group of guys and I think everything will click nicely this year.”
While Dowling will be focused on his Whelen Modified Tour efforts, he still plans on running a handful of SK Modified® races during the 2015 season.
“We’re going to run a couple of SK races this year with most of our focus on the Tour,” said Dowling. “We’re going to shoot to run the SK 5k race along with a couple of races that don’t conflict with the Tour. Hopefully we can get a couple more sponsors to help fund the car and we can run some more SK races. Sizzler weekend we’ll be totally focused on the Tour car.”
Dowling will kick off his very first NAPA Spring Sizzler experience with practice and Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, April 25th as part of the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler. The 200-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler will run on Sunday, April 26 at approximately 3:15pm following the NAPA Pit Party from 11am-12noon and the SK Modified® and Late Model feature events beginning at 1pm. 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.
For more information on the 44th 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.