Back To The Front: Chase Dowling Gets First SK Modified Victory Of 2018 At Stafford

Chase Dowling celebrates his first SK Modified victory of the season at Stafford Speedway Friday (Photo: Jim DuPont)

STAFFORD – In 2017 at Stafford Motor Speedway the early weeks of the racing season in the SK Modified division were all about Chase Dowling.

That hot start carried through with Dowling ending the season with four victories and battling for a division championship on the final day of the season.

The book on Dowling in 2018 has been one far different than the one the Roxbury driver was writing last year.

Struggles through the first five weeks of the season had Dowling missing the successes of last year.

But Friday Dowling put the frustration behind.

Dowling started third, went to the lead on lap four and never trailed again on the way to victory in the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature.

It was the first victory of the season for Dowling, who was back with a family run team this year after parting ways with the Adam Skowyra owned SK Modified team he spent one season with in 2017.

Dowling had replaced Woody Pitkat in the Skowyra owned car prior to the 2017 season.

“You jump in a car that had Woody Pitkat in it with those crew guys that had been together for a couple of years and the combination was there already and you get in and you just fit with that team,” Dowling said. “Last year we did that and we did really good. This year this is like my old team when I ran SK Light [Modifieds] and SK [Modifieds] here. These guys are a lot of fun to work with. We have fun. Spring Sizzler we struggled. Then two wrecks. Last week we finished third and had a weight problem [penalized to 13th place]. But it all added up to this, a lot of hard work in the shop and never giving up on this. Tonight we did that.”

Eric Berndt of Cromwell was second and Ronnie Williams of Tolland third.

For Dowling the victory was doubly important in that it marked the first win at Stafford for an LFR produced SK Modified chassis. Dowling works full-time for LFR and drives for company owner Rob Fuller on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

“There’s some push to it,” Dowling said. “LFR hadn’t won a race here at Stafford in the [SK Modifieds]. There’s always that person pushing behind you trying to get you get you going. We’ve been struggling sometimes in practice but we just never gave up basically the whole time, week in and week out. My guys just stayed high behind me and didn’t give up and just made some changes to the car throughout the weeks and every week we came back different and got faster and faster.”


  1. So let me understand this. Chase was being bashed for making the move to LFR. He is now winning in the SK (old team has not won yet) and he is looking like a serious contender on the huge stage of the Nascar tour. So where was the mistake made? Great job by this young talented (and someone who doesn’t let the public influence his decisions) kid who has a bright future if he stays with the right people around him. Love the outcome to this story.

  2. Congrats to Chase Dowling and the #36 team on your first victory. Hope many more come

  3. All those folks that said this was a mistake will be sitting in a bar someday talking about their career highlights that include a SK championship while Chase is locking down a tour championship and making Ryan Preece earn his keep in the national series. Haters are motivators. Great job and even better career decisions Chase.

  4. Know it all says

    Settle down guys….he won a race that went green to checker. He passed 2 cars which was a season high for him. By the time Brent and Williams got through the junk, dowling had a full straight away lead. One caution and he was dead in the water.

    You need luck though. So good for him

  5. SKModFan says

    Robby, you need some more facts brother. I’m not a hater. I like Chase and glad he won, and could care less about LFR this week, CD last week, who cares?? But Chase was fortunate there were no cautions tonight. The 66 and 50 started 9th and 10th in the field and we’re running him down. Chase was running 19.4-19.5 at the end of the race while the 66 and 50 were running 19.3. One caution, different outcome. Williams in the 50 has been the fastest car over the last 2 weeks, but he doesn’t get to start 3rd. He started 19th last week/finished 2nd and 10th this week/finished 3rd with no cautions. And oh, by the way, the 50 team is now 2nd in points so they are doing fine. Enjoy the win but this was a “when preparation meets opportunity (starting 3rd) type win. He just had to pass the 51 early for this win. Good for him but really nothing to write home about.

  6. Putting the hcarraige ahead of the horse Ronny. Getting a win starting third is kinda a gimme, especially if the race goes caution free. Let’s see how he does when he starts deep in the field.

  7. Dannys Market says

    I saw this coming a mile away once I realized it was June 1st, the same day that welfare checks come in the mail. This “win” was a direct result of the corporate welfare LFR received from Stafford handicap system last night. Certainly nothing to brag about, one caution flag and he was finishing in the area of sixth place.

  8. SK fan so if you have a good size lead your supposed to drive every lap as hard as you can? Why bring up lap times in this situation? Sure do sound like a hater. One caution and they have to pass him on the outside. Probably wouldn’t happen. Congrats Chase.

  9. Ronny, I am not a hater at all. Chase has always been a very talented driver, but please explain this one?

    “locking down a tour championship and making Ryan Preece earn his keep in the national series”

  10. The whole Chase, LFR, Skowyra thing might have been a big deal in fandom but in the real world where a person has to make a living it was a nuthin muffin. A job, insurance and learning from the maestro in the sport you love. There never was a decision, only a hire date.
    Starting up front has never not been important. There’s the starting there part and the ending there part and they don’t usually coincide. Ask DJ Burnham. In the SK’s where Dowling clocks a best lap of 19.22 and Cipriano is 10th at 19.20 with everyone in between just about as fast you’re darned tootin track position is important you betcha.
    Is Williams fast? Why wouldn’t he be? He’s a quality driver that took over in a quality ride. In the six races so far he’s improved his position in 5 of the 6 races by an average of 6.7 positions. Dowling is the mirror image losing spots in 5 or the 6 races by an average of 7.3 positions. Take out the weight penalty and it’s still pretty bleak.
    For my money Dowling is the story. Starting a team at the last minute, putting it together in record time, experiencing miserable results the first four races but clearly getting up to speed the last two. He’s not just a flashy driver but a guy that can persevere with his team through the tough times. And getting a win before Williams. Who saw that coming? Stafford weekly modifieds at their best.

  11. I would hardly call any of the cars in the SK field junk.

  12. I think it’s an insult to call any of the cars in the SK division junk. If you want to see junk compete, might I suggest going to a demo derby.

  13. I was there what wasnt mentioned is that it was the fastest 40 lap Modified race in 36yrs. Not a single yellow

  14. Slapnuts says

    Like the late great Dale Earnhardt said,” the fastest car doesn’t always win”. So instead of being a hater congratulate Chase on a great run, he did win right? That’s all that matters in racing not who ran the fastest

  15. Beat the Keit says

    Keitt must of heard about the car being torn down next win so he sandbags a couple weeks and well you get the picture. How about that 88 sk light that Mike P motor is running really strong LOL NOTHING WORSE THEN A BUNCH OF CHEATERS!!!!!

  16. Doug. Great points. The fact is Chase WITH FULLER is the story. Chase could have never done what he did if Fuller was not in the picture. Either way I saw this coming. Great combo.

  17. I don’t think anyone meant to imply any of the SK’s are literally junk. At least I hope not. But I geeked out on the numbers to see if they are junk.
    Averaging the 1st, 2nd and 3rd best lap time it is better then the 8th, 9th and 10th place average by .05% or .01 seconds. In other words about the same. If you go to the 18th, 19th and 20th average they are .78% slower then the top three.
    Comparing to the NWMT qualification times at Seekonk the 8th, 9th and 10th qualifiers were 1.1% slower then the top three and the 18th, 19th and 20th 2.3% slower then the top three.
    Comparing to the top Late Model division at Seekonk the 8th,9th and 10th positions were 1.7% slower then the top three. And surprisingly positions 10 to 20 in the Seekonk Late Models didn’t really drop off at all.
    The Stafford weekly modifieds by any standard are not junk and frighteningly competitive. Engine builders like Petite and chassis builders like Mike Paquette have the cars turning serious lap times. They are not the JV team, sportsman or anything sub modified. The are full blown modifieds and hum like fine Swiss watches at Stafford. I suspect the reason we don’t see more top names invading is because they see the lap times and know they could end up 4th or 18th with one mistake. People need to give the mid pack guy the respect they deserve.

  18. Joe Lajoie says

    Stafford SK’s are the toughest and most competitive division in New England, touring or weekly. I don’t think anyone could argue with that.

  19. Case had 4 wins, and finished 2 ND in points. Rob Fuller was NOT part of the picture the.

  20. Here’s an interesting tidbit that may represent creative cherry picking for Chase Dowling fans. Ronnie Williams in the proven winner vs Chase with the new team. Who is making progress. In the opener at the Sizzler their best lap times were virtually equal. But in the second through sixth races Dowlings best time differential with Williams has gone from -.18 in week two, to -.11, -.11, -.07 in succeeding weeks ending at -.02 last Friday in the win.
    That is cherry picking to some degree but maybe evidence that Chase with the good Pettit power is coming to grips with the right set up. Pun intended.

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