Inching Closer: Chase Dowling Grabs Pole For Whelen Mod Tour Musket 250 At NHMS

Chase Dowling (left) talks with team owner Rob Fuller (right) after the first Whelen Modified Tour practice Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

LOUDON, N.H. – How close was Chase Dowling to winning his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event on July 21 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway? Inches.

How much is that second place finish to Bobby Santos III in the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 in July at NHMS etched his brain.

Without a second’s thought the Roxbury driver can rattle off exactly how close the finish was.

“If we can pick it up by .014 [of a second] we’ll have a good run tomorrow,” Dowling said.

Yes, .014 of a second was the difference.

Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Dowling will take the field to green in his chase for redemption of that .014 of second in the inaugural Musket 250 at NHMS.

Dowling won the pole in qualifying Friday at NHMS, turning a fast lap of 29.447 seconds around the 1.058-mile oval.

In addition to the longest race in Whelen Modified Tour history, Saturday’s racing card at NHMS also includes the Apple Barrel 100 for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the Visit New Hampshire 100 for the Canadian based NASCAR Pinty’s Series.

It was the third pole of the season for the 20-year old Dowling, who sits second in the series standings to Justin Bonsignore. The winner of the event will take home a $25,000 check for first place and a custom made musket.

“We had a fast car and the last time we were pretty close to winning,” Dowling said of his Rob Fuller Motorsports team. “Bringing back a fast car. … These guys work hard week in and week out. This is for these guys. We’re going for that Musket.”

Dowling was fourth fastest during both Whelen Modified Tour practice sessions Friday.

“We knew we had a pretty good car,” Dowling said. “The second round we didn’t really do a lot of laps because we knew we were bringing out the same car as last time. We were just adjusting on it all day today and we got better and better and better. These guys work hard and it pays off.

“You just want to win. Every week, not even just at Loudon here. … You just want that extra confidence boost. I just want to win for these guys. It’s a big confidence boost when you can win a race.”

Bonsignore has won seven of 13 events this year, has top-five finishes in 11 races and a worst finish on the season of eighth. He led the speed charts in both practices but ended up second in qualifying with a fast lap of 29.509 seconds.

“Yeah you want to win the pole just because it’s a big event, but it was still really close,” Bonsignore said. “Our car even in practice today wasn’t firing off really good on that first lap and the second lap was so-so. But still, a front row start is good for us. Obviously a really long race, we’ve got the track position, we’ve got a good pit box for tomorrow. We’ll just bide our time and see how this race plays out. Nobody really knows. We’ll go as it goes.”

Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y. was third in qualifying at 29.509 seconds.

Ron Silk of Norwalk and Doug Coby of Milford rounded out the top-five respectively in qualifying.

Cole Powell, a former regular on the Whelen Modified Tour, won the pole in qualifying for the Pinty’s Series. Saturday’s Pinty’s Series event is the first for the division outside of Canada.

Derek Kraus won the pole for the K&N Pro Series East Apple Barrel 125.


  1. I bet half the field is LFR next year. Kudos to them for a amazing 2018.

  2. Shawn, can you please post the entire starting line up and qualifing times for the WMT?

  3. Bill Realist says

    31 cars for nascars self proclaimed biggest modified race EVER. That’s real good. Last weekend I went to a race in Vermont at a track in the middle of nowhere next to a smelly cow field. They drew 56 cars for $10k to win. Parking was free too!

  4. I would say 17 cars for PINTY AND K & N SERIES
    31 FOR WMT is disappointing, see how races are and if crowd is over few thousand
    nhms has work to doo

  5. At about 1 second between the 1st and 5th place qualifier, the 5th place car would lose 43 feet per lap and go a lap down after about 129 laps.
    Simplistic but as the race progresses I’ll be watching the top 10 intervals, hoping for strategic cautions in addition to the scheduled break to keep as many cars on the lead lap as possible. Making for an exciting ending hopefully.

  6. Listening to Joe Coss interview Chase Dowling and seeing the modifieds lined up in the background brings shivers to the spine. They look so placid before the race just sitting there. The calm before the storm as they say. But what can be imagined is the amount of time that went in to checking every single part, nut and bolt to increase the odds of avoiding an early exit. That no matter how carefully they check there will be failures that no doubt wreck some teams hopes.

  7. Doug there was less than a second between Chase and the 23rd fastest time. I think you meant to say a tenth of a second.
    Chase Dowling 29.447
    Justin Bonsignore 29.509
    Patrick Emerling 29.575
    Ron Silk 29.607
    Doug Coby 29.665
    Andy Seuss 29.666
    Timmy Solomito 29.681
    Burt Myers 29.792
    Jon McKennedy29.833
    1Matt Swanson 29.840
    1Bobby Santos III 29.856
    Rob Summers 29.868
    Tommy Catalano 29.905
    Ronnie Williams 29.955
    Craig Lutz 29.996
    Jeff Rocco 30.001
    Woody Pitkat 30.041
    Dave Sapienza 30.067
    Blake Barney 30.094
    Gary Putnam 30.119
    Chris Pasteryak 30.184
    Anthony Nocella 30.245
    Calvin Carroll 30.341

  8. Doug you need a new battery in your calculator

  9. Thanks for the correction. I meant to say 1 MPH instead of one second. The rest of the observation is valid and generally played out in the race as far as I could see on the longer runs.

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