Rob Fuller Motorsports Cutting Back To Part-Time Whelen Modified Tour Schedule In 2019

Chase Dowling (left) talks with team owner Rob Fuller (right) on Sept. 21 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

Most any other seasons on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Chase Dowling would likely be heading to the season finale at Thompson Speedway looking to clinch a possible series championship.

Though Justin Bonsignore and his M3 Racing team ensured the 2018 season wouldn’t be like most other seasons on the Whelen Modified Tour.

Instead of looking to raise a champion’s trophy after the Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco World Series 150 on Oct. 14 at Thompson Speedway, Dowling will instead be running his last event as a full-time driver for a team that had their own quite magical one-year run together.

Team owner Rob Fuller, who also owns and operates the chassis company LFR, said he will likely go back to running a part-time Whelen Modified Tour team in 2019. It’s unclear at this time what Dowling, of Roxbury, will do for the 2019 season.

“At the end of the day we kind of came to the conclusion as a group that it was a lot of work to run the schedule that NASCAR puts out there with the travel,” Fuller said. “… He [Dowling] realized how much work it was to maintain a race team to the level that I was expecting him to do and be competitive on the Tour. At the end of the day we all learned a lot this year. We learned a lot about how much it takes and we learned a lot about what our customers are going to be expecting from us as far as support at the race track”

Dowling, who also works full-time for LFR, was not available for comment on Thursday. Fuller said Dowling would also be leaving his position with LFR.

The 20-year old Dowling ran eight events for Fuller’s organization in 2017 setting up for this year’s full-time run. Through 15 Whelen Modified Tour events this year Dowling has one win, nine top-five’s, 13 top-10’s and four pole awards.

Dowling’s efforts have also brought added attention through his pairing with 20-year old crew chief and fellow Modified driving competitor Stephen Kopcik.

Dowling had four second place finishes in 2018 before breaking through for his first series victory in his 55th career Whelen Modified Tour start in the inaugural Musket 250 on Sept. 22 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

In 2017 Doug Coby won the Whelen Modified Tour title by amassing 604 points. Dowling has 582 points through 15 events and is averaging 39 points per event. Should he pick up his average at Thompson Dowling would finish the season with 621 points, 17 more than what earned Coby a title in 2017.

But Bonsignore, who’s M3 Racing team went to an LFR Chassis that Dowling helped build before the 2018 season, put together a season that will be remembered as one of the most dominant in series history with seven victories, 11 top-five’s and 14 top-10’s. Before Sunday’s 12th place finish in the NAPA Fall Final 150 at Stafford, Bonsignore’s worst finish was an eighth place.Fuller said

“We had an absolutely stellar year,” Fuller said. “We got beat by a team that’s been racing together for 10 years that we played a pretty good in part in their success over the off-season.”


  1. put him in the 6, reece is going monster anyway.

  2. me thinks he will be in the 16 car

  3. Walter Maguire says

    This points out how a team can’t survive financially on the tour, even with a great year. Very sad. NASCAR should up the purses at all the tracks on the tour so this doesn’t happen.

  4. Hopefully he goes in old blue

  5. Walter, I don’t think it’s a financial situation, Rob needs to focus on his LFR business. He needs to support his customers at the track, something Billy Colton from Troyer hasn’t done until LFR came into the picture.
    If you watched Rob at Stafford, he spent more time with his customers then with the house car.

  6. Good move for LFR. Increase customer support and not waste the travel on tracks like Bristol that are money losing waste of a trip. The cup series is not the only series that needs a schedule adjustment. LFR can concentrate on winning the races they do enter. I just checked only 11 drivers have run all 15 races this season. 4 more drivers have run 14 events.

  7. wmass01013 says

    Walter NASCAR upped all the purses so most races Paid 10k to win plus upped the POINT fund BIGTIME, add the 25k race at NHMS, not saying teams are making money but racing is never about making money.

  8. John Davis says

    Chace will be in the 64 next year to run for the championship!

  9. Walter A Fike says

    Let be honest with each other the tour is a joke ok nothing against the team’s who are racing in it today but what halve of the races are at Stafford and Thompson what kind of championship is that lets get this tour to some tracks they haven’t been to in decades

  10. Chase has a full time job with LFR. I think it’s unlikely he will go to another team. He needs to be at the shop working on the customer’s cars if he’s still going to work for LFR. It’s going to come down to whether he wants a full time job, or go racing. Either way, it’s a tough choice for him.

  11. Bob, Chase is leaving LFR and looking for employment and a ride for 2019.

  12. Ooops! Missed that one. Thanks.

  13. Not Fake News says

    Fifteen to Sixty Four

  14. I am pretty sure the reason many tracks in the area dont have whelen tour is they cant afford it. Aside from waterford there isnt any tracks that want a tour race that aren’t given a tour race. Might get monadnock and or lee next year with new ownership. Other that that I wouldn’t expect significant changes to next seasons schedule. It would be nice to see some new venues on the tour. You can pretty much copy and paste the schedule from year to year just alter some dates.

  15. Chase needs to be smart enough to stay in the LFR camp some how. The 64 is a Troyer and he will have no shot at winning.

  16. Team owner Rob Fuller, who also owns and operates the chassis company LFR, said he likely go to running a part-time Whelen Modified Tour team in 2019.

    Key word is likely. Lots of speculation here and we will all know what happens in 2019 at the season opener where ever that is!

  17. Inside scoop says

    Heard a rumor coby retiring chase going into the 2

  18. Well, I was right again. I told you this wasn’t going to last.

  19. Inside Scoop,
    You’re more likely to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. running full-time with the Whelen Modified Tour in 2019 than seeing that happen.

  20. Dareal your always right, well almost remember troyer 1 2 3 ,and the #7 would be in the Chase how’s that working out for ya

  21. Shawn, no Dale Earnhardt Jr.?
    I thought maybe he and Kevin Harvick would team up.

  22. Dareal, I think it was Fuller’s plan all along just to run one season. Now he’s going to focus on his chassis business. From what I hear, he has four chassis orders already to build over the winter.

  23. Yep Dareal. You were so right. LFR cars are so awful that they sold 9 cars since last month and the owner is concerned about servicing his doubled their customer base. The car you said that was “no threat on the tour” (15) won the biggest race of the year and would have won the championship in their FIRST try if it wasn’t for another one of those junk LFR cars with the 51. The only thing you were right about was……………NOTHING as usual. Wast of oxygen. Go back to the fryolator. I hate burnt French fries.

  24. Dowling and Kopcik stay together and run a Troyer next year.

  25. I think this worked out pretty well for both ,Fuller will sell more chassis as he is in the business of making money on racing not spending it on racing and Chase upped his value to a team and I would bet he ends up in a LFR chassis ,best of luck to both

  26. Ladies and gentlemen there’s no question about it. Chase Dowling will most likely be working his magic for some other NWMT team next year full time piloting his car through traffic like the proverbial hot knife through butter and avoiding jingles while Rob Fuller is the tail that wags the dog for so many successful teams using the LFR chassis.

  27. Inside scoop says

    I wonder will JR be driving the 77 cause Chase will be with the 2 team at icebreaker

  28. So let me get this straight. Chase has no ride for 2019 and is now unemployed? Chase had a great car to run this year and made the most of it with solid runs at every track. Doug praised Fuller for being this great guy and taking Stephen and Chase under his wings to teach them the racing business giving them a career and ability to race. Turns out it was a deal with the devil. My advice to Chase is go to community college or trade school and get your life going and hopefully get a ride in a decent car on the Tour. If not, your tour season in 2019 May look like your SK season at Stafford in 2018.

  29. SKModFan,
    It’s my understanding that Dowling chose to leave LFR, so I don’t think it’s fair to infer that he’s somehow forced into being unemployed. Not sure how running in a very competitive winning car is a “deal with the devil”.

  30. Well thank you SKModfan for the mention.
    I don’t believe I ever said Fuller was a great guy since I don’t know him. I have said he’s extremely accessible to all those that try to engage him including me. He responded more then once answering emails I sent LFR and answered my questions thoughtfully. I view him, LFR and all he brings to local modified racing as a good thing. None of that has changed for me.
    I also said that his discouragement of Dowling running anything but NWMT races and concentrating solely on LFR business was not what I wanted to hear as a Dowling and SK fan but understood why he wanted that from a business perspective. Clearly that concern is now in the wind.
    What I know is Dowling is smart, thoughtful and young. Now is the time to search and find his place. You may view it as a waste, I view it as part of his education in management, trade skills and driving. In the last year I’m sure he learned much and he will build on that knowledge moving forward.

  31. Inside scoop, you don’t have a clue, you change like the weather. Keep throwing it up against the wall, it may just stick someday.

    Dareal, crawl back in your hole, we have not missed you. But not sure if you will fit with that big head and puffed up chest.

  32. SK mod fan,

    Just because Cannabis is legal doesn’t mean you have to eat it all day dude. Who cares what happens at Stafford in a SK. Chase was given the best tour ride and a full time job maintaining it. He decided to leave. How does this make Fuller the devil? Hand dareal the salt so he can dump it on the fries and stick with what you know.

  33. Well, back when this deal formed, I mentioned was it Dowling that needed Fuller, or did Fuller need Dowling? Perhaps they both sorta needed each other. Fuller needed someone that can drive since he proved that he can’t. Dowling needed a ride. It didn’t appear that established drivers wanted to drive for Fuller. There are a few out there, but Fuller ended up with the Dowling kid. Dowling is good, but a driver with an established Tour Mod history would give a house car far more credibility. Fuller needed a driver, apparently couldn’t get an established name driver to drive for him, so he lures this kid Dowling to drive for him. Deal with the devil? HA!!! That is so kind. It was like Ursula preying on Ariel.

    Sad, looks like Dowling will be the one working the Fry-o-lator, while looking for a driving opportunity. How many other chassis shops are there? How many Tour teams have full-time staff? The kid is still young, learned a life lesson.

    What about all this need for a house car? All y’all beat up on Troyer for not running a house car. Now the LFR house car is in jeopardy. LMFAO!!!!

  34. Dareal, seriously, the LFR house car is in trouble? Don’t think so, there are quite a few drivers that would love to do a limited schedule driving a competitive car, Max Z., Blewett, Todd Z. Just to name a few. Don’t count out a partnership where Fuller and another LFR team could split the season. ( Ed Harvey), stranger things have happened. Time will tell……..

  35. Dareal once you get your head out of the sand or wherever you might have it you will see that there seems to be a turn to youth in racing, don’t think this could have turned out much better for Fuller , finishing 2nd in points and beaten by one of your own chassis , and a good chance of going 1 2 3 for the season not just 1 race like you bragged about Troyer chassis in first race of season , and after seeing Rob fuller and Chase s dad at inspection after fall final didn’t appear to be any hard feelings ,and I think this helped Chase because I don’t think there were many teams willing to pay or put a 20 year old in charge of their race car but that may have changed now ,and by the way most of top teams have full time employees some more than one. I think this combination worked out well for both, Chase more than Rob because Rob really didn’t need to run a house car

  36. No matter what Rob Fuller says I am not drinking his Kool Aid………

  37. Don’t know how many house cars LFR had but Lutz said they bought one that Dowling drove, that LFR set up before the Fall Final and obviously did very well. Is that the tip of the iceberg in Fullers success and the reason to go part time? If the goal is sales maybe it’s mission accomplished. Or is it a conglomeration of things involving Dowling, Kopcik, travel, budgets, expenses, personnel and all the rest. And how about Kopcik?
    Rocco when asked by Nicole Larose said he’d be back doing the same thing next year. Doesn’t his approach make more sense after seeing Fuller pull back a bit? Do what you’re comfortable with, do it well and within budget. Rocco is an unappreciated resource and support network for local racing in my view. The guy clearly can race and build fast equipment but also has a promotional spirit, always ready for some fan related antics and is not afraid to put himself out there to entertain. He’s emerging from Christopher’s shadow as the man in local racing. Am I wrong?
    Hoping Dowling gets a good ride in the NWMT. Selfishly hoping he is able to mount a stronger effort in the SK’s and contend for the championship.
    All we don’t know makes this an interesting time to see how it all shakes out.
    Not that long until Stafford announces it’s schedule for next year and that’s fun as well. Hope they keep and strengthen the Opens.
    Good to hear the Fuller/Dowling split is professional Elect. Not like they will be having lunch together every week but burning bridges doesn’t seem to be in either’s DNA.

  38. Doug , Chase s Stafford car is for sale I think$14500 maybe we can pool our coffee money and help out a young kid ,oh that’s with out motor , I’m pretty sure he will end up on his feet , looks to have a bright future, I think Chase was given a great opportunity to drive a good car and learn what it takes to make it go fast , not just show up with fire suit and helmet. Maybe Fuller will give another young kid a chance part time next year, only until Megan is ready of course

  39. Now that’s the ticket Elect. Positive vibes and some inside information. $14.5K, for real?
    Some really nasty comments in the wind for Dowling that assume mostly he’s in the wind rudderless as well. I’d be willing to bet that is the opposite of the reality.
    Using assumptions, conjecture and tea leaves this is what I’m hoping is the case.
    It was a great year for all the people at LFR. Dowling and Kopcik worked their tails off under Rob’s iron grip with complete focus on the goals of the company and they learned a ton. Fuller made it clear he wanted Chase to focus on LFR to the exclusion of every other driving opportunity. Dowling chaffed a bit at the restriction while still appreciating the opportunity and simply wanted more freedom to pursue other driving opportunities. No one was right or wrong they each just had different goals. Stephen, Rob, Chase and the rest of the crew go on to win the NWMT race at Thompson and end on a high note.
    Now how’s that for making up a reality I hope is true?

  40. Doug, that sounds great and a possibility for sure. Fuller has way more class than Chases previous car owners for sure. Why create drama like he did. Drivers leave. It’s the sport we are in. Chase might be back with Fuller directly or as a driver in another LFR car. Dareal you are spent. Fuller couldn’t get a big name driver in his cars?
    Those are some big names you bafoon. Fuller chose Dowling and I believe it showed the kids talent. He will need to stay in the LFR camp because in his family owned car he was no threat to win. I’m sure it will all work out in the end. Dareal could possibly move up to burgers after Thompson. After that the sky’s the limit Dareal!

  41. Ya Doug $14.5 ,then we need a motor and of course a good crew chief , I’m thinking dareal he seems to know everything, can’t tell him it’s a LFR chassis, you know there not that good but I’m sure he can make it better , all most forgot going to need a tow bar to get it to the track

  42. Danny, second sentence. Couldn’t agree more.

  43. Seems to me that Rob Fuller may have scaled back his racing schedule, after Chase Quit or left LFR. Danny, apparently you’ve never met Adam or Les Skowyra, they’re good people, who feild top class cars. Chase left them for a better opportunity, now that opportunity has gone south. Why would Rob Fuller feild a car for a kid who just quit or left LFR? As someone else stated there are plenty of drivers who wouldn’t mind driving that car on a part time basis. And with the 2019 season months away maybe a deal will come through to allow Rob to feild the car full time. As for Chase, with his talent, and sponsor money he shouldn’t have a problem finding a ride, possibly with another LFR team, but he did well driving Adams TROYER car in 2017 too, so I think he’ll be just fine.

  44. Strange, they finally get a win, in the highest paying tour race, and part ways….. Only 12 cars have ran all 15 races this season, and 4 are the back-markers of 25, 26, 33, and 01. This tour is so in need of drivers like Hirschman, Santos, Emerling, Blewett, and Max Zachem to run full time.

    Coby stays in the 2, Swanson remains in the 3, Showtime back in the 6, and Chase in the 82.

  45. All is good. Seems that Dowling has some sponsorship he can bring somewhere else. Good for him.

    I’m not sure about the 6. I do recall Mr. Partridge saying that he is only running the car as long as Ryan Preece is his driver. I don’t think the available drivers are a good fit with the legendary 6 team.

    It will be an interesting off-season, silly or otherwise.

    Fuller needs to go back to driving his house car. If it’s so good, even he should be able to do well in it.

  46. SK Light Fan says

    Maybe daddy Moeller will pony up the $$ and get the kid back in the car. He sure as hell looked good until the 16 and 85 ran him out of the groove. Not too many teams out there looking for drivers. Need the back markers to fill the field at most races.

  47. “Fuller needs to go back to driving his house car. If it’s so good, even he should be able to do well in it.” So now the car makes the driver, no talent necessary?

    Interesting concept.

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