Hitting The Dirt: Chase Dowling Altering Focus For 2021 Racing Season

Chase Dowling with a Big Block Dirt Modified at Lebanon Valley Speedway in 2017 (Photo: Courtesy Chase Dowling)

Chase Dowling will trade chasing victories on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to chasing wins in a Big Block Dirt Modified in 2021. 

Those aspirations on dirt will come primarily at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. driving as a teammate for one of the historic venue’s most recognizable competitors. 

Dowling will race regularly in the Big Block Dirt Modified division in 2021 at Lebanon Valley Speedway as a teammate to legendary dirt driver Kenny Tremont Jr. 

For fourteen years Dowling has had S&S Paving as a sponsors of his racing endeavors and it was S&S Paving owner Kevin Starchak who helped facilitate the effort’s to get Dowling into a top notch position the Big Block Dirt Modified. 

“Kevin Starchak is really the guy behind all of this for us,” Dowling said. “Basically we’re going to have a brand new car and we’re taking it pretty seriously.” 

Dowling’s operation will be overseen by Joe Matthews and Gary Waters, who also oversee the Tremont operation. 

“I think it’s more or less about the opportunity,” Dowling said. “That’s kind of the biggest word in racing is opportunity. It’s about the people involved here. It’s not like I’m jumping in a car that’s a tenth place car. It’s not like that kind of operation. It’s just a very very good opportunity. … It’s not like we’re jumping in something with an old car and an old motor. It’s basically a brand new car, brand new motor and we have some of the best people behind it all.” 

Even with a new focus on dirt car racing for 2021, the 22-year old Dowling will still be chasing wins and a championship in 2020 in an SK Modified at Stafford Speedway and he’ll also be running regularly in a Tour Type Modified owned by Ben Dodge. 

Dowling will return to the SK Modified division at Stafford in 2021 running once again in team owner Dan Avery’s stable with support from Jean Guy and Brigitte Poulin.

Despite missing two events because of an injury, Dowling ended up sixth in the SK Modified division standings at Stafford in 2020 with two victories, one of which was the NAPA SK 5K. 

Dowling said his Tour Type Modified racing efforts with Ben Dodge in 2021 will take precedent over everything on his slate. The team will run all six Tri-Track Open Modified Series events, all four Modified Open 80 events at Stafford and the Open Modified event on April 17, 2021 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Dowling said the team may also run selected Tour Type Open events at Thompson Speedway. 

Dowling said he has no plans to make any starts with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2021. Dowling finished second in the Whelen Modified Tour standings in 2018 and won the inaugural Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He ran part-time with the Whelen Modified Tour the last two years.  

“It’s just a good point for me to do this,” Dowling said. “I have a good deal with the [Tour Type] Open car with [team owner Ben Dodge]. I have a great situation in the SK Modified. It’s the perfect time to do this. I don’t need to focus on the NASCAR tour, it gives me a little more room to go do something else. It all just blended together.” 


  1. Chase Dowling in a team Tremont prepared car. Can you say Winner?

  2. Wow, wonder if he’ll run any Devils Bowl races, I know Kenny has been a regular there and they normally have a pretty big big block and small block race there every year.

  3. I find it very interesting not much planned on the WMT!

  4. I find it very interesting not much planned for Thompson.

  5. Having Kenny Tremont as a mentor on dirt is like having Mike Stefanik or TC as a mentor on pavement. Hopefully NY tracks can have fans this year; it would be cool to have a chance to see him run at “The Valley of Speed”. Good luck Chase!

  6. Dowling hasn’t really been a factor in the NWMT for years merely dabbling on occasion so what is lost? Most fans would want to see him go head to head weekly against top competition and the SK’s checks that box. Plus Tri Track a and the Stafford opens and perhaps a dash of Thompson. No problem.
    Questions include what will Jimmy Paige do for a driver? Could Bonsignor end up being a regular in Tri Track? Advantage Tri Track. Also for the hybrid asphalt/dirt fans a question. Can Dowling be as significant in the insanely competitive world of dirt as he has been on asphalt?

  7. Come to the dark side. (insert evil laugh)…… If he wants to further his career it makes sense to get some experience on the dirt circuit. Most of the Nascar teams seem to be plucking their drivers from the dirt ranks unless the driver has major backing. There are a lot more big events available to run in a non pandemic year on the dirt vs pavement. NHMS just dropped the biggest event and with Nascar going with a less regional schedule the cost of chasing points doesnt make as much sense these days. It probably makes even less sense running part time on the Nascar tour given the licensing costs. In the tour type mod, you can pick and choose from all these open mod events and cobble together a pretty full schedule. The Kenny Tremont operation is very good at Lebanon and everything I have heard about the man he is a great person. I have no doubt he will be given everything necessary to have success with that team. Best of luck. I look forward to seeing how he does.

  8. Not a factor?? LOL!! He won the biggest WMT race of 2019. You just want him running Stafford because you don’t go to any other tracks. Clearly a top notch WMT talent. I think it’s a shame he isn’t running the WMT in 2021 but I suspect the amount of travel in 2021 is the main reason. He would miss a lot of New England shows.

    A great philosopher once said: To be the man, you have to beat the man. Whooo!! You ain’t going to be the man beating up on weaker weekly competition.

  9. J D he’s not exactly beating up the weekly competition , and he’s going to another weekly comp just a different surface which might help in the long run , he runs well most of the time but I wouldn’t say he was beating up any competition

  10. Referring to Dowling as a top driving talent is so limiting. He’s a top modified talent period. From set ups to racing,
    If you are referring to the Musket JD it was in 2018, the LFR year, hugely successful and his last full year on the NWMT. 2019 split between Tomaino and Watts totaling 9 races and 4 of 9 in 2020 split between Watts and Dodge.
    I stand corrected. I should have said nothing is lost for me. If you’re a NWMT firster then a lot has been lost.
    The way it looks is that Dowling and Dodge got together and made a joint decision to go the open route. It’s really exciting. If the Dodge 9 turns out to be one of the favorites where ever it shows up and they start labeling them like Big Money so much the better.
    We tend to be interested in what we grew up with and for me it was asphalt racing. I like Dowling and if he’s on dirt and the race is available on pay per view then maybe I can get into these big block modified dirt cars everyone raves about.

  11. The 9 car will DOMINATE the open shows. That car is hooked up and bad fast. The bullrings might be an equalizer but the 9 crew should bring home a lot of trophies in 2021.

    Doug went from Not a Factor to Hugely Successful in a matter of hours. Make up your mind.

  12. Picture is dated 2017 , did he drive dirt before now ??

  13. Elect,
    He ran two races at Lebanon Valley (one in 2015, one in 2017) that were essentially practice runs at the back of the back.

  14. Thanks didn’t know that

  15. Blewett ,Zacharias ,Mclaughlin have had some success running the dirt ,So I don’t see it being a problem for Dowling in Tremont prepared equipment .All though LV speedway is a very fast and tough track to start your dirt racing career on . Lets wait and see what happen’s

  16. Anybody remember Mark Fleury, Woody Pitkats uncle? He ran a modified at Stafford, and was essentially a back marker. He ran a dirt Mod at Lebanon Valley, and was a dominant factor for many years in the ” Wild Thing” #52. Won multiple track championships there. Chase has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  17. RIP Mark Fleury, Mark was a back marker early on asphalt but with more experience ran pretty decent,he won a sportsman championship before he ran asphalt and a big block championship after leaving asphalt to return to dirt at the valley

  18. Elect, RIP? Didn’t know Mark had died. Only went to a handful of races back in the day, but every time I was there Mark won. One time in particular it was a 50 lap race, Mark pitted with 10 to go, something had broke in the rear end, the crew chained the rear in place he restarted last, and won by half a straight. It was awesome. I strive to get back there, and now have a reason to go and watch Dowling compete.

  19. The Atomic Punk says

    Ahhhh Dirt. Once upon a time during speedweeks in FLA. making the drive up to St. Augustine for the WoO. Good times.

  20. Rob p Mark died about a month ago, cancer I heard

  21. Very sad to hear. Mark was a super nice guy.

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