Celebratory Setting: Chase Dowling Cruises To Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 Win At Stafford

Chase Dowling celebrates after winning the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Across the realm of motorsports, the post-race celebrations of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves have become legendary for their unique nature. 

On Friday Castroneves was turning laps at Stafford Speedway in practice for the Camping World SRX Series debut Saturday, but it was a Stafford regular putting on a post-race celebration worth of Castroneves comparison. 

Chase Dowling cruised away from the field late to win the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

But instead of taking the left turn to Stafford’s infield Victory Lane after taking the cool down lap, Dowling parked his car under the flagstand. He then exited the car and climbed into the grandstands to meet his car owner and in the process celebrate with the packed house at Stafford. 

Longtime Stafford Speedway announcer Ben Dodge owns the Tour Type Modified race team that Dowling drivers for. 

After winning Friday’s event Dowling climbed the grandstand to meet Dodge after he left the announcers booth to go celebrate with the team.

“Life is short, that’s all I know,” Dowling said. “We don’t meet people every day in our life that reach out and when they know you’re down they are there for you. Everyone has a spot where they lose sponsorship or they lose rides or get bought out of rides. I’m not saying I have a bad life at all, I’ve been very fortunate and lucky to have great people behind me and Ben is one of them. He picked me up when I was at a low and didn’t have a ride and he’s stayed with me through this. He lets me work on the race car, let’s me put my crew together, let’s me do everything. And then he goes and does his passion in the announcing booth. I wouldn’t want to deal with anyone else owning a race car.

“You never know when your last day is going to come and that’s my best friend. It’s not just race cars. It’s probably one of the biggest moments of my career right there. People ask what are the most special moments for you in racing and it’s moments like today.” 

It was the first victory in one of Stafford’s track hosted Open Modified events for Dowling.

After leading most of the event, Ryan Preece of Berlin rallied from a pit road issue late to finish second. Ronnie Williams of Tolland was third. 

Preece started on the pole and led until the first caution of the race flew on lap 64. A stripped lug nut on the pit stop dropped Preece to the rear of the field. 

Williams came out of the pits in the lead with Dowling in second. 

On the ensuing restart it was Dowling powering by Williams for the lead. Caution flew again on lap 70. On the restart Dowling chose the outside and once again powered by Williams to hold the lead. Dowling checked out over the final 10 laps as Preece flew up to second. 

“We had a really good car,” Dowling said. “That’s the first time I had to charge through the field and told myself to stop and not burn it down. I just stayed really patient. I knew we were really really good. The crew won me that race. They’ve been with me for a long long time. I can’t thank them enough. What an awesome car and awesome night.” 

Preece held a straightaway lead on the field when the caution flew on lap 64. 

“That sucks,” Preece said. “I hope the fans enjoyed it. I wish we could have had a caution in the last five laps after gaining some track position.” 


  1. That was almost a repeat of a Stafford open two years ago. Preece after a bad pit stop charging through the field as time was running out only this time he fell one spot short. He seemed satisfied with the effort and thank goodness for that an unhappy Ryan Preece is not a pleasant interview. I don’t know about every one else but I thought the charge through the field was the highlight of the race.
    So how’s this work anyway? I think it was Buckler that said Preece and his dad worked on the car all day to get it as good as they could. Meanwhile another car with a spec in it is heading up to Oswego for the NWMT race? Preece, Kopcik and the other crew members get a few hours of sleep then start the long drive Northwest. Or do they fly? Then Preece jumps on a plane and flies to the Cup race in Texas and what time is that flight? I mean seriously does this guy love racing or what? We romanticize about a lot of drivers from the past but Preece is a mean, lean racing machine.
    Dowling getting out of the car and climbing the stairs as Dodge was descending them reminded me a movie ending. You know, two star crossed souls searching to find each other in a busy train station as the emotional sound tack plays in the background. A bit surprising since this is the second big win for the newish team at Stafford.
    It was pretty routine for a while but not boring because we knew what was coming. The pit stop as all those laps leading up to it mean little. The 50 crew the big winner, the 9ct didn’t blow it, the 6 blows it big time but had the best car and driver in the field.
    Good race.

  2. No doubt, preece has a very busy weekend, and is extremely dedicated. However, I did not think the 37 car is in the all star race this weekend. Did I miss something? Wasn’t even going to record it because of that, but now I probably will, if preece is in it. Thx!

  3. No recording necessary. I thought I heard a reference to him going to Texas Sunday last night and thought it was a team responsibility since Stenhouse is in the open race. Maybe he get’s to sleep in.

  4. James Hemingway says

    The 37 car is not on the entry list for the open i also heard they are skipping it as well.

  5. Thx guys.
    They probably skipped due to the limited sponsorship issues plaguing that team this year.
    I can only assume that it factored in Ryan’s plans to head back east for 2 nights of competition. IMO, better for us Preece fans!

  6. Crying Preece says

    He finish his second and he still freaking crying, weather it was at Stafford or Oswego, his head got pretty big, maybe he should let some air out of it 🙄


    of course he cries ! all the way to the bank. A “cup” driver even when returning home or invading is always expected to win or be the “show”. Preece is in lackluster equipment at the highest level. it was either take the ride with the big boys or remain home. he wanted to drive “cup” he is and he`s getting paid but he is exposed as just a “good ” or “capable driver ” ..I hope he has a good financial advisor. not one of the greats or the best ,,sorry Ryan ..always had a chip on his shoulder . you are working hard and you will get some wins but you wont be beloved or have a grandstand named after you so save your money and keep going to work .that’s what the rest of us do ..you are fortunate to do something you like ..be happy about that

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