Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – The Twisted Tea Open Mod 80 takes the green flag this Friday, June 8 at Stafford Speedway. One of the favorites to take the checkered flag will be the relatively new combination of Chase Dowling and Jimmy Paige, car owner of the #00 James Paige Plumbing & Heating car with Steve Lemay serving as the crew chief.
Dowling has wins at Stafford in both the SK Light and SK Modified® divisions while Lemay has overseen several of Bobby Santos, III’s Whelen Modified Tour victories at Stafford. Dowling has only run two races thus far with the #00 team, but finished second in the VMRS race this past April at Thompson and is looking forward to another good finish in the Twisted Tea Open Mod 80.
“I think we’re going to have a pretty good car,” said Dowling. “Jimmy Paige puts the best equipment in the car and with Steve Lemay as the crew chief he’s going to make some good calls. We ran the MRS race at Thompson earlier this season and we finished second so I’m looking forward to the race at Stafford.”
Dowling will be driving the #00 car that was formerly driven by Ted Christopher. While a Stafford win would be extra special for Dowling and the #00 team, Dowling knows that the path to victory lane won’t be an easy one to navigate.
“I think it would be extra special if we could win this race,” said Dowling. “Jimmy Paige won a lot of races with Woody Pitkat and Teddy at Thompson and it’s a big honor to be offered to drive a car like this that Teddy drove. There’s going to be good cars in this race and it won’t be easy to win for sure. There’s guys who run Stafford weekly and there’s different engine and chassis combinations so it should make for a wild race.”
With teams being given 6 tires for the Twisted Tea Open Mod 80, there are a wide variety of strategy options that teams have at their disposal to get their car up front. No matter what the winning strategy turns out to be, Dowling says that the pit strategy aspect will make for an exciting race for the fans.
“There’s going to be some strategy involved with this race and I think that any time you have strategy involved, it makes for a better race for the fans,” said Dowling. “Whatever the strategy might be, it plays a part in the race. Some guys might try to wait as long as possible to pit, or some times track position is more important, so it all comes down to the driver/crew chief combination and what they want to do. When you’re allowed tires I think everyone is going to be driving pretty hard right from the start to see where their cars are at and what kind of adjustments they need to make on their pit stop. It should make for an interesting race for the fans to watch for sure.”
If Dowling needs to look for any inspiration for a new team to win at Stafford, then he needs to look no further back than last Friday night, when he won his first race with his new for 2018 #36 Powerhouse Motorsports team.
“Getting our first SK Modified® win last Friday was pretty big for us,” said Dowling. “We’ve been getting faster every week and after finishing third and getting penalized for being underweight, we came back last week and were able to win the race and we were 20 pounds heavy. Hopefully we can continue to keep on making the car better. We were the third or fourth fastest car last Friday night and when you’re talking about SK Modified® racing at Stafford, that’s a matter of thousands of a second so we’re right there.”
Teams can register for the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 online or by calling the track office at (860)-684-2783. Rules for the two Open Modified 80 shows can be found in the TEAMS section of www.staffordspeedway.com.
Stafford’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will join the Open Modifieds in feature action. Tickets for this event are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seat tickets are $32.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles.