Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – No driver comes into the Lincoln Tech Open 80, set for this Friday, August 20 at Stafford Speedway, hotter than Chase Dowling. Dowling and the #9 S & S Asphalt Paving team owned by Ben Dodge made their first start together at the end of the 2020 season and won the Tri-Track Open Modified Series event at Stafford.
They followed that up by winning the Twisted Tea 80 in June and the Bud Light 80 in July at Stafford and they might have won the CBYD 81 in May if not for a mechanical issue that took Dowling out of the race on lap-34 while he was leading the race. Dowling will look to continue his winning ways in the Lincoln Tech Open 80 to make it 3 wins in his last 4 Open Modified starts at the Connecticut half-mile facility.
“We’ve been building the team and we’re still a relatively new team,” said Dowling. “I’ve been around racing for a while and Ben Dodge has been around racing forever but we’ve never really had our own team together. We did a lot of research at the end of last year for the Tri-Track race and obviously things worked for us. We’ve kind of hit on something at the moment with the car setup and we’re getting away with that for now. I know it might look easy to some people, but it’s not easy at all by any means. My crew guys have been doing a close to perfect job and everything has been falling our way but it’s a huge challenge to win one of these Open races. We’ll be working hard again this week to try to win another race at Stafford.”
With wins in the last 2 Open Modified races at Stafford combined with his first Tri-Track win of the 2021 season coming last week at Monadnock Speedway, Dowling feels confident that he and the #9 team will once again be among the favorites to win the Lincoln Tech 80.
“I think we have a good baseline to start off with and I think we can definitely be a top-5 car,” said Dowling. “It won’t be a cakewalk by any stretch. There’s some good guys like Ryan Preece and Mike Christopher and there’s other good guys that show up who are really fast and can win. All it takes is one little mistake to take you out of contention for the win.”
Dowling’s victory at Monadnock in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series moved him into a tie with Ronnie Williams in the chase for the 2021 Call Before You Dig Challenge. The CBYD Challenge pays points to the top-10 finishers in Stafford’s 4 Open Modified events as well as Tri-Track Series events. At season’s end, the winner of the CBYD Challenge will receive a bonus of $8,110 from Call Before You Dig. Dowling will be looking to take over the point lead from Williams with another top finish in the Lincoln Tech 80.
“We’re just going to keep on digging,” said Dowling. “At the beginning of the year we had some things not fall our way. We were really fast in the Tri-Track races but we weren’t able to capitalize on winning races and we broke in the first Stafford race. Those were some big setbacks for us. Would like to thank Call Before You Dig for putting up the money for the challenge. That bonus money gives all of us some extra motivation to win races.”
Dowling enjoys the benefits of home track knowledge racing at Stafford, although he is not the only current or former Stafford regular in the field for the Lincoln Tech 80. Nevertheless, Dowling says having the home track knowledge is a huge feather in his cap as he prepares for the Lincoln Tech 80.
“I’m sure the weather will be a little different than the other open races so we’ll have to make sure we’re on our A-game for practice and the heat race and then make sure we make the right calls for the feature,” said Dowling. “I think I second guess myself from the moment I make the adjustment from the heat race to the feature and I probably go back and make another change before the feature starts. Luckily I have past experience running Tour cars at Stafford and we have a good notebook where we can check that and go somewhat in the right direction with the car to make it work for the race. It’s a big advantage to know what’s going on every week with the track and how the car reacts from the daytime to when we race at night and the temperature has gone down a little.”
The 2nd Annual Lincoln Tech 80 is scheduled for this Friday, August 20. Stafford’s SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock divisions will join the Open Modifieds in feature action. Tickets for the Lincoln Tech 80 are available now online at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets and tickets will also be available for purchase at the admission gates. Tickets for the Lincoln Tech 80 are $30.00 for adults, $10.00 for kids 6-14, and free for kids 5 & under. Reserved seating is priced at $35.00 for all ages and pit passes are $45.00 with a valid 2021 Stafford Competition License and $50.00 without a Stafford license.