STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. — When Stafford Motor Speedway opens its 2017 season on April 29-30, there will be a brand-new pairing searching for title glory in the ultra-competitive SK Modified division.
On Thursday night, Chase Dowling confirmed to Race Chaser Online that he will be driving for the Skowyra family in car No. 50 next season at the half-mile oval, with sponsorship from S&S Asphalt Paving.
Dowling takes the reins of the No. 50 entry from Woody Pitkat, who jumped on board with the Skowyras in 2014 and drove for them through the 2016 season.
But when 2017 comes around, the team will be all about Dowling.
“We’re going to go (out) guns blazing,” Dowling told Race Chaser Online. “We will have a brand new car. Adam (Skowyra) is picking up a Troyer car. We have a good motor and I think we have all the pieces to the puzzle. We’re just going to go out there and do our best every week and try to get the wins. Who knows, maybe at the end of the season, we will be close in points (to competing for a championship).”
Dowling’s experience at Stafford is second-to-none and he has seen success in just a short period of time. In 2013, Dowling competed in the SK Light Modified class and was a winner in his first career start. At the end of that season, Dowling was sitting second in the division point standings after scoring seven feature wins. Then, he decided to make the move to the SK Modified division for the 2014 season.
That year, Dowling scored his first career victory in the SK Modified class and also went on to finish fifth in the division championship standings, collecting Rookie of the Year honors. He became the youngest SK Modified winner in the history of Stafford at 16 as a result.
Since then, Dowling has competed on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, winning the Rookie of the Year honors in 2015. He finished that year ninth in the championship standings after collecting one top five and eight top 10s. This season, Dowling finished 10th in the standings, with three top five finishes.
As he heads back to Stafford for full-time competition, Dowling plans to use his experience from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to help him be successful in the competitive SK class.
“I know we will be a really good team, I’m really excited about it,” Dowling said. “I’m also excited to be back at my home track every week. The biggest thing is getting seat time, the more seat time in a modified the better you will be as a driver. Everything I’ve learned the past four years in a modified will apply for 2017. I think we will be a top running car weekly there next year.”
For Adam Skowyra, it was a hard decision to let go of Pitkat, especially since the pairing had been so successful together.
“Woody and I parted ways on good terms, I have nothing but respect for him and he’s done great things for us,” Skowyra told Race Chaser Online. “If it wasn’t for Woody, we probably would still be winless in the division. I can’t thank him enough for everything. I wish him all the best.”
Skowyra made the decision to pick up Dowling for 2017 after having a front-row seat to his talent a few years ago.
“Back in 2015, Woody was running for the VMRS championship and I needed a driver to fill-in for him because there was a conflict. I needed a replacement and my first option was Chase,” Skowyra said. “Woody and I talked about it and he did a great job. I’ve kind of had an eye on him ever since then. He’s an up-and-coming talent … everyone talks about him in the garage area that he is going to be the next best thing. I have all the confidence in the world in him that he will get the job done and I’m looking forward to it.”
Skowyra believes that the pairing with Dowling could become successful right out of the gate at the Spring Sizzler in April.
“I wouldn’t have picked him if I didn’t think we would pick up where we left off,” Skowyra said. “I think right out of the gate we can be contenders for wins and the championship at the end of the year.”
On Sunday, Dowling told Race Chaser Online that other than his SK Modified plans at Stafford, he does not have any modified racing plans for 2017 at this point. He does hope to get a ride in the Tri Track Open Modified Series and will also be working to compete in select races for car owner Ted Marsh on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
“I’m like any other race car driver; I’m just trying to find as many race cars as I can drive,” Dowling said Thursday. “I’m trying really hard to get into a tour car. I don’t want to get away from that. Anything with a gas pedal, a brake pedal and four wheels, I’ll drive it.”
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for both the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
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