STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. — Chase Dowling took the home-track advantage to victory lane in the Call Before You Dig Modified Classic 81 at Stafford Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Dowling, the driver of the No. S&S Asphalt Paving machine owned by Ben Dodge, rolled to a dominant win in the inaugural Tri Track Open Modified Series race at the Connecticut half-mile.
The victory came with a $10,000 check courtesy of CBYD and Tri Track — just a small portion of a purse that was more than $58,000. Thirty-two cars started the race, while 51 modifieds showed up in the pit area to attempt to qualify.
Dowling took the lead on lap 12, led through lap 30 when he pitted during a controlled caution, then blasted back to the front to take the top spot for the final time on lap 39. He would hold off Matt Hirschman on multiple restarts in the second half of the race to win.
While Dowling celebrated the victory, Hirschman clinched his fifth Tri Track title driving the No. 60 Modified. Ronnie Williams made a late charge to finish second, followed by Hirschman, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore and Matt Swanson.
The major wreck of the race happened off turn two on lap 30, just after the cycle of controlled caution pit stops. After Doug Coby had a mechanical failure at the green flag and stacked up the outside lane, multiple cars wrecked, drawing a caution in turn one. It was in turn two where most of the carnage happened — with Woody Pitkat ending up halfway up the wall on his side. Pitkat, Jon McKennedy, Dave Sapienza and others escaped without injury, but were sidelined for the rest of the race.
After staying out early, NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Preece elected to pit during a lap 39 caution, but was collected in a multiple-car wreck in turn three, ending his chances. The race came down to Dowling charging through and pulling away, while Williams, Hirschman and others tried to chase him down. Richard Savary finished sixth, followed by Les Hinckley, Todd Owen, Ron Silk and Burt Myers, who started from the pole.
Outside of the winning purse, and the 32-car starting field worth of prizes, which included $1,000 just to take the green flag, multiple drivers also increased their payday by winning contingency awards. One of the highlights was Owen, picking up the $1,000 Green Construction Hard Charger award after having to take a promoter’s option into the race and start last. A full list of contingency winners is below.
Noah Korner was victorious in the 25-lap B-Main, advancing to the race along with Dylan Izzo, who finished second. Of the cars that went home, Blake Barney, who finished third in the B-Main, collected $1,050 even though he didn’t qualify. All cars in attendance at Stafford were provided at least $300 in awards for attempting to qualify.
In other action, Tyler Chapman held off his brother Steven to win the SK Light feature while Frank L’Etoile Jr. continued his late season hot streak at Stafford by winning the Street Stock feature.
Chase Dowling, Ronnie Williams, Matt Hirschman, Justin Bonsignore, Matt Swanson, Richard Savary, Les Hinckley, Todd Owen, Ronnie Silk, Burt Myers, Craig Lutz, Michael Christopher Jr., Noah Korner, Tommy Barrett Jr., Joey Cipriano, Eric Goodale, Andy Jankowiak, Marcello Rufrano, Chris Pasteryak, Ryan Preece, Doug Coby, Dana DiMatteo, Ryan Doucette, Dylan Izzo, Woody Pitkat, Jon McKennedy, Dave Etheridge, Dave Sapienza, Brian Robie, Anthony Sesely, Matt Galko, Keith Rocco.