Chase Dowling wins second NAPA Auto Parts 5K at Stafford


Chase Dowling in victory lane (Photo Courtesy of Stafford Motor Speedway)

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn (WWLP) – Chase Dowling took the lead from Marcello Rufrano with 16 laps remaining in the NAPA Auto Parts 5K 100 lap SK Modified race and went on to win the event.

Rufrano led the first 84 laps of the race. Dowling is the second driver to win his second NAPA Auto Parts 5K as Ronnie Williams is the other two-time winner of the event.

Dowling won $5,000 dollars in the 100 lap race. He talked about the win to 22News. 

“You gotta take the credit off my shoulders. I am just the one that gets to celebrate, gets to drive it. It’s not what everyone thinks. It’s not like these guys are working on these cars full time for a living. They have jobs. They have families. They have wives they have to go home too every night. Everyone is pitching in,” Dowling said.

“It’s the people behind me. The sponsors and the team, The Poulin’s, (Jean-Guy and Brigitte), John Carragan, Dan Avery for giving me the opportunity to drive this car. Start-Finish Motorsports. The list goes on. It’s incredible to have all those guys behind your back,” Dowling said.

Dowling did not try to catch Rufrano that much. He was more worried about what Todd Owen was doing behind him. “I was pacing off of Todd. Todd (Owen) is fast here every week. You know what he’s going to do,” Dowling said.

Dan Avery the car owner for Chase Dowling talked to 22News about the win.

“It means a lot. Brought the spirits back up for the team. Those guys worked really hard. Mr. and Mrs. Poulin put a lot into this and Randy Smith. The whole crew worked really hard. Never gave up and came back. They earned the fruits of their laborers. Hats off to the whole team. Hopefully it will be a trend of more things to come,” Avery said.

The race only had two cautions. The first one was on lap 2 for a multi-car accident after Stephen Kopcik’s car started to drop off the pace and the final one was on lap 40 for a spin by Woody Pitkat.

Todd Owen finished the race in the second. He talked about his second place run to 22News.

“Long ways to go with these cars. Usually, we have a lot more cautions than that. We tried to save for a long time. Me and Chase (Dowling) we were just saving forever. I knew that Rufrano was going to back up a little bit. When it was go time. He was just a little bit better than us. Second is a great day for us, Cooker Construction, and all my guys. It’s a great day for us,” Owen said.

Mike Christopher, Jr. finished in third. He talked about his race to 22News.

“I think we got lucky. The car was definitely not great. If we had a caution, it would’ve of been difficult to stay up there. Luckily, we got strung out there. Kind of set my own pace and tried to figure out how easy I had to go to make the thing good. Honestly, we got lucky to finish third,” Christopher, Jr. said.

John Catania out of Agawam finished in 18th. Glen Reen out of Wilbraham finished in 25th. Dan Wesson out of Monson finished in 26th and Tyler Leary out of Hatfield finished in 27th.

On Friday, Minnechaug Regional High School held their graduation. Mikey Flynn competes in the SK Modified division and got to attend his graduation with the NAPA Auto Parts 5K being held on Saturday.

Flynn talked to 22News about what it meant to attend his High School Graduation.

“I am happy we got to do an in person graduation. The people at Minnechaug did a phenomenal job. We were all really happy to be there. Happy to see each other for what could be the last time. I really enjoyed it,” Flynn said.

Flynn will be attending Coastal Carolina University and will be majoring in Sports Management. He is planning to race as much as he can. He will fly back on Thursday nights and head back Saturday morning for the next couple weeks. On September 8, the plan is to do in-person learning.

“I am really excited for that. It’s a new chapter in my life. Gonna try to balance racing and school work evenly as possible,” Flynn said.

Stafford Motor Speedway will be back in action this Friday night. 

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