Scores First NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Win & Big Payday
LOUDON, N.H. — One final corner and $25,000 on the line.
While Justin Bonsignore and Ryan Preece made contact and crashed racing for the lead in turn three on the final lap of the inaugural Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Chase Dowling slid by both of them to score his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win.
In July, it was Dowling came off turn four in position to win at the ‘Magic Mile,’ but lost the dash to the checkered by just .014 seconds to Bobby Santos III. This time, Dowling edged Patrick Emerling by 0.056 seconds, moments before the yellow flew for the rest of the field.
“It’s in me, it just doesn’t really sink in yet,” Dowling said of his emotions after winning. “I’m through the roof. It was a pretty crazy race overall. I think it was just one of those things where I was waiting for it to happen. It finally happened.”
RACING-REFERENCE: Musket 250 Race Results
Dowling’s road to the victory was definitely not an easy one. He started from the pole and led 54 laps, but over the course of the 250-lap distance, Dowling was shuffled in and out of the top five.
Teams pitted more than once under the green flag, something that Dowling had never dealt with in his career. He pitted for the final time on lap 220, and came out in fifth for the restart.
After a caution with 14 laps to go bunched the field up, Dowling found himself fourth heading down the backstretch on the final lap. When Bonsignore and Preece made contact, Dowling cut to the bottom, slid past Emerling and beat him back to the finish line.
RACING-REFERENCE: Chase Dowling’s Career Stats
“There were a lot of up and down moments,” Dowling said. “You were leading one moment, then pitting and not knowing where you are out there. We just had to put ourself in position to win.”
Emerling also slid by without damage, too.
In his first trip north to New Hampshire, nine-time Bowman Gray Stadium modified division champion Burt Myers escaped the final corner and finished third. Andy Seuss finished fourth, while Preece limped across the line following the crash to finish in fifth driving for Gary Putnam.
Bonsignore was sixth, followed by Doug Coby, Jon McKennedy, Eric Goodale and Ron Silk.
The lead changed 30 times among five different drivers including three times in the final five laps. Bonsignore’s Whelen Modified Tour championship lead was cut to 74 points over Dowling with two races remaining on the championship points schedule.
The Musket 250 aired live via a stream on FansChoice.TV, and will air on NBCSN on Thursday, September 27 at 7 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Stafford Motor Speedway for the NAPA Fall Final 150 on Sunday, September 30.
NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Musket 250 Results
At New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Lap length: 1.058 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
- (1) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 250 laps, 103.399 mph.
- (3) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, NY, Chevrolet, 250.
- (8) Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Chevrolet, 250.
- (6) Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H., Chevrolet, 250.
- (20) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 250.
- (2) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY, Chevrolet, 249, accident.
- (5) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 249.
- (9) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass., Chevrolet, 249.
- (24) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 248.
- (4) Ron Silk, Norwalk, Conn., Chevrolet, 248.
- (12) Rob Summers, Manchester, Conn., Chevrolet, 248.
- (22) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass., Chevrolet, 248.
- (18) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 248.
- (17) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 247.
- (13) Tommy Catalano, Ontario, N.Y., Chevrolet, 245.
- (27) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Pontiac, 245.
- (15) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y., Chevrolet, 244.
- (7) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 243.
- (29) Dave Salzarulo, Monson, Mass., Chevrolet, 238.
- (21) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 233, accident.
- (19) Blake Barney, Lakewood, N.J., Chevrolet, 232, accident.
- (11) Bobby Santos, III, Franklin, Mass., Chevrolet, 216, rear end.
- (30) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Chevrolet, 202.
- (25) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Ford, 116, rear end.
- (31) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 114, clutch.
- (14) Ronnie Williams, Ellington, Conn., Chevrolet, 106, engine.
- (28) Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Chevrolet, 77, rear end.
- (26) Todd Cooper, Hollywood, Fla., Chevrolet, 20, electrical.
- (16) Jeff Rocco, Meriden, Conn., Chevrolet, 7, accident.
- (10) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Chevrolet, 7, accident.
- (23) Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J., Chevrolet, 7, accident.
Time of Race: 2 hours 33 minutes 29 seconds
Margin of Victory: Under caution
Fastest Qualifier: C.Dowling (129.344 mph, 29.447 seconds)
Caution Flags: 5 for 31 laps.
Lead Changes: 30 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Dowling 1-5; J. Bonsignore 6-16; C. Dowling 17; J. Bonsignore 18-23; C. Dowling 24-32; J. Bonsignore 33-41; C. Dowling 42-51; J. Bonsignore 52-58; C. Dowling 59-67; J. Bonsignore 68-74; C. Dowling 75-79; R. Silk 80-84; C. Dowling 85-92; R. Preece 93-103; B. Santos ,III 104-105; R. Preece 106; B. Santos ,III 107-113; R. Preece 114; B. Santos ,III 115-118; R. Preece 119-121; R. Silk 122-157; J. Bonsignore 158-174; R. Preece 175-194; C. Dowling 195-200; R. Preece 201-223; J. Bonsignore 224-231; R. Preece 232-234; J. Bonsignore 235-245; R. Preece 246-248; J. Bonsignore 249; C. Dowling 250.
Standings: 1. J. Bonsignore, 614; 2. C. Dowling, 540; 3. D. Coby, 495; 4. T. Solomito, 494; 5. C. Lutz, 467; 6. R. Summers, 451; 7. E. Goodale, 442; 8. D. Sapienza, 422; 9. R. Williams, 398; 10. T. Catalano, 370.
LOUDON, N.H. – After 250 hard fought laps and numerous lead changes, of course the Whelen Modified race came down to the final turn of the final lap to determine a winner in a wild finish to the Musket 250. When the dust had settled, Chase Dowling sped across the Granite Stripe to win the longest race in series history. The pole sitter Dowling takes home $25,000 plus $100 for every lap he led through the afternoon; quite a haul for the young driver who captured his first ever Modified victory. He nearly took home the checkered flag at NHMS in July, losing the summer race by .014 seconds.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Dowling. “This race is a lot different than earlier in the year. You’re leading one moment and then you pit out and you don’t know where you are when you come out; you just had to be patient.”
Patience was in short supply at the end of the race. With five laps to go, Patrick Emerling gave a huge push to Ryan Preece, launching him back into the lead spot, but that was short lived after Emerling gave another push, this time to Justin Bonsignore, putting Preece in second. In a last lap pass attempt, Preece’s front right tire tangled with Bonsignore’s left rear, causing them to wreck in turns three and four, clearing the path for Dowling to take the checkered flag.
“It’s New Hampshire, just trying to win,” said Preece, who restarted his battered race car and forced it across the finish to ensure a fifth place finish. “Ended up getting the big run, I pulled down, saw grass, checked up, saw a hole and ended up on his left rear nerf bar. I was trying to get off it, but you can’t get off. It’s not the way I wanted to end, and I’m sure it’s not the way he [Dowling] wanted to win, but at the end of the day it is what it is.”
Emerling finished second and avoided the chaos of the last turn. “We didn’t have the best car, but we had an awesome strategy, and it worked in our favor,” said Emerling. “Anything can happen in the last corner.”
The Musket 250 tested drivers to their limits. Never before has a Modified race gone 250 laps, and never before have these drivers been required to make green flag pit stops. Those who were successful clearly enjoyed the challenge.
“I could do this every weekend,” said Burt Myers, third place finisher. “I’ve heard friends tell me Modifieds are the best race of the weekend, and I believe it. It was a blast, but I could do another 250 if you wanted to.”
For ticket information for events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, including the upcoming Extreme Chunkin Festival, Oct. 20-21, visit the speedway website at www.NHMS.com or call Fan Relations at (603) 783-4931.