Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – After closing out the 2018 SK Light season at Stafford Speedway with six consecutive top-8 finishes, including his first career win in the NAPA Fall Final, Salem, CT native and third generation driver Alexander Pearl has picked up in 2019 right where he left off.
Pearl, the 2014 Junior Outlaw Champion from Stafford’s Monday Night Wild Thing Karts program, and the #7 Darling Auto Parts team recorded a fourth place finish in the season opener and a win in the NAPA Spring Sizzler® feature event last weekend and is currently leading the SK Light points standings.
“I didn’t expect us to be leading the points but I did expect us to be up there,” said Pearl. “Last year at this time we were way down in the standings so anything better than that is an improvement. Experience means so much. Before last season I had never driven anything at Stafford so it was all about learning the car, learning the track, and what I needed as a driver for a setup. The combination of all those things has put us in a good position.”
In addition to leading the points standings, Pearl is quickly becoming a big race specialist. Pearl won the NAPA Fall Final to end the 2018 season and by winning last weekend’s NAPA Spring Sizzler® feature, he has won 2 of the 3 biggest SK Light races on the schedule. Pearl will be looking to add the Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night extra distance, extra money feature to his list of wins on Friday, May 24. Pearl finished last year’s Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night feature event in 7th place and after winning the NAPA Spring Sizzler® feature event, Pearl and the #7 team are looking forward to the extra distance extravaganza.
“My dad and I were joking about [winning big races] after last weekend, but I think it’s just coincidence that we’ve won the big races with a lot of pressure,” said Pearl. “I’m excited for the Dunleavy’s race. We finished 7th last year and I was still getting seat time behind the wheel. Now that we have a good setup in the car and I’m driving well, we’re looking forward to the race and 40 laps is going to be a challenge. It’s going to take patience but I think we can do it and get a good finish.”
Although Pearl is still relatively new to the concept of going extra laps behind the wheel of his #7 SK Light machine, he has an idea of what to expect and how to prepare after running the Dunleavy’s Modifiedz feature last season and a 40-lap Mini Stock race at Monadnock.
“I ran a 40 lap race at Monadnock Speedway last year and 40 laps is the longest race I’ve run at Stafford,” said Pearl. “I have an idea of what to expect but with Stafford being a bigger track and the difference between the SK Light and Mini Stock cars, there isn’t really much to carry over except for having seat time in a 40-lap race. You can’t really be patient in the 20 lap races because there’s so few laps you have to go 100% the whole time. With 40 laps you can be a little more patient and take care of the car and manage everything in order to be in a good position for the end of the race.”
With 8 top-8 finishes and 2 wins in his last 8 starts dating back to last season, Pearl wants to continue building his confidence behind the wheel and continue the wave of positive momentum throughout the remainder of the 2019 season.
“After we got the first win out of the way last year I’ve been riding the momentum into this season. The way we finished last year was a big confidence booster for me over the winter. Knowing that what I’m doing and what the car is doing is good, I feel like we are going to be a strong contender. Our goal is to win every time we go out there, but the competition is really tough in the SK Light division. Winning the Sizzler last week was big for us and hopefully we can get back into victory lane a couple more times this year.”
Pearl is also looking to add some sponsors to his #7 machine. Pearl currently carries sponsorship from Darling Auto Parts and EB Exterminating and they are looking to add to their sponsorship portfolio.
“We have Darling Auto Parts and EB Exterminating as sponsors and we’re still looking for sponsors as you can see in pictures our car doesn’t have anything on the quarter panels,” said Pearl. “I have a lot of crew members and friends that help support me which is very fortunate.”
Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night is the longest and biggest race of the 2019 season with over $10,000 in total posted awards up for grabs. With contingency bonuses, the winner of the Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night feature will take home $2,025. Tickets for the May 24 Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night are $20.00 for adults, $5.00 for kids 6-14, and as always 5 & under free. Reserved seating is priced at $23.00 for all ages. All tickets include 10% CT Admission Tax. General admission gates are set to open at 5:15 pm, qualifying races begin at 6:15 pm, and feature racing is scheduled to begin at 7:15 pm.