(Stafford Springs, CT)—2020 has been a year full of improbable circumstances and the race for the Stafford SK Light championship fits perfectly into that narrative. The 2020 season began with Brian Sullivan and the #11 Vasseur Landscaping team jumping out to an early season lead and looking like the team to beat. Then Sullivan missed 2 races and Alexander Pearl and the #7 Darling Auto Parts team became the team to beat.
After winning the August 21 SK Light feature event for his second win of the season, which was the halfway point of the 2020 season, Pearl held a 72 point lead over Jonathan Puleo with Sullivan sitting fifth in the standings, 90 points behind. Pearl recorded three consecutive DNF’s from August 28 through September 11 which allowed Sullivan to overtake Pearl in the standings. Pearl has since rebounded from his misfortune nicely by winning the last 2 SK Light features but enters this Friday night’s NASCAR Weekly Racing program presented by All Phases Renovations trailing Sullivan by 8 points.
“At the beginning of the season my plan wasn’t to run for points,” said Sullivan. “My plan was to run maybe the first 5 races and then concentrate more on my crew chief duties for Steven and Tyler Chapman. One of my best friends was getting married so I missed one race for the wedding and the week before was the bachelor party so since I wasn’t running for points, I figured I’d skip both races. I never expected to be in the point battle but here we are now leading the points. I think we fell as far down as fifth in the standings but Alex Pearl had 3 DNF’s in a row and some other guys had some bad luck and we found ourselves right back at the top of the standings.”
“It’s been a crazy season for sure,” said Pearl. “It’s 2020 so our season goes right along with it. We were good at the beginning of the year and we’ve been fast and then those 3 races happened. We had a big points lead but that’s racing. It’s nice to be able to come back and win the next 2 races in a row after our 3 DNF’s. Those 3 races were really frustrating. Week after week we had to keep taking the car apart and rebuilding things and spending money. I’m very grateful for everyone we have on our team and I’m very thankful we’ve been able to get 2 more wins. It shows that we can put the car back together and still be fast.”
With both Pearl and Sullivan experiencing ups and downs during their run through the 2020 season, both drivers say the key to the final 2 races of the season will be to keep on doing what has got them to this point.
“We’ve had a good season, we’ve been in the top-5 in every race except for one and we start around 15th every week due to the handicapping,” said Sullivan. “Our main thing has been to have fun racing and try to win as many races as we can. We won’t approach anything differently because we haven’t been racing for points all season long. Some of my friends throughout the season have been asking me if I’m points racing and I tell them that the finish is all the car had that week. We’re still putting forth 110% going for wins in the last 2 races and if the championship happens then it happens. If we can win the last 2 races then we’ll be the champion so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
“I just have to keep on doing my thing,” said Pearl. “There’s still 2 races to go and a lot can happen in 2 races. We had a 72 point lead and then after 3 races it was gone. Being up there in the points chase last season gives me a little experience to lean on and hopefully we can finish this season on top. The track has changed since the start of the year so we have to stay on top of things but the baseline setup we go with will be mostly the same. I feel like we run better in the cooler weather so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.
While Sullivan and Pearl are the two main protagonists in the race for the championship, Derek Debbis, George Bessette, Jr., and Jonathan Puleo are all still mathematically eligible to win the championship but each driver is facing a deficit of almost 50 points, which is how many points are awarded for a race win.
The race for the SK Light championship continues this Friday, October 2nd with a Stafford Weekly Racing program Presented by All Phases Renovations. Tickets for this race are on sale now through the Stafford Speedway website with adult general admission priced at $20.00, $5.00 for kids ages 6-14, kids 5 and under are admitted free. Paddock passes are priced at $40.00. The 2020 points race will conclude next Friday, October 9 with NAPA Auto Parts Championship Night.
Fans who cannot attend this Friday night’s races in person but would still like to watch can order a live stream of the event from www.staffordspeedway.tv for $20.
For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.