(Stafford Springs, CT)—After losing out on the 2020 Limited Late Model championship by virtue of a tie-breaker, Alexandra Fearn entered the 2021 Limited Late Model season at Stafford Speedway with some extra motivation. That motivation, combined with a good car and crew, helped guide Fearn to a season opening victory that she followed up with 5 more wins to propel her and the #12 Broad Brook Brewing / SAFCO Foam team to her very first track championship at Stafford.
“It feels pretty good to win the championship and it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work,” said Fearn. “This championship really got started at the end of the 2020 season when we lost the championship in a tie-breaker. I had never been that close to winning a championship before so that showed me that we were capable of winning a championship. We weren’t that good at the start of last year and we were able to recover and we got really close with a legitimate chance. That really fired me up for this season and we went out and won the first race. I wanted to win this championship really bad and I was going to do whatever I needed to do to win it. It feels very satisfying and it’s a great way to cap off the year and it makes me feel good I was able to win the championship for everyone who supports me. Having a year like we had winning the championship is not easy so a big thanks to everyone for their support: SAFCO Foam, Broad Brook Brewing, especially Eric and Rita, Shaefer’s Racing Oil, Whip’s Sporting Goods, Joe Hamm, Williams Race Gears, New England Gear Polishing, R.A.D. Auto Machine, my Dad and Admedeo, my two rocks, Dave Z., Dave F., Bob, Ryan, Grant, my family and friends, and everyone who supports my racing.”
Fearn was the dominant car during the 2021 season, leading all drivers with 6 victories. As is the case with many championship drivers, Fearn was not just dominant but she consistently found herself at the front of the Limited Late Model field every Friday night. In 20 starts, Fearn posted a total of 15 podium finishes, including 6 second place finishes to go along with her 6 wins.
“We were very consistent for about the last 8 races of last season and things really started clicking for us,” said Fearn. “My father and I were communicating with each other really well and in the past I think what has hurt me is not knowing what I needed in the car. There’s a big difference between having a good car and a good driver. Completing all the laps was also a key factor for us.”
By just looking at her numbers on paper, it could be assumed that Fearn cruised her way to the championship, but that wasn’t the case. For just as good as Fearn’s season was, 2-time Limited Late Model champion Jeremy Lavoie was right behind Fearn for the majority of the 2021 season as he posted 2 wins and he finished all 20 races inside the top-5.
“It was tough but I wasn’t worried about Jeremy,” said Fearn. “Obviously I wanted to beat him but we’ve raced together for I think 4 years now and I know what to expect from him and he knows what to expect from me. I feel extremely confident racing with him and I kind of expected it to come down to the two of us. Racing with Jeremy is a lot of fun because he’s extremely consistent and I think he has set the example for what consistency is in the Limited Late Model division.”
From her season opening win up through August 6, Fearn was slowly pulling away from Lavoie in the standings, but that all came to a crashing halt on August 13. Fearn went into that race with a 22 point lead over Lavoie but a last lap crash left her in 12th place while Lavoie finished second to shrink the gap in the standings from 22 points down to 2 points with 7 races left on the schedule.
“That night made me really mad but I got over it pretty quickly,” said Fearn. “It was not necessarily anyone’s fault because you can tell when someone hits you on purpose. It was just frustrating and stupid and I had to think about that all week long until the next race. From that point on, I knew I had to finish in front of Jeremy every week, which meant I had to be consistent every race. Fortunately I was in the position of having more wins than Jeremy in case it came down to a tie-breaker. My team brings a great race car to the track every week and we always show up looking for wins, so I just had to do my thing and not lose sight of our goal.”
Fearn once again slowly built up an advantage over Lavoie over the next 6 races to hold a large enough margin going into the final race of the season that all she needed to do to clinch the championship was to start the race. It was a good thing for Fearn that she held such an advantage because she encountered an unforeseen mechanical issue in that final race and wasn’t able to show the true potential of her car in that final race.
“The last race all we had to do was start the race but we actually had a mechanical issue,” said Fearn. “I went out for practice and the car was wandering, especially on the front and back straights. I was able to keep the car straight and I ran just fast enough in the feature to finish the race and not wreck the car. I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way to cause a crash or something like that. Normally I would have been pretty aggressive but we didn’t want to go home with a wrecked race car.”
Fearn becomes the second female track champion in the long and storied history of Stafford Motor Speedway, joining Shelly Perry, who won the 2006 SK Light championship. Joining Perry on the list of Stafford track champions brings about a great deal of pride for Fearn, who sometimes still has to fight the stigma of women in motorsports.
“I think winning the championship does add some extra significance and it gives more legitimacy to women in motorsports,” said Fearn. “There’s always going to be people saying things like I’m not dedicated to racing and things like that but at the same time I think people also realize that women in motorsports are here to stay.”
In addition to her championship winning season in her #12 car, Fearn also made her Late Model debut by driving the #12 Late Model normally driven by her brother Ryan in the season ending NAPA Fall Final where she came away with a 10th place finish. Fearn isn’t sure of her plans yet for the 2022 season, but she is looking forward to returning behind the wheel regardless.
“We haven’t done anything with the car yet,” said Fearn. “Racing the Late Model was a lot of fun and it all comes down to me figuring out what I want to do. At the end of the day I just want to have fun and racing in the Limited division is always fun and the Late Model was a lot of fun so there’s some things to think about and I’ll be excited about whatever we decide to do.”
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