Schooled: Alexander Pearl Holds Off George Bessette Jr. For SK Light Mod Win At Stafford

Alexander Pearl celebrates victory in the SK Light Modified feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – For his composed and calculating style on the track, SK Light Modified driver Alexander Pearl has earned the moniker “The Professor” from Stafford Speedway’s announcing crew. 

On Friday it was Pearl teaching lessons late on the track. 

Pearl came out on top of a late race battle out front with George Bessette Jr. to win the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature Friday at Stafford. 

It was the second victory of the season for Pearl, of Salem.

“I feel bad passing [Bessette] there at the end,” Pearl said. “He was going good, but you know. Win No. 2. It’s really awesome. I can’t thank everybody enough. Hopefully we get a couple more of these before the end of the year.” 

George Bessette Jr. of Danbury was second Nick Anglace of Ansonia third. 

“It was real awesome,” Pearl said. “I just had to [bide] my time going through the field. It was a long race. Patience prevailed.” 

On lap 14 Bessette used the outside lane following a restart to take over the lead from Wesley Prucker. Anglace quickly moved to second and Pearl to third.

Pearl went by Anglace for second on lap 16 and a lap later used a diving move into turn three to get under Bessette. The pair went side-by-side for lap 18 before Pearl was able to clear Bessette off turn two on lap 19. Bessette tried to get under Pearl into turn three on the final lap but Pearl deftly defended his lead through the final corners. 

“I was concerned but I’ve raced with him for a long time ever since go-karts and he’s a clean racer,” Pearl said. “This being my third in the division, I kind of know how to race and protect and that’s what we had to do tonight.” 


  1. I’d like to make a complaint to the nickname department.
    Rocco is not a kid and calling him the name of a music personality flies in the face of everything good about nicknames that should be unique.
    Preece lighting was fine 6 years ago but out of date and demeaning for a Cup driver. We love him to death but he’s not lightning anywhere now and he’s more of Mr. Preece at the level he’s attained.
    Joey zip drive? Joey flash drive maybe. Joey digital. Zip drive says you’re what…..yesterday tech? How about Joey tape cassette.
    Just because a kid wear’s heavier dark glasses and is quiet doesn’t make him the professor. He should be called the assassin. Stealthy, unrecognizable, undramatic……….that is until he sticks a dagger in your hopes of winning the feature snapping it away before you noticed the 7.
    Racing nicknames should be organic and impossible to obsolete based on age or era. The ideal……The Rapid Roman.

  2. Ken Latham says

    Doug, I agree to some extent. Personally, I do not like Matt Buckler’s style. And he is SOOO over dramatic. At one point he said one driver was “Shoehorning” his way in, and in fact he was PASSED like he was anchored. Dodge is better, he can be”over” dramatic too.
    As far as the races, I thought they were pretty good. Williams was the class of the field in the Open. Owens the same in SK. I think some of the Black Flags for contact were a little “Ticky-Tack”. It is racing, and there will be contact now and then.

  3. The Monday morning quarterbacks are out on Saturday morning criticizing.

    After all the years Rocco and Preece have been driving race cars, with the same nicknames now it’s a problem? Why create an issue that does not exist?

    Tony “Smoke” Stewart, Carl “Bugs” Stevens, Richie “Rapid Roman” Evans, George “Moose” Hewitt, “Chargin” Charlie J, and there are many more. Their whole career the same nicknames, never changed. I wonder why?

    Just because someone feels another nickname is appropriate does not mean the masses would agree.

  4. Did I offend Earl? That’s new. I’ll try to be more careful next time.
    So let’s stick to racing. Tell me Earl you’re an Art Barry guy. Pretty cool last night seeing his Spafco do good wasn’t it? Did you stream the race? McKennedy was in the hunt until the end a total change from their first outing.
    Maybe you’re at Waterford tonight. 15 SK’s in practice that’s great isn’t it Earl? No Keith Rocco but a Rocco nonetheless. Jeff in the 57. There’s like 8 cars turning great lap times so it should be a barn burner of a feature. Narducci is there as is Jon Puleo in and SK. That’s a twist isn’t it?
    Now this is interesting. Buckler thought that Sami Anderson and Bert Ouelette weren’t at the race last night because of a wreck last week. Guess what, they’re at the Speedbowl.
    If you’re not going to the Speedbowl are you streaming the NWMT race Earl? Who do you like to win and who to surprise?
    My pick, Amy Catalano. If you’re going to be wrong be wrong big. They call her Mamma Cat don’t they in NY. Now that’s a timeless nickname. Joey Zip Drive…………yuck.
    Never trust nicknames to announcers that describe the distance between two cars as dinosaur tails to put nicknames on drivers.

  5. Nicole Thibeault wins SK Lite feature at the Speedbowl.
    Whew whew right Earl?

  6. Bill Realist says

    If we are on racing nicknames one of the best was Maine’s “Racin Ralph Nason”. Some of you southern new englanders may not know who he is but that was a well deserved nickname. Certifiable badass back in the day and probably still is.

  7. Doug that way they get to get a top 15 ,couldn’t be sure of that at Stafford .on that note where is Brian Sullivan go’s missing while the points leader

  8. “The Monday morning quarterbacks are out on Saturday morning criticizing.”
    This is sports talk. By it’s very nature sports talk is overwhelmingly Monday morning quarterbacking by people that likely have never been quarterbacks. Every day, all day in every sport. So what’s wrong with that?

    “After all the years Rocco and Preece have been driving race cars, with the same nicknames now it’s a problem? Why create an issue that does not exist?”
    Excusssssssse me. Did I call the Pope a racist? It’s a harmless light hearted comment by a fan without any ridicule, provocation or malignant intent.

    Tony “Smoke” Stewart, Carl “Bugs” Stevens, Richie “Rapid Roman” Evans, George “Moose” Hewitt, “Chargin” Charlie J, and there are many more. Their whole career the same nicknames, never changed. I wonder why?
    This is where it gets interesting. All those nicknames are timeless. The question is how did they get the nicknames. I’ll bet it was more organic then an announcer at a track pounding away at it to make it stick. Personally I’m tired of the Buckler and Dodge routine where everything has to be defined in terms of a metaphor or simile and every driver have some colorful nickname. I want a straight call like the guy at Jennerstown last night or Rollie Jacobs used to call at Riverside and Stafford. On the other hand I know my lack of enthusiasm is only from hearing them so much. If I was hearing it for the first time I’d think it was kid and family friendly and just wonderful. Who am I do question a Hall of Famer and a future Hall of Famer. When I heard Dodge in 1980 for the first time after growing up at the Danbury RaceArena I fell in love with that well paced mellifluous voice.
    I don’t trust announcers to assign nicknames to drivers and in all the race announcer I’ve heard I’ve never heard them pound away at it more then Stafford. Speaking of Danbury the greatest driver in the tracks history was Chick Stockwell who never had a colorful nickname. Chase Dowling…… nickname. Why is that? Preece lightning and Kid Roc aren’t racing nicknames they’re mostly Stafford nicknames. Maybe Mike Joy has said Preece lightning but it’s not a Cup thing at all. Joey zip drive? Where did that come from one of Joey’s friends? Doubt it. They’d say Joey Flash Drive.
    As easy as an announcer can declare a driver has a nickname a fan can just as easily say it misses the mark and neither would be wrong. Joey Zip drive misses the mark by a country mile.

    “Just because someone feels another nickname is appropriate does not mean the masses would agree.”
    For the record this is the US and the masses don’t agree on anything. The least of which is using a freakin mask in a pandemic. So what’s your point?

    So I’ll take it Earl you haven’t attended any races because of the safety concerns you previously mentioned nor have you streamed any races. Thus your comments on those commenting, things on the periphery of races but not actual race related events. If you need any tips on streaming I’d be happy to help. You’re really missing out if you’re sticking to that whole visceral, gotta be there thing.

  9. Glad you finally admit you don’t attend races, you stream them and provide your expert analysis and commentary from the the comfort of your armchair after the fact.

    Please don’t worry about where I am, what I am doing, you just worry about what you are doing and streaming.

  10. getserious says

    Jeezus Doug, they call Joey “Zip-drive” because it’s Joey CIPriano. Joey Cip… Cip, Zip..Say it out loud.
    Joey FlashDrive??? That would be as dumb as calling A-Rod A-stick.
    Yeah, some, actually, a lot, of their babbling is grating. But when you are actually AT the race you can’t hear 90% of it anyway.
    But, you try doing it for four hours. It’s tough.
    No question about it!

  11. Finally admit?. Not only have I never had to admit anything I’ve been a cheerleader for streaming.
    No Earl I’m not worried about you just trying to be helpful. You’re attitude about streaming races is fairly common in this forum from mostly out of touch old timers or isolated snobs that think physical presence and not knowledge equates to fandom. Who for the most part have been wrong.
    Admit I stream races you say. Like a few hundred others including viewers from around the country, friends and family of competitors and geezers like me that find getting to races a little more difficult as the years pile on. Nothing to admit. Happy to be a contributor in fact.
    A few Facebook entries on the Stafford Facebook page:

    – Watching from Meridian Idaho
    – Just got home from work on Long Island and watching heat races from Stafford!!!! Life is good. Enjoy everyone
    -Raleigh, NC modified fan watching….
    -Watching from Australia
    -Watching from Georgia, USA
    -Art Jensen from Nc watching
    – NC here

    That happens every week. One from Camp Pendleton last week. That’s all people formerly not able to watch a great product that now can.
    Florida, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pa I’ve taken in more races then the vast majority of fans could ever think of getting to. Admit that? No problem.
    I’ve taken in all the shows at Stafford this year, all the NWMT and TTOMS races and early races as things opened up at White Mountain and Mahoning. That’s all money supporting the sport while a lot of you grumpy gus’s tell me it doesn’t count if you’re not at the race while you’re not at the race and not supporting the sport.
    Remember the first time you walked into Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park as a kid. Seeing the game live. The beautifully manicured field, power and speed of the players and a home run that didn’t seem physically possible.. Nothing like it. Same with NFL football seeing the distance and height of a punt, hearing the physical contact on the field or just noticing how massive and fast the players were. Can’t get any of that on TV yet people watch all sports on TV when old timers could say it doesn’t count unless you’re there. That’s you Earl. The guy in the 1950’s that said sports on TV will never catch on.
    If all you want is smelling exhaust, seeing colors flash by or hoping to be excited about something you noticed that was exciting on the track then good for you. I study drivers, teams, lap times, Facebook entries from teams and everything that local racing encompasses. At the very least I’ve contributed over a couple hundred dollars to Stafford a quarter of which goes to Stafford and a quarter to the teams competing there. By the end of the year it may double, I’ll be way over budget and happy about it. Not as good as being there buying food and drink and the full ticket price going to the track less taxes but it’s something vs what wasn’t possible. Sure Earl I admit I did that what do you admit?
    I’m not ashamed of my entries. I try to be on point. Don’t purposely provoke or demean anyone unless provoked, don’t engage in politics, anti Trump nonsense or anti Trump Covid19 attacks unless they are the overwhelming interest of the thread. I believe I know local racing fairly well. Don’t like what I’m saying just read “Doug” and ignore it.
    You can sit there Earl with your memories and be all holier then thou about what racing really means I have more then my share of memories as well. You have your old memories of Art Barry, I have current memories of Art Barry that happened Friday night that you missed. The difference is I’m building new memories based on what I’m seeing that’s streamed while you are being a lovable curmudgeon clutching your memories and hoping nothing changes.

  12. “But, you try doing it for four hours. It’s tough.”

    I believe I covered that.

    ” On the other hand I know my lack of enthusiasm is only from hearing them so much. If I was hearing it for the first time I’d think it was kid and family friendly and just wonderful. Who am I do question a Hall of Famer and a future Hall of Famer.”

    I don’t know what to say about your reflection that it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear 90% of it. Try doing your job hoping 90% of it isn’t noticed and see how far you get. They don’t believe it and it’s insulting for you to say it. If you’re taking a shot at streaming you’re off base there as well. All the more reason to double down on the quality of your call knowing dooshbags like me will be hearing every word.

    In fact I believe I heaped more praise on the careers of the Stafford announcing team based on more facts in listening to Stafford for over 40 years. Putting an exclamation point on the reality that I’m completely out of touch with the typical fan in the stands that have viewed limited races that probably love the call as it is. If you’re saying I can’t express a respectful opinion I don’t agree.
    I get the cip-drive thing. It still sucks big time. Maybe flash drive does as well. Nonetheless you don’t paste a nickname on a guy because it’s a play on his name that’s catchy. It needs to reflect their on the track persona and at the very least not be outdated at the point you paste it on him………or her. Joey C comes into the forum, says he like it and I take it all back.
    Now isn’t this more fun the arguing about Trump or Covid19?

  13. Why don’t we let the drivers decide if they like their nicknames or not. If they don’t I am certain they will let the appropriate individuals know and the issue will be addressed. It’s not our job to dictate what’s right or wrong and we are entitled to our opinions. I think some are sticking their noses where they don’t belong stirring up an issue that does not exist.

  14. Fast Eddie says

    I guess I’m the odd guy out on this one. I wish Stafford’s PA system was a little louder because I enjoy listening the Matt Buckler and Ben Dodge when I can hear them. Yes they have many well used one-liners during the evening but that is part of who they are and what they represent at the races; announcers trying to inform, entertain, and excite the crowd. Once in a while there is a “new to me” cliché they come up with and I almost always find out some info I didn’t know about previously, both historical and current.

  15. What are you Earl like 100. Stirring things up? Where’d you get that from from your Grandpa when local teenagers started listening to rock and roll. Those darned whippersnappers are just stirring things up listening to that hooligan Elvis Presley.
    Get a grip, it’s sport chat. As long as it’s not mean spirited and fact based go with the flow. Racing isn’t Covid19 or world hunger. That whole snowflake deal you have going where you get all offended by the most innocent little aside you don’t think is racings equivalent of politically correct has a short shelf life.
    Speaking of flow how about this nickname for Nichole Thibeault Earl……The mom with twins that wins. She retired from racing finding out what many of we who have had twins finds out that they are more then two times the work. Someone get Matt Buckler on line one. I’m biased but I think that nickname could be a winner.
    There is no odd man out. You like what you like. There is no best way to call races only personal preference. I think it was jingle last year and big dance this season.

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