All Time Big Time: Chris Matthews Wins Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night SK Light Special Event At Stafford

Chris Matthews (left) celebrates with Doug Dunleavy (right) after winnning the Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night SK Light Modified feature Friday at Stafford (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Over his career at Stafford Speedway Chris Matthews has had the opprortunity to make plenty of visits to victory lane with an SK Light Modified.

Actually, more visits than anyone else in the history of the track.

But Friday night at Stafford Matthews got to make another visit to be celebrated for winning the division’s big one.

Matthews held off the charges of Stephen Chapman over the closing laps to win the 40-lap Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night SK Light special event Friday at Stafford Speedway.

“It was crazy,” Matthews said. “I can’t thank Doug Dunleavy enough for putting this show on.”

Matthews earned a $1,750 payday for the special event. It was the second victory of the season for Matthews, who is the division’s all-time winningest driver, extending that chart topping number to 19 victories Friday.

Chapman, of Ellington, was second and Nick Anglace of Ansonia third.

The race looked to be shaping up to be a duel between Derrek Debbis and Alexander Pearl.

Pearl got by Debbis for the lead on a lap 19 restart but it was Debbis fighting back to the top spot on lap 26.

On a lap 28 restart Debbis held the top spot with Matthews getting by Pearl for second. But Pearl moved back to the runner-up spot a lap later and by lap 36 Pearl was all over the bumper of Debbis.

On lap 37 Pearl made a diving move low for the lead into turn one, got through the grass and made contact with Debbis, sending him into the wall. Pearl was penalized for the move, putting Matthews  in the lead. On the ensuing restart Matthews was able to withstand a stiff charge by Chapman.

“I was fortunate that at the end, those guys got together and I inherited it,” Matthews said. “But hey, I’ll take it.”

Said Chapman: “The outside was definitely a place to be tonight. I guess they sprayed it. Definitely the top was a bit sticky. He drove in there harder than I did and got in front of me and I had nothing for him.”

Anglace returned from a three-race suspenion Friday night and found the podium.

“It’s actually really cool to have three weeks off and come back here and run like this,” Anglace said. “We had a really fast car. It was a little too tight at the end.”

Three special bonuses were drawn from the top-11 finishers after the event. Josh Carey (fourth place) and Frank L’Etoile (10th place) were each awarded $500 bonuses and Meghan Fuller (seventh place) was awarded a $1,000 bonus.


  1. Would it be unfair to say Pearl is not that good? Or more accurately average. I know it sounds sacrilegious considering the accomplishments of Gramps and Dad. But really the Professor deal is getting silly especially since the owner of the 7 is the real professor of modifieds. That’s two glaringly bad decisions Alexander has made this year that cost him and other cars good finishes and he should know better by now. He was faster and by a lot how often does that happen with Debbis? Not much time for the setup but some time but turn two? Besides Ted Christopher how often does the turn two bottom shot work at Stafford?
    The females at Stafford may be girls to Dodge but they are no more girls then the males driving in the SK Lights are boys. Make it ladies or young women or better yet drivers. West has driven herself into being a real factor now on the track and in the points. Cole notable progress this year a vastly more confident driver. Fuller is having ups and downs but perhaps a victim of high expectation associated with the Fuller name. Bryden is a fighter but after a lot of laps and features just not making much headway at all.
    The point being the “women” driving race cars at Stafford are not good because they’re women. They’re good, average and not so good because that’s the main categories pretty much all drivers fall into. Powder Puff Derby’s are all but extinct and the time for a special category for women in racing is starting to come to an end.

  2. wmass01013 says

    First i have to say WOW a big thank you to Doug Dunleavy, so nice to see a Sponsor sooooo excited to hand out his Money, a man who loves Modifieds is so good in my book and 33 SK lights has def breathed life to Stafford Motor Speedway, yes opens and SRX aside, the light weekly racing for the most part had sure made Friday Nights fun!
    Bravo to the Ladies for showing speed and not letting the Boys have alll the glory.

  3. From my view Pearl messed up going in to turn one trying the bottom shot ,had too much momentum got in the dirt and slid up the track in to Debbis..But i do agree he has a fast car that he can not seem to control at times.

  4. bill michael says

    congratulations nice job!

  5. I think if Alex waited another lap or two, he could have cleanly passed Derek Debbis as he was definitely fast. The dirt just wasn’t going to work.

  6. Sharpie Fan says

    One of the announcers said that he had been asked “Why are there so many good female drivers at Stafford?” The correct answer is “Why not?”

  7. The way I saw the 7 incident- the 7 got spooked by the 56 possibly a fake block, the 7 turned abruptly left to avoid the 56 and lost control entering the turn went thru the turn with both lefts in the grass…once the car bounced back onto the pavement it was just a hold on from there.

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