Cashing In: Brian Sullivan Tops Field In Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night SK Light Mod Special At Stafford

Brian Sullivan celebrates victory in the SK Light Modified feature Friday at Stafford (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Friday was a night Brian Sullivan marked on the schedule well before the start of the 2023 schedule. 

Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night at Stafford Friday meant a hefty bonus in the normal winner’s purse for the SK Light Modified feature, extended to 40 laps from the normal 20-lap distance. 

At the end of the night it was mission accomplished for Sullivan and his focus on winning the special event. 

Sullivan held off Alexander Pearl on a late restart to win the 40-lap SK Light Modified feature and the $1,750 winner’s purse. 

“It’s a big one and we definitely wanted to be sitting here in victory lane,” Sullivan said. “We did our homework this week and went through the whole [car] and we didn’t leave anything on the table this week.” 

It was the fourth victory of the season for Sullivan, of Tolland and his ninth overall in the division. 

“I thought the track was really racy tonight,” Sullivan said. “We had a great run with Tyler Chapman, Amanda West and Alexander Pearl. We could run side-by-side.”

Pearl, of Salem, who swept twin 30-lap SK Light Modified features Wednesday at Thompson, held on for second. Tyler Chapman of Ellington was third. 

“It was really weird,” Pearl said. “Halfway through the race, after the long green flag run, the outside really came in on the restarts. That seemed like where you wanted to be. I think we had the best car … Overall I’m really happy with the speed of the car that we found in the last couple weeks. We’ve had one heck of a week between here and Thompson [Speedway].” 

Pearl went to the lead early, stalked in second by West 

A frontstretch pileup stopped the race on lap 20 with Pearl leading, West in second, William Lambros in third, Chapman fourth and Sullivan fifth. 

On the restart it was West getting by Pearl for the lead, with Sullivan moving to second. On lap 22 Sullivan took a look under West for the lead in turn two, but couldn’t make the move work.

Caution flew again on lap 23. On the restart Sullivan was able to use the outside lane to get by West for the lead with Chapman following to second place. Caution flew on lap 24 for spinning cars near the rear of the field in turn four. 

On the lap 24 restart it was Sullivan battling side-by-side with Chapman for the lead. The pair remained side-by-side out front on lap 25 with Sullivan leading at the line. The side-by-side battle continued on lap 26 with Chapman lead from the outside at the line to complete the lap. Caution flew for the stopped car of Nick Anglace on lap 27 to put Chapman to the front for the restart. 

On the restart it was Sullivan and Chapman continuing the side-by-side battle, with Sullivan lead at the line on lap 27. Sullivan was able to clear Chapman off of turn four on lap 28. On lap 31 Chapman got a tire under Sullivan in turn two, but Sullivan fended off the challenge. 

On lap 32 Pearl found a lane under Chapman off of turn four and moved into second off turn two on lap 33. 

By lap 35 Sullivan had opened a four car length lead over second place Pearl. On lap 37 Pearl was able to claw to Sullivan’s bumper but caution flew once again on lap 38. 

Sullivan was able to get the jump on the lap 38 restart, leaving Pearl and Chapman fighting for second. 

“The top was definitely better on the restart, but I didn’t want to take [on the final restart],” Sullivan said. “I figured that eight wheels are better than four. We had a good start anyway and we didn’t need to use him up or nothing like that. We had a nice clean run to the checkered.” 

Said Pearl: “Just didn’t need that last caution. I think we could have set him up and maybe passed him at the end.” 


  1. SKL race best of the night again- I think Lambros would of won if he didn’t have mechanical issues he was putting on a show

  2. Said Pearl: “Just didn’t need that last caution. I think we could have set him up and maybe passed him at the end.”
    Kind of doubt that seeing as how Pearl needs conditions to be pristine to execute the pass but in any event some of the most spectacular racing was going on deeper in the field.
    These days we complain about low car counts and the reasons behind them but no one can complain about the SK Lights. It’s difficult to grasp exactly how hard it is to survive let alone move up in that massive a field of 37 cars. Consi, we don’t need no stinkin consi start every car that comes through the gate and cross your fingers.
    Top 5 usually the benchmark most teams would say is a good night, top 10 more appropriate in a field that large.
    Happy old warrior Wade Gagner comes in 19th not normally considered that big a deal but it involved moving up 17 spots so it is a big deal. Hovey +12 and L’Etoile +17 gold stars as well.
    The “how’d he do that” award has to go to Bessette. Starting scratch he moved up 33 spots is that some kind of modern era record? He’s taken his lumps in this forum on occasion but credit where credit is due. That was one remarkable run was it not?

  3. RaceDayNH says

    Doug, gonna politely disagree with your assessment of Pearl. He’s had quite a few wins and is always in championship contention at Stafford and Thompson in the largest division in New England. I doubt his accomplishments have only come under pristine conditions… I think what happens is people see a young kid who races with respect to his competitors and respect to his team’s financial constraints and time. If he was an older veteran and ran the same way I think your narrative would be different, just guessing… He is sort of a throwback in his approach that’s always there at there at the end.

  4. Stuart A Fearn says

    I’m going to agree with Pearl as well. He had the best car at the end and passed 2 or 3 on the bottom running to the end of the race one right after another. The last caution put him on the top lane which was probably his second choice

  5. Still not sure why they made the 67 go to the back after being pushed started???? The track was closed, cars were brought down pit road and stopped while they cleared the track. I have been pushed started and have pushed started race cars with each others cars without penalty. Also have pushed started cars out of their pit stalls after stalling car

  6. I always saw SK lights as an entry level/starter division for modifieds….. and then you move up to the regular SK division. Am I the only one? Hasn’t Brian Sullivan won races in an SK? I’d much rather see the championship come down to Pearl, the Chapmans, Barry, Anglace, Bessette, ect

  7. Ricky,
    First, Brian Sullivan has never won an SK Modified feature at Stafford. Has run in the division in that past, but never won a race.
    Logically, if your argument is that Brian Sullivan shouldn’t be competing in the division because he’s run a division higher, than your argument about Tyler Barry, Nick Anglace and George Bessette Jr. deserving more to be running for a championship falls flat. Barry, Anglace and Bessette have all run Tour Type Open Modified events, which is definitely a division further up the chain than SK Light Modifieds. So if your argument is that Brian Sullivan shouldn’t get to run for a championship in an SK Light Modified at Stafford because of his experience in higher divisions, than your argument also eliminates Barry, Anglace and Bessette too.
    For me, I think the SK Light Modified division is just fine with a mix of age groups and experience. If running in an SK Light Modified is what fits for you and your budget, go for it.

  8. Shawn, thank you for the reply.

    I don’t know if you can compare a couple spot starts in tour type races to the experience of running multiple seasons in the SK division. I agree that if he meets the rules to complete in the division, then he runs. Where is the line? If at next spring’s sizzler, Ronnie Williams shows up with a new SK light with plans of running for a championship, does he run?

  9. Ricky,
    I see what you’re saying about a couple spot starts, but that’s exactly why it’s hard to make any rules concerning restrictions based on experience somewhere else. Again, as long as there aren’t any rules against it, and that’s what Ronnie Williams wanted to do, I don’t see an issue with it.

  10. The SKL is the equivalent to dirt racing sportsman or 602 crate division. Shouldn’t be any restrictions on who drives these cars on any night – should be the same driver eligibility rules as the late models. Purses should be increased for this division also – if they want to have a starter division for modifieds then the rules should state that and only have non-winners to be eligible to race and pay everyone the same money first to last.

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