Gem Of A Win: Alexander Pearl Tops Opening SK Light Mod Feature At Thompson

Alexander Pearl celebrates victory in the first of two SK Light Modified features Wednesday at Thompson (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – With the calendar closing in on turning to August, it’s fair to say the frustration was building for Alexander Pearl in his search for victory lane anywhere in 2023. 

Pearl arrived at Thompson Speedway Wednesday with that frustration inside, but also carrying optimism after battling for victory last Thursday at Stafford Speedway in the Monaco Ford 30-lap SK Light Modified special event. Pearl, who competes regularly at both Stafford and Thompson, finished second last Thursday to Tyler Chapman at Stafford. 

Wednesday at Thompson Pearl finally got to check off the win box for the first time in 2023.

Pearl drove away from Isaiah Newcomb and John O’Sullivan in the closing laps to win the first of two 30-lap SK Light Modified features at Thompson Wednesday. 

Pearl, of Salem, finished fourth in the first SK Light Modified feature of the season at Thompson on April 8 and was second in the second and most recent event on June 22. 

“Definitely frustration was there,” Pearl said. “We’ve struggled a whole lot at Stafford. Going into that Thursday race we took the whole car apart. … And it came to life. That gave me the confidence that it wasn’t just me that sucked. We’ve been so close here. This is our third race with this car, so we’re still getting the bugs worked out.” 

Newcomb, of Plymouth, Mass., was second and O’Sullivan, of Salem, third. 

Pearl was hunting down race leader Tyler Chapman on lap 20. On lap 21 Chapman slowed significantly through turns one and two, with Pearl closing up on his bumper. Into turn three Chapman looked to have a tire going going, going straight into the the turn three wall to bring out another caution. 

The wreck put Pearl in the lead with Newcomb in second and Todd Douillard in third. Pearl took the inside for the restart and easily beat Newcomb into turn one. Behind them O’Sullivan went from fifth to third on the restart. 

“It sucks what happened to [Chapman],” Pearl said. “I thought it was shaping up to be another battle with us like at Stafford. But we’ll take them as they come. I think we had the best car. Hopefully we can change it up just a little bit for the second race and get it better.” 

The first caution flew on lap seven with Douilard out front, Nick Hovey in second, Pearl in third and Chapman in fourth. 

On the restart there was contact between Hovey and Douillard coming to the green flag with Hovey pulling away to the lead. Pearly briefly got to second past Douillard, but Douillard fought back to regain second place. 

On lap eight Chapman was able to overtake Pearl for third place. Caution flew again on lap 10 for the spinning car of Tom Abele Jr. with Hovey leading Douillard, Chapman in third and Pearl fourth. 

On the restart it was Hovey getting at the green leaving Chapman and Douillard to fight for second. 

On lap 11 Chapman got under Douillard into turn three and came off turn four with second place. Pearl got by Douillard for third place on lap 13. 

By lap 14 Chapman was all over the bumper of Hovey at the front. 

Jeff Davenport spun in turn four and ended up in the turn four wall to bring out the caution on lap 15 with Hovey leading Chapman and Pearl in third. 

Under caution Hovey went to the pits with a left rear tire issue, handing the lead to Chapman. On the lap 15 restart Chapman was able to quickly break away from Pearl. 

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