Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – After winning the SK Light championship in 2020 at Stafford Speedway and nearly going back to back in 2021, Brian Sullivan moved into the SK Modified® division for the 2022 season.
Sullivan ran a partial schedule in 2022 thanks partly to a blown engine that left him with a decision to make for the 2023 season.
Sullivan decided to turn his SK Modified® car back into an SK Light car and that decision paid immediate dividends as Sullivan won the season opening SK Light feature during NAPA Spring Sizzler® Weekend behind the wheel of his #46 Monaco Ford Troyer car.
“We blew our SK motor last season so the options for this year were to either sit on the sidelines or put all my SK Light stuff back into the car and go have some fun racing,” said Sullivan. “I still had all my SK Light stuff sitting around so we made a last minute decision to put everything back into the car.”
Sullivan’s win came in thrilling fashion as he beat Tyler Chapman to the checkered flag by inches in a photo finish.
“I wasn’t sure if I won that race or not,” continued Sullivan. “I thought I had him when I got to the start/finish line but I didn’t know until they came on the radio and told me I won for sure. I know he had a little more momentum than I did coming off that last corner so maybe if the line was 5 feet further down the track he probably would have won the race. Big thanks to all my sponsors Monaco Ford, Glastonbury Oil, Constantine Paving and Sealing, Competitive Edge Coatings, DRC Electric, and Sullivan Landscaping.”
Having spent a year away from the SK Light division in a different configuration of car didn’t have the slightest effect on Sullivan’s ability to be quick on the track. Sullivan credits his final 6 races of the 2021 SK Light season that saw him record top-5 finishes, including 2 wins, in all 6 races as the key for him to find immediate success upon his return to the SK Light division.
“We won a couple races towards the end of the season in my last year of SK Lights in 2021 so we had a good notebook to work off of,” said Sullivan. “I only ran 7 SK races last season so with the same car we put the same setup in it from 2021 and it was fast right off the bat and it’s always good to start the season off on a good note. We didn’t even have to do much dialing in, the car was that fast. It was kind of easy for us to go back to our notes and expect to run well right off the bat.”
With his first win of the 2023 season already notched, Sullivan now turns his attention to the SK Light Double Down 40-lap extra distance feature event scheduled for this Friday night, May 26.
“I feel pretty good about it,” said Sullivan. “We made a few setup mistakes last week where we didn’t tighten the car up enough so we know what not to do this Friday. 40 laps is kind of nice when you’re starting in the back around 14th or 15th place because of the handicapping and that gives me a few extra laps to get to the front. Hopefully everyone will use their heads and be a little more patient knowing the race is 40 laps long. I’ve done enough 40 lap SK Modified® races that I still feel like 40 laps is a normal night for us even though we normally race 20 laps.”
In order to take the checkered flag in the SK Light Double Down feature, Sullivan will have to contend with over 30 other modifieds as the first 2 SK Light races of the season at Stafford have featured starting fields of 33 and 34 cars strong.
“It’s nice to see 30 car fields and the SK Light division is where things are growing right now with a lot of young drivers,” said Sullivan. “To be able to look back at the Sizzler® and there were 42 cars there, it makes you feel pretty good knowing you were first out of 42 cars.”
Sullivan’s good start to the 2023 season has him in a prime spot to contend for the 2023 championship. While that is ultimately his primary end of season goal, he is more focused on winning races than accumulating points.
“The championship is our goal and we’re taking things one week at a time,” said Sullivan. “I’ve won the championship before and we were in the hunt to go back to back so points aren’t really a concern for us. We’re here to win races and whatever happens after that happens.”
Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, Late Models, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks will join the SK Lights in feature action this Friday night, May 26. Tickets for the May 26 SK Light Double Down program are available now online at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets and tickets will also be available for purchase at the admission gates. Tickets are $20.00 for adults, $5.00 for kids 6-14, and free for kids 5 & under. Reserved seating is priced at $25.00 for all ages and pit passes are $40.00 with a valid 2023 Stafford Competition License and $45.00 without a Stafford license.