Bounty Hunter: Albert Saunders Scores Bonus With First Late Model Win At Stafford

Albert Saunders raises a Tom Fearn Wanted t-shirt in victory lane after winning the Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor)

STAFFORD – Albert Saunders had 500 extra reasons to be ecstatic about his first career Late Model victory Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Saunders cruised away from the pack early and scored victory in the 30-lap Late Model at Stafford.

The win snapped Tom Fearn’s division record six-race winning streak and earned Saunders a $500 bounty which was put up by track general manager Mark Arute after Fearn’s win on June 22.

“That was pretty cool,” Saunders said. “I wasn’t really thinking about that too much going into it, but that’s definitely a nice added bonus. I was just looking for a Late Model win period. I don’t care if it paid extra money or not.”

Fearn was attempting to tie the track’s record for consecutive wins overall which set by Tom Rosati in the former Late Model Sportsman division in 1977 and tied by Geoff Bodine in the former Modified division in 1978.

Fearn, of East Longmeadow, Mass., ended up second. Tyler Leary of Hatfield, Mass. was third.

“I can’t say we’re not happy,” Fearn said. “It’s great to be here every week on the podium. It’s a great team behind me. My guys work very hard at this and a lot of passion in it to get us here every week.”

Saunders started on the pole and led every lap. Fearn was up to third by lap five, but battle with Leary for eight laps to get to second. By the time Fearn moved into the runner-up spot on la 14, Saunders had opened up a 2.2 second lead.

Fearn was able to cut just over a second off of that lead over the final 16 laps, but was a distant second.

“I was kind of nervous,” Saunders said. “I had a problem with the transmission during the heat race. I was kind of concerned about getting it into gear. … I really didn’t want a caution. … The car was great. I was praying for no cautions. Lucky we didn’t get any. I was able to get a good lead and just maintain from there.”

Said Fearn: “We started on the outside there and then I got to the bottom and I just tried to pick them off one by one. I got up to Tyler and it took me a bit to get to him and get by him. Albert was gone by then. I tried hard to get there but just couldn’t. I couldn’t do it with the amount of lead he had.”

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Comments

  1. CONGRATULATIONS Al Saunders, and your team. The first is always the hardest. I can remember when the Saunders twins worked on Butler’s 4 car before they started racing themselves, and both brothers have been front runners in both SS, and LLM. Can’t say the outcome would have been the same had there been a caution though, as Tom Fearn made it up to 2nd. But GREAT JOB Al, enjoy that $500 bounty. And thanks to Mark Arute for putting up the bounty money and making it interesting.

  2. A first time winner. A long time up through the ranks driver that is a nice story but since he’s one of the Doublemint twins all the more compelling. But watching the lap times click off, the T shirt at the ready in victory lane from Fearn clan apparently and it was Saunders. I just can’t help the notion that Tom decided to get the drama over by sand bagging just a hair. Not a full we planned this all along but just opportunism. The reason. It was a big night with a big crowd, it was good for a struggling Late Model division and Tom is really, really strategic and smart knowing this costs him nothing in the long run.

  3. Doug you have to be kidding

  4. It certainly didn’t look like Fearn was sandbagging on Race Monitor. Saunders clicked off lap after consistent lap, but Fearn was often turning the fastest times with Glen Reen close a few times around. I got a kick out of the non-caution for Reen’s spin, as during some other races the yellow flasher button seemed to be hair trigger sensitive.

    Congratulations to Al for a great first win! Watching Tom work through the pack and his battle with Leary certainly made the race fun to watch.

  5. Part kidding, part wondering, 100% intrigued. Best laps time practice, heat, feature Fearn was faster by .32 seconds per lap, .09 and .03. Was Saunders fast……..yes. Was the gap too much to overcome…..probably. Did I make a wild suggestion based on nothing…..don’t think so.
    Don’t get tense Elect it’s only a fan being a fan and having some fun.

  6. The battle with Leary was just enough for Saunders to mount an insurmountable lead. Fearn was coming, just ran out of laps. It is time to get the LM and LLM combines though on a sidenote, hopefully next season.

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