Comeback Story: Kevin Gambacorta Rallies From Crash To Win Late Model Feature At Stafford

Kevin Gambacorta celebrates victory in the Late Model feature Saturday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Editor’s Note: Kevin Gambacorta was disqualified from the victory following post race tech inspection Saturday.

STAFFORD – Opening day at the race track for most drivers is a time of excitement and optimism. 

For Kevin Gambacorta, opening day luck has been hard to come by. 

In 2018 a wreck in the first race of the season left Gambacorta abandoning hope of chasing a championship and instead on the sidelines for a few weeks repairing his ride. 

“With his car parked nose first into the wall in turn four with 16 laps remaining in the Late Model feature Saturday at Stafford Motor Speedway, Gambacorta was thinking it would be just another rough opening day for him at the historic half-mile oval. 

“We always struggle at the first race and it’s always been crummy luck.” Gambacorta said. “… Then we get spun into the fence and I’m like ‘Here we go again.’” 

But ultimately Gambacorta’s luck meter flipped about 180 degrees after the mid-race miscue. 

Gambacorta, of Ellington, came back through the field and went to the lead following a lap 21 restart and won the 30-lap Late Model feature on opening day at Stafford. 

“I kept my telling myself that if we could win this race that would be the ultimate redemption form last year,” Gambacorta said. “It just worked out somehow.” 

Micheal Wray of Northford was second and Michael Bennett of Stafford third. 

Reigning division champion Tom Fearn, who won 12 of 21 Late Model events at Stafford in 2018, looked on his way to victory for most of the event. Fearn started on the pole and had checked out from the field during an early race green flag run. But following a lap 21 restart Tyler Leary got into the back of Fearn in turn three. Fearn wiggled through a sideways slide to save the car from wrecking through turn four, but in the process Gambacorta got under him for the lead. 

Fearn fell to fourth and held that spot to the end. 

“I got punted there and I lost all the grip after that,” Fearn said. “I think I overheated [the tires] when I got sideways there and I had no drive off [the corners] after that. I had to baby it.” 

Said Gambacorta: “We finally had some good luck go our way. I don’t know what the heck happened, but we just kept moving up and moving up and there was opening and I was just going for it at that moment and it just worked out. 

“We were definitely a second place car tonight. Then we just got lucky there. I never would have thought that would happen.” 

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