Stafford Notes: Kevin Gambacorta Tops Late Models; Travis Hydar Wins Street Stocks

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

Kevin Gambacorta erased a three-second lead and used a late pass to win the 30-lap Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

“What an awesome car tonight,” Gambacorta said. “That’s the way to rebound after a tough week last week. … It was just what we needed to rebound after last week.” 

It was the third victory of the season for Gambacorta of Ellington. 

Bobby Stirk of Naugatuck had a career best second place finish and Tom Fearn of East Longmeadow, Mass. was third. 

The race got off to an ugly start on the first lap when a multi-car crash on the backstretch collected a number of top contenders, including Adam Gray, Darrell Keane, Alexandra Fearn, Chris Meyer and others. 

The wreck began when third place running John Blake put fourth place Alexandra Fearn into the backstretch wall. After getting slammed into the wall, Alexandra Fearn was hit from behind and spun head-on into the wall. Blake was penalized for the incident.

“Complete lack of talent,” Alexandra Fearn said. “Complete lack of consideration. The results show. It’s just really sad that we had to wad up this many cars on the first lap of a Late Model race. I hope that those two points and the extra $50 was worth it. … I try to race everybody how I want to be raced but some people, just a complete lack of talent. Whatever, I don’t forget.” 

Stirk started from the pole and was able to check out from the field after the race was restarted. On lap 11 Gambacorta got by Tom Fearn for second and began chipping away at Stirk’s three-second lead out front. 

By lap 28 Gambacorta had caught Stirk and on lap 29 Gambacorta got under the lead into turn one and came out of turn two with the lead. 

“I wish I just took the mirror out of the car,” Stirk said, “I was watching Kevin get closer and closer and I had nothing left for him. I burned the right rear [tire] off trying to escape everybody. I’ve got to thank him. He could have spun me and just moved me or done whatever he wanted and he was real clean about it.” 

Travis Hydar rallied from an early crash to win the the 20-lap Street Stock feature. 

It was the fourth victory of the season for Hydar, of Woodbury. It was his 17th career victory in the division, moving him into sole possession of third place on the division’s all-time win list at Stafford. Kyle Casagrande leads the list with 20 victories and Johnny Walker is second at 19 wins. 

“This thing was awesome,” Hydar said. “The car was really fast tonight. We changed some stuff before the feature, kind of just took a shot at it and it worked out. The car was really good. Got into an incident there at the beginning but luckily this thing was hooked up and I was able to come back to the front.” 

Aaron Plemons of Uncasville was second and Jason Raymond of Somers third. 

Hydar went by Plemons for the lead on lap 16 and went unchallenged the rest of the way. 

Reigning Limited Late Model division champion Rich Hammann passed Adrien Paradis III on lap 19 and held off Paradis on the final lap to win the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature. 

It was the first victory of the season for Hammann, of Tolland. 

“I just dug down deep. It was good racing,” Hammann said. “… We’ve been struggling all year. This is for the whole crew.” 

Paradis, of Tolland, held on for second and Matt Clement of Wethersfield was third. 


  1. Fenders Galore says

    61 slid up a bit, 12 had a chance to back off… 61 is obviously at fault but let’s not criticize the 61 too much here. Both the 12 and the 61 are batting in the same league when it comes right down to it. 12’s created a few messes herself throughout the season.

  2. Definitely interested in seeing the commentary come in on the Blake/Fearn deal. We have one’s feedback but there may be another side with merit as well.

  3. Doug
    It looked like the 61 spotter was as guilty as the driver to me. I was listening in to the 23 car, and don’t even have a frequency of the 61. I haven’t watched on Flo yet, but it looked to me like he turned right thinking he was clear.

    On another note, I wish Fearns daughter would just shut her mouth. You’re not perfect, and you did the same thing to Mike Hopkins at last spring’s sizzler. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a garage full of race cars like you.

  4. Ricky,
    So you can’t bring yourself to refer to her by her name, and you tell her to shut her mouth? Tell me you’re a misogynist without telling me you’re a misogynist.

  5. Okay Shawn, my comment should have read “Alexandra Fearn should keep her mouth shut”

    I figured her father is a regular commenter to the site, so everyone would know exactly who I was referring to. My comment wasn’t meant to infer I have anything against women or women in racing.

  6. Ricky,
    She’s 26 years old. She has raced at Stafford full-time for 11 years. She’s a former track champion. She’s the winningest female driver in track history. She’s 28th on the track’s all-time win list. She has an engineering degree and is a lawyer. I think at this point she’s certainly done enough in racing and in life that she deserves to be referred to by her actual name and not just as someone’s daughter.

  7. Getserious says

    Shawn, can you confirm something? Street Stocks; yellow with 6 to go; Hydar leading; Waterman 2nd or 3rd; announcers agree, but Hydar restarts 3rd and Waterman tenth?!? My buddies and I are going, “Wait a minute. Did we just fall into the Twilight Zone, or what!?” But we hear no explanation at all at the noisy track.
    So, I just watched the Flo replay and there was no explanation, and never a question from the announcers. Obviously those poor guys had no clue either. I finally figured it must have been related to the cars jumping the restart on lap 3?
    Well, someone must have known! They need to tell people WTF is going on, especially the announcers.
    It might surprise the race directors, but there are actually people out here seriously watching these races, not just sitting around to see cars go around in a circle while they chow down $10 slabs of fried dough!! Well, a couple people, at least.

  8. Getserious,
    I wasn’t quite sure what was going on with that scenario either.

  9. Stuart A Fearn says

    The second corner into a 30 lap race no one starting on the inside can drive it straight out to the fence. Plain and simple. On lap one that’s just stupid. Later in the race it’s lack of respect and a good way to get yourself right reared straight into the fence yourself.
    Coming off the corner like that you are wide open throttle and still have good wheel in it. Pretty much defenseless but I do wish she cleaned out the 61 on the RR not gonna lie head on into the fence. But that would have wiped out just as many or more in the wreck
    Little further down the straight would have been completely different outcome

  10. Hi Shawn, should we be expecting follow up interviews with you and the race director to explain this issue? I watched the video several times and could not see what the race director saw but understand what we saw on Flo was only the video and commentator’s comments, not what the race director saw and reviewed on tape. Thank you for this great website.

  11. Getserious says

    Thanks, it’s more secret than I thought!

  12. Steve M,
    Let me see what I can find out.

  13. Stuart A Fearn says

    The penalty report is published usually by noon Tuesday on the SMS website. That might shed light on the waterman issue. I was confused as well, thought I missed something

  14. Fenders Galore says

    Well Stu,

    Friday night the kids get to return to the sandbox and play. Some nights they play nicer than others. Hoping to see the 12 car have a good run. Hopefully Blake has a good run as well, and the hatchet is buried.

  15. “Coming off the corner like that you are wide open throttle ”
    Is that really true? I certainly have no experience in a powerful current era Late Model but would think like a Street Stock coming out your still in the process of getting into the throttle and not wide open.
    That’s got to be hard to take. Prospects for a great finish high and you end up with an expensive, time consuming wreck to make right again while the guy that caused it finishes all 30 laps and comes in 13th. The walling one thing, the shot in the rear the real haymaker I’d bet when the damage was assessed.
    Blake wrong but was it an unpardonable sin I’m not so sure. Going into one Fearn was clearly behind the 61 and at the Jegs billboard the 12 still didn’t look to have a fender up at that point. Who knows what Blake had in his minds eye or what the spotter was saying. Could have been that he was ahead of the 12 so when he saw the first two cars falling in line he may have thought there was space to fall in line with them. He may have glanced back and saw the first 7 cars mostly falling in line and assumed Fearn was as well. It wasn’t the case obviously.
    You get walled and take a shot in the rear sometime and see how calm you can be moments later. Fearn clearly upset and rightfully so using the phrase “complete lack of talent” three times and “complete lack of consideration” once. At the risk of being sexist that I believe is the educated womens equivalent of using a couple choice vulgarities post wreck.
    While I wouldn’t have used the same words as Ricky I get the reference. We as fans remember Fearn after the Hopkins incident standing in a very defensive posture talking about having to see the replay, not even hinting at the possibility of driver error. Now the victim, perhaps Blake who does have over 80 starts in the Late Models and a win to his credit not deserving of a giant sized helping of ridicule for this particular driver error.

  16. Stuart A Fearn says
    43 in car camera. See bottom car get out of shape on the bottom and then go right up the track carrying the 12 right into the fence.
    Good handling car is wide open throttle there, yes. First lap especially since the first corner speed is lower than usual they are all on the gas sooner than under normal green running conditions.
    The front hit was much worse, clip, both upper and lower control arms, both ball joints and housings, spindle, side bars and uprights of main cage from side hit. Rear was nothing compared to all that.

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