Stafford Notes: Kevin Gambacorta Gets Late Model Victory 

Kevin Gambacorta celebrates victory in the Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – On April 27 it looked like Kevin Gambacorta was going to begin defense of 2023 Stafford Speedway Late Model championship with a victory in the division’s season opening event. 

After dominating most of the event, Gambacorta was spun out of the lead by Paul Varricchio Jr. on lap 22 of the event. 

Gambacorta rallied to finish third in the event. 

Friday the Ellington driver got his redemption. 

Gambacorta went by Cliff Saunders for the lead on lap 29 and held off Varricchio on the final lap to win the 30-lap Late Model feature at Stafford. 

“This makes [April 27] a little bit better,” Gambacorta said. “This is cool. Third and a first to start the year.” 

It was the 16th career Late Model victory at Stafford for Gambacorta.

Varricchio, of Berlin, was second and Tom Butler of Stafford third. 

The race started off ugly. Pole sitter Zack Robinson and second place starter Bobby Stirk drifted up the track through turn one, opening the door for third place Alexandra Fearn to get under both and come off of turn two with the lead. 

Going into turn three Robinson drove into the back of Fearn’s car, sending her hard into the turn three wall, with multiple other cars piling into her. 

The race restarted with Stirk out front. On lap eight Cliff Saunders got by Stirk to take over the top spot. 

Gambacorta got to third by lap 11. On a lap 19 restart it was Stirk getting back by Saunders for the lead, but Saunders fought back to regain the top spot a lap later. 

On lap 21 Gambacorta made the move to get by Stirk to take over second, with Paul Varricchio Jr. following to third. 

On lap 28 the fourth place running car of Darrell Keane blew a motor setting off a multi-car pileup in turns three and four. 

On lap 28 restart it was Saunders fighting off the challenges of Gambacorta. 

On lap 29 Gambacorta found the lane under Saunders through turns one and two and came off turn two with the lead. Varricchio followed to second place. On the final lap Butler got by Saunders to take third. 

“Me and Cliff were really even,” Gambacorta said. “I got a nose under him and I think he tried to slam the door on me in turn one and actually screwed himself up and kind of opened the bottom for me,”

Travis Downey of Barkhamstead was the beneficiary of an ugly last lap battle and celebrated victory in the 20-lap Street Stock feature. 

On the final lap, Travis Hydar got under leader Ryan Waterman through turns one and two and came off of turn two with the lead. In turns three and four Waterman got to Hydar’s bumper and made contact with him in turn four, sending both cars spinning. Downey drove under both the spinning cars to snare victory. 

“I’ve been thinking about this all day,” Downey said. “I knew when they got together there was going to be a battle to see who was going to win the race. And it happened on the last lap coming off of [turn] four just like I thought. And I was there.” 

Jason Lafayette of Somers was second and Jeff Asselin of Granby, Mass was third. 

Tyler Chapman of Ellington scored victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature. 

It was the 13th career victory in the division at Stafford for Chapman. 

Ron Midford of Ellington was second and Brian Sullivan of Tolland third. 

Devon Jencik of Canton topped the field in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature. Jeremy Lavoie of Windsor Locks was second and Matt Clement of Wethersfield third. 


  1. The Robinson kid seems to have an issue with females passing him for the lead. In 2020 he was in a points battle with Meg Fuller in the Street Stocks. One night in August when Meg was leading him in the points she passed him for the lead clean and the next lap he just cleaned her out on purpose. Fearn did nothing wrong tonight. Robinson got himself out of the groove and lost the lead at the start. There was no reason for him to go in there and intentionally wreck her because his own bonehead driving cost him the lead in the first turn. Can’t believe Stafford let him stay on the track. Should have been parked.

  2. Mon Cheri Amour says

    When is Scott Tapley coming back? Already dreading officiating the rest of the season. Totally inconsistent. First SK race 2 weeks ago it was an awful call putting Christopher to the back for a phantom jump on a restart, but then let Reen drive through people like it was a monster truck show. And 3 laps to make a call on Gambacorta getting spun out of the lead in the first late model race? That was an instant call. What took 3 laps? And who thought it was a good idea to let Robinson stay on track tonight after he wrecked the leader on purpose in the late models on lap freaking 1? Stevie Wonder could have seen that was intentional.

  3. Hillary 2024 says

    Well, Hydar got Watermaned.

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