Happy Return: Albert Saunders Back In Late Model Victory Lane At Stafford

Albert Saunders celebrates victory in the Late Model feature Fridy at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

In the early stages of the Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway, Albert Saunders figured it would be a night of frustration at the track. 

“That first run of the race the engine was breaking up, it was misfiring, there was all sorts of stuff going on, it wouldn’t accelerate down the straightaway,” Saunders said. “Then whatever was going wrong with it fixed itself under caution.” 

With all flxed it was Saunders rocketing to victory lane. 

Saunders, of Stafford, passed Chris Buffone for the lead on lap 12 and then left the field far behind in winning the 30-lap Late Model feature at Stafford Friday. 

“The car was so good [after getting the lead] that I had to keep telling myself, ‘Be patient, be patient.’” Saunders said. “But the car was so good and I just kept going and kept going. Can’t believe to get a win this early in the year, especially starting from 9th place.” 

It was the sixth career Late Model victory at Stafford for Saunders and his first since Sept. 24, 2021. Saunders did not racing in 2022 or 2023. 

“Really special,” Saunders said. “I haven’t raced in two years. To come back and win a race, this my fifth race of the year, to win so early in the year is really incredible.” 

Kevin Gambacorta of Ellington was second, holding off Saunders’ twin brother Cliff, of Stafford, who was third, 

Gambacorta, the reigning Late Model champion, has finished in the top-five in all six Late Model events this season at Stafford. 

“We ran old tires because we have to sometimes,” Gambacorta said. “So to get second is a good night. I know this is going to come to an end at some point. It’s going to get harder and harder to finish on the podium every night. Just an awesome night. Congrats to both the Saunders boys.” 

Said Cliff Saunders: “It was a really good night. Really cool that my brother got the win. He kind of struggled a little bit this year. Had a little bit of bad luck. Both of our cars have been so good. I’ve been top-five every week. Didn’t really have much expectations starting 14th and having to come through the field, but the car was really good. Didn’t really have anything for [Gambacorta]. I was a little better than him but I just couldn’t get off the corner to be able to make a run at him.” 

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