(Stafford Springs, CT) — After a combined 11 feature victories and three track championships spread among the DARE Stock and Limited Late Model divisions at Stafford Speedway from 2003-2011, Ellington native Kevin Gambacorta was a familiar face in NAPA Victory Lane. After moving up to the track’s Late Model division in 2012, Gambacorta has come agonizingly close to winning with 7 second place finishers, but had yet to seal the deal. That all changed last Friday night when Gambacorta led 21 of the race’s 30 laps to pick up his first career Late Model win and his first win at Stafford since June 2011.
“It feels good,” said Gambacorta. “For a while there I didn’t think we were ever going to win in the Late Model division. There was a time during the off season where we were even considering not running a full schedule this year. The confidence was really down until we got the win Friday night. If you had asked me about 5 or 6 years ago, I never would have believed that we would end up in the Late Model division. I kind of thought I was going to be a DARE Stock guy forever.”
The win was extra special for Gambacorta in not only that it was his very first Late Model win, but he has had to overcome some long odds to not only win, but just get to the track each Friday night.
“I got choked up in victory lane because no one really understands how hard it is for us to get to the track every week,” said Gambacorta. “I don’t brag much but to compete with the Late Model guys and get a win at that level was something that I’m pretty proud of. The only way we make it to the track every week is by using the purse money that we won the week before. If we ever had a major problem with the car, it might be the end of us for a while. Andy [Marchese] has told me that I could use his car if I ever needed it but we kind of go week to week and that’s how we make it. I still kind of feel like we’re in over our heads in the Late Model division. The Limited Late Model division was perfect for me because I could do everything myself and I didn’t need the pit crew, equipment, radios, and all that stuff. I’m lucky I have people that show up to the track on Fridays and help us out. We’ve been able to scratch together what we need to race every week but I still feel like I’m in over my head. I probably do 98% of this out of my pocket and Rafferty Fine Grading and LifeCare Family Chiropractic are the other 2%. Rafferty has been with us for years and they usually help me out in the winter just before we get started racing and then again midway through the year. LifeCare is awesome and they help us out with every podium finish so the more times we can get on the podium the better for us. If we didn’t have their help along with Dave Miller from Auto Machine in East Windsor, we certainly wouldn’t be able to race in the Late Model division. I also have to thank Jay Stuart, he’s one of the main reasons why we’ve been able to pick things up so well the last couple of weeks with the car.”
Now that Gambacorta has his first win finally under his belt, he has his sights set on getting back to NAPA Victory Lane as many times as he can during the 2016 season.
“The way the car has been going the last couple of weeks, if we don’t screw it up, I think we have a shot to win a lot of races,” said Gambacorta. I’d love to go back to back and win another race to really put an exclamation point on things. Now that we know we can win and we have a winning car, I just want to go out and win more races. We had a bad race in the 50-lapper and with how well Tommy Fearn is running, he’s going to be hard to catch in the points. There’s four of us that kind of run up front every week so gaining points is going to be hard so we just want to win races. That’s a pretty cool feeling to win at Stafford.”
Another motivating factor for Gambacorta to win again was the fact that his wife Sarah and son Kolton weren’t on hand to share in the excitement of his first Late Model win.
“Unfortunately my wife was in Texas and she was getting a ton of text messages and she wasn’t really sure why,” said Gambacorta. “It wasn’t until I called her and told her that we had won that she started to get it. She was really excited and my son was also pretty excited when I told him that I had a trophy waiting for him at home. Now I have to win a race when they’re both here at the track so we can have a nice family photo in victory lane.”
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.