Stafford Springs, CT — After winning a DARE Stock championship in 2004, Kevin Gambacorta moved into the Limited Late Model division in 2005 and won two more track championships at Stafford Motor Speedway. The 2012 season saw Gambacorta continue his full fendered ways with a move into the Late Model division, where he scored 3 top-5 and 9 top-10 finishes to end the season in 9th place in the points standings and earn SPAFCO Race Chassis & Parts Rookie of the Year honors.
After a rough start to the 2012 season that saw Gambacorta finish 15th or worse in 3 of the first 4 races as well as missing a race, he finished in the top-10 in 9 of the final 13 races of the season with a best finish of second on August 24th.
"I think we did better than we expected," said Gambacorta. "At the beginning of the year, we thought we'd maybe get a couple of top-10 finishes towards the end of the season. We almost won a race and we finished in the top-10 in points, so it was a pretty good year for our first season. The Late Model division is a tough class, once you get into the top-10, there's a lot of former track champions like Jim Peterson, Woody Pitkat, Mike Quintiliano, and Corey Hutchings."
While the second half of the 2012 season was much better for Gambacorta and his #32 Rafferty Fine Grading team, he says that he and his crew struggled with the consistency of their setup, but that they learned a lot about the car in the process.
"We tried something different on the car every week and we definitely learned a lot this year," said Gambacorta. "I think our biggest issue was with the consistency of the car. The night we almost won, we had the car pretty good. But in tech that night, we had to pull the suspension out of the car and then the next week we broke a front spring perch, so we never got the car exactly back to where it was that night. The car was still a top-10 car, but I didn't have the same feel in the car that I had that night, which was a little frustrating for us. Looking back, I wish we could have won that race, but it's not easy to win Late Model races at Stafford."
With a top-10 finish in the points under his belt, Gambacorta is looking forward to the 2013 season and he will have an old friend on hand to help him find his way to CARQUEST Victory Lane.
"Winning a race next year is definitely a goal for us and I think we can win a race and be closer to the top-5 in points, so we're looking forward to next year," said Gambacorta. "Our plan is to take my old Limited Late Model car and convert that to a Late Model for next season. I'm a little more comfortable with that car and we'll use our car from this year as a backup in case we need it."
Gambacorta will officially be crowned the 2012 SPAFCO Race Chassis & Parts Late Model Rookie of the Year at the 43rd Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 16 at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor.
Tickets to the 43rd Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony are $45 per person and can be ordered by calling the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or by downloading an order form from www.staffordspeedway.com and mailing the form to the track office.
Sources: Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR