CT.-------It isn’t often that a driver gets schooled once and wins a race
but what are the odds that a driver gets taken to school twice on back to
back restarts and still takes the checkered flag. That was what happened to
Bobby Santos Friday night as the 24 year old won his second race of the
season winning the TSI Harley Davidson 125 at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
took me to school on those two restarts.” Said the soft spoken driver, “I
guess I was lucky to win tonight. But I’d rather be lucky than good any day.”
restarts, Santos got the jump as the field rumbled into turn one but both
times, Santos drifted up and Blewett in the Dick Barney #14 shot underneath
to garner the lead but each time a caution flew, thus, giving the lead back
was extended to 137 laps and on the restart on lap 135, Santos took off
midway between turns three and four and powered out front off turn four but
NASCAR radioed back to the 4 crew and told Santos to let Blewett back to his
able to get the lead back as they headed off turn two as Blewett finished
second, with a flat tire and Todd Szegedy was third.
is pretty awesome. I have to thank the crew as we didn’t get a lot of
practice as we lost the clutch four laps into practice.” Santos, the winner
of a midget race in Iowa last week said.
about the final restart, Santos said, “Jimmy got me to go earlier than I
wanted too and I knew that I had to give him the spot back (or NASCAR would
have required a trip down pit road). Once we were even again, I got on the
gas as soon as I could.”
runner up Blewett, he was thrilled for the second place, especially after
hearing talk that he was losing it as a driver.
will come. We got the leader several times today but had those cautions but
it was a good run for us. Yeah, it frustrating. It wasn’t my day today but
you’ve got to earn the win.”
started about 10 p.m., one hour later than scheduled with Ron Silk and
Santos on the front row.
the first three circuits before Eric Berndt powered by on lap three but
Bobby Santos assumed the front spot on lap five.
On the 11th
circuit, Berndt took over the front spot and from there it looked like he
was about to make this his own special playground as by the 27th
lap he had opened up a 10 car advantage over Santos, Chuck Hossfeld and
caution of the night came out on lap 35 when James Civali slid up in turn
two and touched the wall.
several cars to the pit area including Mike Stefanik, Rowan Pennick, Ryan
Preece, Woody Pitkat and Chris Pasteryak.
caution flew on lap 43 when Eric Beers spun in turn one.
quick on the gas each time and sped away while Ron Silk and Bobby Santos
were fighting for second by lap 49.
race continued clean and green, Berndt was gone opening up a nearly 30 car
advantage as a good battle for the second through fifth spot with Hossfeld,
Silk, Santos, Robbie Summers and Jimmy Blewett battling.
continued to set a torrid pace as the lap marker clicked off lap 90 but
slowly Chuck Hossfeld was moving in on the leader, picking up two tenths of
a second per lap.
On the 94th
lap, Hossfeld was just cars away from Berndt and was on his rear bumper on
lap 103 when just the third caution flew on the night.
caution sends Ted Christopher, who was mired in 10th place into
the pits for three tires.
restart on lap 108, Eric Berndt never got going and that allowed Hossfeld
into the top spot with Jimmy Blewett getting into second but Hossfeld’s lead
would be short lived as he and Blewett tangled off turn four sending Chuck
spinning into the infield and bringing out another caution.
116, Santos had retaken the lead after the tangle between the two leaders
with Todd Szegedy second, Berndt third, Blewett fourth and Rob Summers in a
strong run for him in fifth.
117, Blewett moved into second and set his sights on Santos before another
caution flew on lap 120 when Eddie Flemke, Jr., Hossfeld, Kevin Goodale,
Rowan Pennick and Renee Dupuis got together in turn four.
the field went green, Glenn Tyler spun heading into turn four and stopped
and then Ted Christopher was sent spinning to the infield as Blewett was
able to get the lead on Santos but it was all for naught when the caution
flew on lap 124.
repeat on lap 127 restart, Santos powered into turn one and again drifted
high allowing Blewett to scoot underneath for the lead but the caution again
flew saving Santos.
restart on 135 Santos went early but allowed Blewett to get back side by
side and then Santos, with the aid of a Blewett tire going down pulled away
to win his second race of the season and his third career win.
thinking with the lead that Eric had that we might be able to get a top
three finish but the crew put us in position to win.”
about racing with Jimmy Blewett, who at times can make it very challenging
for drivers, Santos said the two have the utmost respect for each other.
Jimmy have a lot of respect for each other. I have always looked up to Jimmy
and his brother (John).”
and Bobby exchanged small talk in the press box, Bobby Santos said he was
‘lucky’ to win, in which, Jimmy shot back, “you earned this win.”
earned the Bob Garbarino driver $6,600 but there was to be little sleep for
the winning driver as he was to board a plane to Indy and compete in the
traditional “Night before the 500” midget race.
of the top ten was Ryan Preece, Rob Summers, Eric Berndt, Mike Stefanik,
Erick Rudolph, George Brunnhoelzl, III, and Andy Seuss.
Szegedy finished third but said that they were off just a bit all day. “We
were off just a little and we ended up using the right front tire instead of
the right rear. The restarts were a little different than normal but it’s a
good finish for us.
win, Santos extends his points lead to 64 over 7 -time series champion, Mike
Stefanik while Ted Christopher, who finished 12th fell to third
in the points and is 75 behind Santos while Todd Szegedy is 77 markers back.
Santos won his third consecutive pole of the season matching Ted Christopher
who started off the 2009 season with three straight poles. Bobby toured the
half mile oval in 18.090 seconds good for a speed of 99.502 MPH.
Santos comes from a longtime racing family as his grandfather, the late,
great, Bobby ‘Frito Bandito’ Santos competed in modified racing in the
northeast for many years. Bobby’s sister, Erika competes in the SK light
division at the Stafford Motor Speedway on a weekly basis.
Santos has won in just about every form of race car he has climbed into but
this will be his first attempt at running for a championship. I asked Bobby
why, with a driver of his talent haven’t gotten a call yet and he replied
“They aren’t looking for talent; they are looking with somebody with money.
It’s just the way that the sport is right now.”
for the second of four modified tour races at the Stafford Motor Speedway
was $76,476. It was also the 96th modified tour race at Stafford,
second most of all the tour races. With Santos winning, there has now been
30 different drivers in modified tour action at Stafford with Mike Stefanik
leading with 20 wins.
modified driver and all around good guy, Johnny Bush of Huntington Station,
L.I., N.Y. is competing on the tour in one of the spec motors and while the
results haven’t been the best for John, he is hoping to get a handle on it
and get it turned around.
has been great to deal with the motor. I don’t know if we are doing
something wrong but we’ll get it straightened out. I hope that we can and
that others will see the benefits of it.”
Larsen, a longtime modified tour official is now an author having his first
book published. It is called ‘A view from the Ramp’ and is available from
Barnes and Noble. Joe is another of the real good guys in the sport and
while this book is looking to be a winner after reading the reviews, Joe is
already working on another to be ready for the winter holidays and then will
begin working on his third book.
have joked with Joe to not forget his roots, he says that will never be a
problem. Good Luck, Joe.
the long Island gang was at Stafford as longtime modified driver and one of
the most talented drivers was back in the pit area after a lengthy illness.
Mike Ewanitsko was forced out of the sport because of problems with his
kidneys and after spending much time in the hospital and on many drugs to
control it, he is looking great.
one driver to fear each and every week and recorded more than 11 wins on the
tour before sadly being sidelined but he says everything is looking up
health wise and he is enjoying life with his kids after being able to go
back to work recently.
tour next week heads to the Martinsville Speedway for a doubleheader with
the K&N East Series on Sunday, June 6th.
When David Hill and I talked last month at the
Icebreaker, David and his father, Roger, two of the modified stalwarts were
looking forward to the challenge of competing for twin NASCAR titles, the
Whelen modified tour and the Whelen Southern modified tour.
upbeat even though one of the races, at the Bristol Motor Speedway, was a
combination race but the Hill’s were informed by NASCAR that they would work
with the team to accomplish the goal, seeing they were the only team looking
to do the double double.
forward one month and suddenly the goal is out the window thanks to NASCAR.
When I asked Roger what happened, he shrugged his shoulders and in his slow,
southern drawl said, “I don’t know. They just told us they we had to choose
which series we were going to register with for that race.”
Here is a
car owner, who hails deep in the heart of the south and travels thousands of
miles every year to compete on the Whelen modified tour events up north and
then supports the southern modified series in their back yards and this is
the thanks that they get for all their hard work and efforts in supporting
James Civali in the northern modified tour hasn’t gotten off to a great
start, they are leading the southern tour with 20% of the schedule complete.
Roger if they planned on then entering as a southern team and Roger replied,
“I don’t know, because to win the championship doesn’t pay anything.”
I find it
interesting that when the Sprint Cup drivers, who show up in Nationwide
series races and steal money because racing there ‘is fun’, that NASCAR
would delay the start of Nationwide races to allow drivers who followed both
series ample time to get to different tracks when they weren’t companion
NASCAR is going to put there foot down on a modified tour team looking to
not only win two NASCAR championships BUT also spending the time and money
supporting both the NASCAR’s only open wheeled series.
worse is that while NASCAR never said they could, they never gave the team
any indication that they wouldn’t disallow it.
economy that is hurting fans, tracks and especially car owners, here was a
small slice of bread that NASCAR could have thrown out as a good will
gesture, seeing that neither tour is overfilling the pit area with modified
things change, the more they stay the same.