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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




After finishing second in last year’s CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler, Bobby Santos, III is looking to capture his first Sizzler victory and give car owner Bob Garbarino his second victory in the longest continuous running event on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule. Santos made his debut Sizzler effort in the #4 Mystic Missile Santos memorable, as he set a track record in Coors Light Pole Qualifying, becoming the first Whelen Modified Tour driver to break the 18-second barrier at Stafford. Santos then continued his good luck streak by redrawing the pole position. When the green flag came out, Santos led the first 54 laps of the race before spinning in turn 3 on lap-55 while navigating lapped traffic. Santos fell deep in the field, but he worked his way back through traffic to finish second behind Christopher in a green-white-checkered finish.

“At the time it was disappointing, but looking back now, the end result was a great second place finish,” said Santos. “It was a great weekend for the team. We set a track record and won the pole and we led the race for a while before we had the problem with the lap car. The spin with the lap car messed up the rear end of the car a little bit, so it didn’t handle as good in the second half of the race as it did in the first half. I think that Teddy [Christopher] had the stronger car at the end of the race, but who’s to say what would have happened. After the race was over and we saw the rear end of the car, we were happy to have finished second.”

After his second place finish in last year’s CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler, Santos knows what it will take for another good finish in this year ’s version of “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring.”

“I think the big thing is the pit strategy,” said Santos. “We run the car pretty much the same way for the Sizzler as the other Stafford races and see how the race plays out. We got thrown off of our pit strategy last year, but then we ended up pitting with all the lead cars anyways, so we didn’t get hurt that bad.”

The CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler wasn’t the only Stafford race that Santos was successful in. Santos practically made Stafford his playground during the 2010 season, scoring 2 pole positions, 2 wins, and a second place finish in four Whelen Modified Tour stops. The only thing that slowed Santos at Stafford last season was a blown engine in the August Town Fair Tire 150 that relegated him to a 23rd place finish. Santos also has 2 NEMA Midget wins at Stafford and in 2006, he walked away from Stafford with a $50,000 bonus from CARQUEST and Valvoline by winning the Midget and PRA Big Car races as part of CARQUEST Presents The Big One. Santos is looking for more of the same when the Tour makes its four stops to Stafford in 2011.

“Stafford is a track that I love going to, it’s close to home for me, and I’ve had a lot of fun times at Stafford,” said Santos. “I think that Stafford is a unique track and having experience at Stafford definitely helps out at the end of the race. But there are a lot of guys on Tour who have experience at Stafford like Teddy [Christopher] and [Mike] Stefanik.”

Santos will return to Stafford with the same car and crew that helped carry him to three wins in the first four races of the 2010 season and ultimately the 2010 Whelen Modified Tour championship. With a year of working together, Santos feels confident that the Mystic Missile team can be every bit as good as they were last season and better.

“I’m pretty excited that everyone from last year is coming back this year,” said Santos. “They’re all awesome guys and I think that with a year together, we are only going to grow as a team and be even better this year than we were last year. It is a great team and they had won races and championships before, so I don’t think it was surprising that we ran so well, but I think it was surprising how hot we were at the beginning of the season. We would like to be able to compete again for the championship this season, and I’d like to win more races this year than I did last year. We won 4 races last year, but with the talent on the tour this year, that’s going to be hard to do. Once you win the championship once, you don’t want anything else than to win the championship again.”

Santos and the Whelen Modified Tour teams hit the track for the first time on Saturday, April 30 with practice and Time Trials and the 200-lap race will be on Sunday, May 1st. Joining the Whelen Modified Tour as part of the 40th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler will be Stafford's five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions. Tickets for the "Greatest Race in the History of Spring" are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $35.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $38.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.

For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at
860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

  Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: February 12, 2011

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