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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




With the 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler just over a month away from taking the green flag, one driver who is looking forward to the race is Bobby Santos, III. In just a short amount of time, Santos is working his way towards becoming a Sizzler legend. In only five starts in "The Greatest Race in the History of Spring", Santos has 2 wins and a second place finish to go along with 2 DNF's. The DNF's came in Santos' first two Sizzler starts in 2004 and 2007 and he has been absolutely magical since then with his Sizzler performance.

Driving for the Bob Garbarino owned Mystic Missile team, Santos won the pole in 2010 and he led the first 54 laps of the race before contact with a lapped car sent him into a spin and he had to restart at the rear of the field. Santos charged his way back through the field but couldn't get by Ted Christopher in the final laps and had to settle for second place. In Santos's first Sizzler victory in 2011, he started third and led a race high 152 laps and after missing the 2012 Sizzler, Santos returned with the Sully Tino #44 team in 2013 and won the pole and led 197 of the 200 laps for his second career Sizzler victory.

"Definitely a big part of it is driving for good teams with good cars," said Santos. "But something about Stafford agrees with me really well. I do like the longer distance races, I think it suits my driving style a little more. The big races always get you a little more excited and the Sizzler is a race that everybody wants to win and win it as many times as you can."

Santos will return to this year's NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler with the same #44 Curb Records / Tino Corp. team and he has a good feeling about his chances of repeating his Sizzler victory of one year ago.

"I think we'll have a good shot at winning the race, this is our second full year together and our third year working together as a team, so we've learned a lot together," said Santos. "We were a new team when we first started out and last year they were building cars. This winter they've just had to fine tune what they have and I think we'll be really prepared for Stafford and the beginning of the season where we can make a run at winning some of the big races and the championship. We have some really good support from Curb Records, Simpson Race Products, K & N, and the big one is Sully Tinio and Tinio Corp. Billy the Kid is giving us some awesome motors and I think we'll be better off this year than we have been in the past and I think we'll have as good of a shot as anybody"

With wins in his last 2 Sizzler starts, Santos certainly knows what it will take to put his car into victory lane for a third time. While the weather is still a bit on the brisk side, Santos says that the weather won't really play a factor in his team's setup for the race. He also says that qualifying will still play a large part in winning the race although the race is 50-laps longer than a normal Whelen Modified Tour event.

"Pretty much the biggest thing will be how much rubber gets down on the track," said Santos. "It's normal for the Sizzler to be a little cooler than what it typically is at Stafford and everyone is so experienced at Stafford that I think everyone is used to the weather. I think qualifying will still be as important as it normally is. A couple years ago, I got spun early in the race while leading and we came back to get second but we lost our track position. I would definitely rather have track position than not to have it. Qualifying up front is a good thing but it's not an end all if you don't qualify well. I think a one, three-tire stop around halfway would be my guess to the winning strategy. But if you're not as fast as you think you can be you can pit early and try to hold everyone off or you can pit late. I think it's harder to plan strategy when you do have a fast car because the pressure is on to make the right decision and even if you make the right decision people are going to do the opposite of what you do since you're the fast car."

Santos will begin his quest for a second consecutive NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler victory with the run for the Coors Light Pole position getting underway on Saturday, April 26 along with heat and consolation races for Stafford's weekly divisions. In the 34 Spring Sizzler events run since 1980, the fast qualifier has gone on to win the race only 8 times, but Santos was one of those drivers with his victory last season. Saturday will conclude with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions as well as a feature event for the Northeast Mini Stocks. The Sizzler concludes on Sunday, April 27 with the famous NAPA Auto Parts Pit Party followed by Stafford's SK Modifieds® and Late Models joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action.

Tickets for the "Greatest Race in the History of Spring" are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 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 $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.

For more information on the 43rd annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, 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: March 21, 2014

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