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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Tinio Race Team Captures Second 2014 NWMT Victory
at Waterford Speedbowl
Polly Reid / Denise DuPont

Bobby Santos of Franklin, MA in the Tinio Racing/Imperialcars.com modified held off a determined field including Coors Light pole winner Donny Lia and Ted Christopher in a green white checker finale to score his second win of the season in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Mr. Rooter 161 at Waterford Speedbowl.

“We just had a great car,” said Santos in victory lane. “Stevie Lemay, this whole team, they gave me an awesome race car. I have to thank everyone who put this show on, Mr. Rooter, everybody involved- it was a lot of fun tonight.”

Santos started the Mr. Rooter “161” on the outside of pole winner Donny Lia followed by Eric Goodale, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore the top five. The 28 car field quickly settled into a green flag run with only one quick yellow until lap 65 for a single car caution- it was under this yellow that the red flag came out for an incident in the pits- two cars got together and a crew member from another team was reported to have a minor injury. However, NASCAR Officials held the field under red for a lengthy cleanup for fluid on the track. Ted Christopher pitted along with several other cars including Keith Rocco and Ron Yuhas, Jr.

The field came back to green at the half way point, Lia leading Santos, Ron Silk, Woody Pitkat, Justin Bonsignore, Tommy Barrett, Doug Coby and Matt Hirschman the top runners. Yellow then waved on lap 88 for Hirschman who suffered a right front flat, closing up the field once again. Doug Coby saw his night change when caught up in a turn one incident forcing the Dunleavy Repair machine to restart on lap 116 from the back.

With 31 to go, eyes were glued to Lia and Santos as the duo raced bumper to bumper. Santos continued to challenge for the lead and making a determined move, drove low going into to turn three and emerged out of turn four the new leader of the night on lap 133. “I was working the outside of him, showing him the outside - showing him the outside,” repeated Santos describing the pass. “Just saving it for the right time when I had the right run, to give him a run on the bottom.” Meanwhile Barrett took over second place, Lia slipped to third and Christopher was now a solid fifth.

Another caution on lap 145 for an incident in turn three involving Ron Silk and Timmy Solomito turned to a quick red flag as track officials worked to free Silk’s bumper from the Armco barrier.

The restart with 8 to go set up a dash for the checkers Santos leading Barrett, Lia, Pitkat and Christopher was suddenly short lived when Barrett suffered a right front flat on the restart and contact with the turn one outside wall ending the night for the rookie contender.

The track cleared, the Mr. Rooter “161” was now going into overtime setting up for a green, white, checker finish - Santos, Lia, Christopher, Bonsignore, Emerling, Preece and Pitkat leading the way.

The packed house at Waterford Speedbowl watched Santos remain solid on the restart capturing the checkers with Lia second, Christopher, Bonsignore and Emerling the top five. Ryan Preece crossed for sixth with Woody Pitkat, Keith Rocco, Ron Yuhas, Jr and Doug Coby rounding out the top ten.

It is the 12th career win for Santos, his first NWMT victory at Waterford. “It’s awesome,” said Bobby about his first NWMT Waterford win. “Stevie Lemay, Sully, all these guys, they work so hard to give me a great race car. I’m pumped- it’s exciting – I’ve got to thank them a lot.”

“The long runs, we had the best car. The short runs, I think Donnie was better. I felt like I got to him many times trying to race him clean, tried multiple times to pass him without any contact - I mean, he was leading the race and he didn’t want me to pass him. I mean I wouldn’t want anyone to pass me if I was leading the race. In my opinion, it was hard racing.”

“We’re excited about tonight’s win,” said Lawny Tinio speaking for car owner Sully Tinio. “It’s a tough race, tough to pass. We had a really fast car and a lot of times, it might look like it’s a rough race but we just had a fast car. Once we got around the leader we were able to check out and get it done.”

“The car was good in practice,” said winning crew chief Steve Lemay. “We went out on old tires then we went for a quick practice on new tires and the car never changed. For time trials, we were good, Bobby thinks he just over drove turn 3 a little bit, he thinks it cost us the pole but I don’t think it did, Donny was a little quicker than us in time trials. I told him if we have to give up the pole for the win, that’s what we’ll do- it just happened to have worked that way.”

“The car was good right from the start- I asked him a couple of times during the caution, he was real happy with the car.” Lemay continued, “We think we can have a real good season. The luck keeps coming and if we can give him a good car, he’ll drive this thing to the winners circle every time. It all worked out today and we’re all happy. Anytime you have to come to tech - first, fifth, it’s a good day. It’s always better when you win.”

“It’s not easy,” said Lawny Tinio about the efforts collecting a second win of 2014. “Off track, there are so many hours put in at the shop to make sure the car is right. Steve Lemay, our crew chief, spends countless nights working on the car making sure we’re 100 percent perfect so that when we come to the track, it’s an easier day at the track. Bobby makes it look easy but he’s so comfortable behind the wheel – there is just not much you can say, the kid is just unbelievable. Then with Billy the Kid giving us the motors that he gives us- he spends countless hours in his shop making sure that we have a perfect motor to get us around the track and make sure we have enough power to get the job done.”

Santos is looking forward to next Saturday’s NWMT event at Riverhead Raceway. “It’s the second time I’ll be back at Riverhead with this team and we always seem to do better the second time around, I can’t wait.”

Jericho, NY., modified driver Donny Lia captured his first 2014 pole at Waterford Speedbowl with an impressive time of 13.869. Lia was the only driver to break into the thirteen second range even though it did not meet the track record currently held by Jerry Marquis of 13.618. Continuing his fast pace Lia lead 130 laps of the 165 lap race. He did not lead the most important lap though - the final one.

On lap 133 Bobby Santos passed Lia for the top spot. Santos had conserved just enough for the end to pass and hold off Lia. “.I was going to make a run at Bobby there but he was real good at the end. We will see what happens going forward in the future.”

“I had fun. This is what I do for fun and this is my hobby and that is all that matters.” Lia confessed after the race had completed. “It was a good race. He was just a little better than us at the end and they did not get loose. But it was fun and that is all that matters.” And having fun with a pole and solid second place finish, the Mystic Missile Racing Team of Bob Garbarino can be proud of their efforts.

Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT. piloted the #13 J&R Pre-Cast/Cape Cod Aggregates modified of Robert Katon, Jr. from the rear of the pack after pitting to end the race in third. “We pitted, adjusted it, made it better and came from last while everybody kept going backwards.” Christopher stated. “The car ran good and like I said it is still a work in progress and each week we keep getting better and better.”

Christopher is happy with his team, the car and the progress that they have made so far this year. “I was happy enough to finish third. Considering what we have gone through. But it gets better every week. And you do not know until you keep trying. We will see what happens at Riverhead next week.”

Justin Bonsignore will return to his home turf the current NWMT point leader - his fourth place finish edging him by two over Doug Coby. “It’s cool and all but we’re only four races in. Obviously we want to be up there in the points, that’s the name of the game, but we’re not looking at that yet. We’d like to get through Riverhead and Loudon – let it play out, the summer months are going to be tough. The 2 is going to be the team to beat it looks like every race, we’re happy we’re up there but we’re not looking at it at all right now.”

“This has been a great start. We’ve made a lot of changes during the off season as everybody knows and it’s paying off.”

“At Stafford, we didn’t have restart that went our way tonight we did which got us back in contention – the last restart worked in our favor,” said Bonsignore. “That’s the game of racing, some days are going to go your way- some days they aren’t. We salvaged another top five – that’s four in a row – we didn’t have the best of cars, we were close, we’ll keep working at it – it’s all part of the gelling process. Ten more.”

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be at Riverhead Raceway next Saturday June 28th for the first of two visits this year to the fast New York speedway.

Notes from Waterford Speedbowl Mr. Rooter “161”:

What were your thoughts now that the race is over?

Bobby Santos

“Sully Tinio, Lawny, Daemon- those guys are awesome,” said Santos in victory lane. “How about Stevie Lemay with this chassis, this car has been on rails all year – the guys, they didn’t get to show their stuff because there was no pit stop but these guys doing the pit stops, I’ve got to thank them- Billy the Kid with the big horsepower, my family and my fans that are here, I just have to thank everybody.”

What were your thoughts on the action that took place during restarts?

Ted Christopher

“It was fun just watching them. The #44 is grinding the #22, then the #44 is grinding the #4’ I am thinking - like I might get another couple spots here if they keep doing this.”

Starting third on the last rest did you things you would have a chance?

Ted Christopher

“If they keep banging the way that they were I figured as they drive into turn one I will just drive underneath. I was just hanging in there and did not want to make any waves. I just let them do what they were doing. I was happy to finish third. It has been a work in progress right from the start so it was a good finish.”

Your thoughts on leaving Waterford?

Ted Christopher

“I like Riverhead so it will be fun then following we go to Loudon in three weeks. We have everything brand new for Loudon so it will be about when we get going good it should be fun. We will have a spec motor for Loudon. Everything is there it is just a matter of putting it in.”

Source: Polly Reid / Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 24, 2014

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