It doesn’t seem to matter what car Bobby Santos III is in, he finds a way to park it in Victory Lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The 34-year-old from Franklin, Massachusetts, put on a command performance at the “Magic Mile” Saturday to win the Musket 200 presented by Whelen for the second straight year.
— NASCAR Roots (@NASCARRoots) September 12, 2020
It is the sixth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship points win for Santos at the 1.058-mile track — seventh overall when you throw in the 2016 Whelen All-Star Shootout — and the third different car he’s won with. After success in the No. 44 for Tinio Racing, when he won four times plus the all-star race since 2014, he won last year’s extra-distance race during New Hampshire’s Full Throttle Fall Weekend driving the No. 36 substituting for injured driver Dave Sapienza.
“Unbelievable race car,” Santos said. “Unbelievable team. Just great people around me. That’s what it comes down to. … The team was impressive this weekend. Showing up with two race cars and the guys bouncing back and forth between the two cars. It was so impressive the way they worked together and did what they could to accommodate me and help me.”
This year, Sapienza is back, and he fielded the No. 63 Sapienza Enterprises Chevrolet for Santos, who was making his first tour start of the season.
And Santos made it look easy in collecting his 19th career tour win.
“I tried to bide our time through the beginning and put ourselves in position to be there at the end,” Santos said. “I was waiting for a yellow at any moment in those last 20 laps or so and it never came. So we just pushed as hard as we could.”
In its third running, this year’s race was 200 laps, compared to 250 in the first two editions. The race, though, featured 35 lead changes among eight drivers — on par with the 31 (2018) and 36 (2019) lead changes previously.
After trading the lead back-and-forth in the closing laps with Justin Bonsignore, Santos took advantage of Bonsignore and Ron Silk’s battle for second to pull away, leading the final 10 laps and winning .301 seconds.
Bonsignore settled for second, followed by Silk. Anthony Nocell was fourth and Craig Lutz fifth.
Andy Seuss, who won his first pole in qualifying Friday, finished sixth. Matt Swanson, Jon McKennedy, Doug Coby and Tyler Rypkema rounded out the top-10.
Bonsignore led a race-high 53 laps was able to stretch his championship points lead to 27 over Coby and 39 over McKennedy.
“He’s one of the greatest asphalt drivers in the country, hands down,” Bonsignore said. “And it just shows how good [Sapienza’s] whole team is that they can come here with two cars and be able to perform like that. It was a lot of fun battling back and forth. That’s how it’s supposed to be. I just came up a touch short.”
The win netted Santos $20,000, the largest winner’s purse for the Whelen Modified Tour in its longest race. It’s the second big win in a row for Santos. He captured the historic Little 500, the prestigious sprint car race at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway, last weekend.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will run next at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 on Saturday, Sept. 26.
- Bobby Santos III
- Justin Bonsignore
- Ron Silk
- Anthony Nocella
- Craig Lutz
- Andy Seuss
- Matt Swanson
- Jon McKennedy
- Doug Coby
- Tyler Rypkema
- Patrick Emerling
- Sam Rameau
- Chris Pasteryak
- Gary Putnam
- Chase Dowling
- J.B. Fortin
- Calvin Carroll
- Chuck Hossfeld
- Eric Goodale
- Dave Sapienza
- Bryan Dauzat
- Timmy Catalano
- Walter Sutcliffe Jr.
- Tommy Catalano
- Joey Cipriano III
- Rob Summers
- Amy Catalano
- Ronnie Williams
- Woody Pitkat
- Melissa Fifield
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