By Jason Christley, NASCAR
June 6, 2010 - 4:29pm
MARTINSVILLE , Va. (June 6, 2010) – Bobby Santos' dream season continued Sunday at Martinsville Speedway as he captured the checkered flag in the Made In America Whelen 200.
Santos pulled away from the field on a green-white-checkered finish to claim his third win in four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races to start the 2010 season.
"We had a really exciting day," said Santos, who led 38 laps and picked up the Whelen Winner of the Race Award. "We just did our job. We're sitting in Victory Lane because we didn't make mistakes. I think that's the biggest difference right now. We're not making mistakes and we need to keep it that way."
The race was extended to 204 laps by a late-race caution for a single-car spin.
Sunoco Rookie of the Race Justin Bonsignore had a career-best second-place finish, followed by Todd Szegedy. Mike Stefanik, the defending race winner, settled for fourth. Stefanik, who won the Coors Light Pole Award Saturday, lined up on the outside of the front row on the final restart but was shuffled back on the final two laps. Burt Myers finished fifth.
The 24-year-old Santos, from Franklin, Mass., entered the season with one career win in 29 Tour starts and had never run a full season. Late in the offseason, he was picked to replace defending champion Donny Lia in the No. 4 "Mystic Missile" Dodge when Lia departed to run in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Santos has responded with three Coors Light Pole Awards and three wins.
"We knew the competition was going to step up. We were very good - spot on - at Stafford and Thompson, and we knew we weren't going to be spot on all year," Santos said. "And we knew guys like Stefanik and other guys that were really fast were going to hit it today.
"But we were confident we have a good team, a good car, and that we were going to run good."
Szegedy came back from three laps down caused by a flat right front tire
"We came back through the pack, playing defense and avoiding all of the wrecks, and got lucky on some of the restarts we had," said Szegedy of his fourth top-five finish of the season."
The race was slowed 18 times for 119 laps.
"Everybody was just driving in over their heads. Every lap," said Szegedy. "It was hot, we got agitated. What are you going to do? None of us are perfect. Neither am I. I do the same stuff sometimes."
Bonsignore also rallied back after losing a lap on a slow pit stop early in the race
"We just avoided the wrecks the whole time," Bonsignore said. "We had a good restart time every time. It always went."
James Civali, Eric Beers, Woody Pitkat, Richie Pallai Jr. and Wade Cole rounded out the top 10.
Ron Silk appeared to have a car to challenge Santos. However, he pulled off the track while leading under caution on Lap 174 and ran out of gas on pit lane.
Silk wasn't the only fast car to encounter issues. Ted Christopher started on point following post-qualifying redraw of the top 10 spots and led 43 of the first 91 laps before being sidelined by an oil line leak. Ryan Preece led a race-high 48 laps before mechanical issues cost him several laps while they were being fixed on pit road. Pitkat picked up the bonus money provided by Clarence's Steak House Mid-Race Leader Award and was out front for 45 laps. However, he ended up fading back to eighth. He did earn the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award after starting 31st.
Civali, who was 27th in the previous race at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway on May 28, collected the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award.
With the victory, Santos has opened up a 89-point lead over Stefanik (735-746). Szegedy is third at 640 followed by Christopher (591) and Preece (554). Bonsignore, Jimmy Blewett, Richie Pallai Jr., Erick Rudolph and Silk complete the top 10.
Santos finished second in the race he did not win. He is the first driver in Tour history to win three of the first four races. Mike Stefanik (1997 and '98) and Donny Lia (2007) each had four wins in the season's first six races.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track Saturday, June 26 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where the No. 4 team has won the last three spring races with two different driver .
|1||4||4||Bobby Santos||"Mystic Missile" Dodge||204||185||5||$7,000||Running|
|2||16||51||Justin Bonsignore *||M3 Technology Chevrolet||204||170||3,800||Running|
|3||10||2||Todd Szegedy||UNOH/Wisk/Snuggle Ford||204||165||3,000||Running|
|4||9||16||Mike Stefanik||Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Pontiac||204||160||4,100||Running|
|5||23||1||Burt Myers||Capital Bank/Patterson's Brand Ford||204||155||1,950||Running|
|6||28||79||James Civali||Hill Enterprises/Coors Light Pontiac||204||150||2,900||Running|
|7||3||76||Eric Beers||Horwith Freightliner Chevrolet||204||146||2,200||Running|
|8||31||28||Woody Pitkat||Ramar-Hall/Goodridge Performance Chevrolet||204||147||5||4,350||Running|
|9||24||39||Richie Pallai, Jr. *||Bosch Spark Plugs Chevrolet||204||138||2,000||Running|
|10||29||33||Wade Cole||Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan's Oil Chevrolet||204||134||1,900||Running|
|11||20||74||Jason Myers||Capital Bank/Trantham & Moorefield Ford||204||130||1,400||Running|
|12||1||40||Frank Fleming||AutosByNelson.com/Jerry Hunt Autos Ford||204||127||1,300||Running|
|13||30||15||Danny Knoll, Jr.||HJ Motorsports Chevrolet||204||124||1,200||Running|
|14||35||38||Jake Marosz||Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan's Oil Chevrolet||200||121||1,100||Running|
|15||8||6||Ron Silk||T.S. Haulers Chevrolet||198||123||5||1,575||Fuel Pump|
|16||6||3||Ryan Preece||Mizzy Const./Reynold's Auto Wrkg. Chevrolet||197||125||10||1,550||Running|
|17||17||50||Kevin Goodale||Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet||190||112||1,425||Clutch|
|18||2||36||Ted Christopher||Al-Lee Installations Chevrolet||189||114||5||1,500||Running|
|19||33||68||Johnny Bush||J.B. Stone Setters Chevrolet||173||106||1,400||Running|
|20||5||70||Andy Seuss||Stuart's Auto/Rockingham Boats Chevrolet||171||103||1,400||Accident|
|21||27||30||L.W. Miller||John Baker Plumbing & Utilities Pontiac||162||100||1,000||Power Steering|
|22||15||52||Chris Pasteryak||Dawley's Auto Center/Sunoco Chevrolet||161||97||1,400||Accident|
|23||14||10||Ed Flemke, Jr.||Ron Bouchard's Auto Stores Chevrolet||161||94||1,400||Accident|
|24||21||58||Eric Goodale||JT's Lumber/Perimeters for the Home Chevrolet||160||91||1,600||Accident|
|25||11||59||Chuck Hossfeld||Jerry Gradl Motors Chevrolet||142||88||1,400||Transmission|
|26||19||90||Renee Dupuis||Union Insurance Group/SFI Chevrolet||132||85||1,400||Running|
|27||12||98||Erick Rudolph||H.D. Segur Ins./Original Pizza Logs Chevrolet||126||82||1,500||Accident|
|28||36||97||Bryan Dauzat||O.B. Builders Chevrolet||108||79||1,000||Accident|
|29||7||46||George Brunnhoelzl, III||Cape Cod Aggregates/Sunoco Chevrolet||106||76||1,400||Running|
|30||26||14||Jimmy Blewett||Ling Trucking/Atlantic Sprinkler Chevrolet||100||73||1,500||Accident|
|31||18||71||Rob Fuller||Draco Spring Ford||91||70||1,000||Suspension|
|32||13||93||Rowan Pennink||Monk Mechanics Hand Cleaner Chevrolet||72||67||1,500||Engine|
|33||25||99||Jamie Tomaino||Supreme Manufacturing Chevrolet||47||64||1,000||Oil Leak|
|34||34||26||Gary McDonald||Lakeland Landscape/TRC Electric Chevrolet||43||61||1,000||Power Steering|
|35||37||98||Jonny Kievman||A Best Forklift Chevrolet||33||58||1,000||Accident|
|36||32||8||Glenn Tyler||Sypher Construction Chevrolet||29||55||400||Accident|
|37||22||11||Zach Brewer||Phoenix Pre-Owned/Triad Auto Sales Chevrolet||27||52||0||Fuel Pump|
Fastest Qualifier: Mike Stefanik Time: 19.053 Seconds Speed: 99.386 mph
Time of Race: 2 hrs., 1 mins, 40 secs Average Speed: 52.917 mph Margin of Victory: 0.207 Seconds
Caution Flags: Laps 1-10; 25-30; 33-37; 47-52; 59-63; 84-92; 94-99; 100-108; 109-115; 120-125; 126-133; 140-145; 148-151; 152-157; 161-169; 171-178; 182-185; 198-202. 18 for 119 laps.
Lap Leaders: Ted Christopher 1-37, Ryan Preece 38-85, Ted Christopher 86-91, Woody Pitkat 92-136, Bobby Santos 137-144, Ron Silk 145-174, Bobby Santos 175-204.
Total Laps Led: Ryan Preece 48, Woody Pitkat 45, Ted Christopher 43, Bobby Santos 38, Ron Silk 30. 6 changes involving 5 drivers.
CLARENCE'S STEAK HOUSE MID-RACE LEADER AWARD: Woody Pitkat, 28 Ramar-Hall/Goodridge Performance Chevrolet
COCA-COLA MOVE OF THE RACE AWARD: Woody Pitkat, 28 Ramar-Hall/Goodridge Performance Chevrolet
COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Mike Stefanik, 16 Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Pontiac
FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER AWARD: James Civali, 79 Hill Enterprises/Coors Light Pontiac
SPARKS OIL/SUNOCO POLE AWARD: Mike Stefanik, 16 Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Pontiac
SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE RACE AWARD: Justin Bonsignore *, 51 M3 Technology Chevrolet
WHELEN WINNER OF THE RACE AWARD: Bobby Santos, 4 "Mystic Missile" Dodge