LOUDON, N.H. — Bobby Santos III is no stranger to parking his car in victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Saturday Santos did so for the sixth time.
This one, however, was the biggest of them all.
Santos, from Franklin, Mass., earned the win in the second annual Musket 250 presented by Whelen, taking car owner Dave Sapienza to victory lane for the first time.
It was the fifth points-paying win for Santos at NHMS, who also has a victory in the Whelen All-Star Shootout. It was also the 18th career Whelen Modified Tour win for the former series champion.
“Loudon is special for the modifieds, this is our Super Bowl,” Santos said. “Everyone brings their best here. To win this race, it makes it even more special. It’s just an honor to be in victory lane today.”
After receiving a hug and congratulations in victory lane from team owner Dave Sapienza, who injured his back in a race earlier this season, Santos was presented with a custom musket, Revolutionary War-era tricorn hat and a minuteman trophy from David McGrath, the executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The handmade flintlock musket was built by Edwin Parry of Black Hart Long Arms out of Eastford, Conn. Using a blend of tiger maple and brass, Parry hand engraved the Revolutionary War-style musket with the race logo, a checkered flag, the profile of the state of New Hampshire and a spot for Santos’s name.
Taking on its New England roots, the trophy is a replica of the Minuteman statue in Concord, Mass., weighing 30 pounds and measuring 32 inches tall.
In a wild 250 laps around the ‘Magic Mile’, countless drivers had the opportunity to lead the way. But when it mattered most, it was a battle between three modified veterans for the crown.
Santos, five-time series champion Doug Coby, and Jon McKennedy – who led a race-high 93 laps – were the three drivers at the front when the field crossed for the white flag. Off turn two, Coby drew even with Santos for the lead, edging ahead as they approached the entrance to turn three.
However, Santos drove deep into turn three, slid up, and held off Coby and McKennedy across the line, while the two behind him battled side-by-side for second.
McKennedy beat Coby to the line, but was .129 seconds behind Santos.
“It was a good run,” McKennedy said. “Tommy (Baldwin) and the guys gave me a great car. We led a lot of laps. Just one position short. As far as I’m concerned, Bobby is one of the best short-track drivers in the country.”
Before a crash racing for the lead, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore were dominating the late stages. The two drivers combined to lead laps 133-222, but when Silk and Eric Goodale split a lapped car, they made contact — ending both of their races early with damage.
Chuck Hossfeld, subbing for Jimmy Blewett, was fourth, while Bonsignore completed the top five. Matt Swanson was sixth, followed by Rob Summers, Chris Pasteryak, Gary Putnam and Craig Lutz.
Coby leads Bonsignore by 21 points with two championship points races remaining. Coby is looking for his sixth title, while Bonsignore is seeking his second straight.
Bobby Santos III, Jon McKennedy, Doug Coby, Chuck Hossfeld, Justin Bonsignore, Matt Swanson, Rob Summers, Chris Pasteryak, Gary Putnam, Craig Lutz, Calvin Carroll, Woody Pitkat, Timmy Solomito, Andy Seuss, Timmy Catalano, Wade Cole, Blake Barney, Sam Rameau, Burt Myers, J.B. Fortin, Eric Goodale, Ron Silk, Patrick Emerling, Mike Willis, Ken Heagy, Chase Dowling, Anthony Nocella, Dave Salzarulo, Tommy Catalano, Amy Catalano, Melissa Fifield, Joey Mucciacciaro, Walter Sutcliffe Jr., J.R. Bertuccio.