THOMPSON, Conn. – Defending Sunoco World Series 150 presented by Xtra Mart winner Bobby Santos is in position to make it two-in-a-row after taking home the Coors Light Pole Award in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour qualifying Saturday at Thompson Speedway.
Santos, from nearby Franklin, Mass., had another strong qualifying run at his home track in advance of Sunday’s season finale. Santos powered the No. 44 Tinio Racing/Brendan Kelly Music Chevrolet to a fast lap of 18.712 seconds (120.244 mph) around the .625-mile oval for his fifth Coors Light Pole of the season, and 13th of his career overall.
It also marked the fifth career Whelen Modified Tour pole that Santos has earned at Thompson, and the second in a row. He sat on the pole in the tour’s August event, a race that he went on to win.
Sunday’s season finale will see the front row consist of winners of the last three Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson as Mike Stefanik posted the second-fastest qualifying lap at 18.715 (120.224). Stefanik’s victory in the season opener was sandwiched by Santos’ recent Thompson triumphs.
Santos also won the 2007 Thompson World Series, which was the first of his now 10 career victories.
Rowan Pennink at 18.758 (119.944), Justin Bonsignore at 18.804 (119.655) and championship leader Ryan Preece at 18.822 (119.541) rounded out the top five qualifiers. Cole Powell, Matt Hirschman, Max Zachem, Rob Fuller and Donny Lia completed the top 10.
Preece – who paced Whelen Modified Tour practice earlier in the day – brings a 26-point lead to the Thompson finale on defending champion Doug Coby, who qualified 11th. Coby is looking to become the first repeat champion since 2004-05 while Preece could become the eighth different Whelen Modified Tour titlist in the last nine seasons.