Forty-Fortunate: Bobby Santos III Grabs Whelen Mod Tour All-Star Shootout Win At NHMS

Bobby Santos III celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour All-Star Shootout Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: (Photo: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Bobby Santos III celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour All-Star Shootout Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: (Photo: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

LOUDON, N.H. – It’s a common cliché in racing no matter the preparation, the equipment, the talent, luck can often be the biggest factor on the track.

If Friday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour All-Star Shootout was a numbers game that lucky number would have been a four.

Fourth place, fourth turn, No. 44. In the lottery that was the final lap, it was Bobby Santos III that proved the fortuitous celebrator.

With leaders Woody Pitkat and Todd Szegedy spinning in front of him in the final corner of the final lap, Santos weaved through the carnage to win the 35-lap Whelen All-Star Shootout Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It was the first victory in the three-year history event for the Franklin, Mass. driver.

“I kind of got a little lucky,” Santos said. “Right place, right time.”

Eric Goodale of Riverhead, N.Y. was second and Ron Silk of Norwalk third.

Pitkat, and his car owner Kevin Stuart, were left seething over the final lap contact from Szegedy that knocked Pitkat out of the lead. Szegedy drove full-time for Stuart with the Valenti Modified Racing Series in 2014 and has driven part-time for him the last two years.

“It’s just unfortunate, I hate it more for my team than anything because we’ve worked so hard,” Pitkat said. “Todd’s raced with these guys before, he raced for them a month ago, he knows the struggles that they’ve gone through. It’s just an open race. It wasn’t for points or nothing so I can understand, but why even take that chance?”

Stuart said he was “disgusted” by Szegedy’s move to go under Pitkat on the final lap in turn three.

“I’m very surprised that he did that,” Stuart said. “Todd is a better driver than that. He has more talent that. I don’t know what he was trying to prove. He had nothing to prove. We had two good cars, first and second. It didn’t matter to me which one was first or which one was second, they’re both my boys basically. I don’t know. He could have gone to the outside. You can’t race on the bottom here on the flats. I’m just disgusted by it.”

Said Szegedy: “We got into each other going into [turn] three. He blocked me, that’s what you do when you’re the leader. I drove it in there and I caught him in the nerf bar and it blew my tire and I just went straight into him when the tire blew. I don’t race to finish second. I always try to win. It’s just the way it is. We’re here to race. We’re all friends, we’ll be fine.”

The bulk of the event saw Pitkat and Szegedy swapping the lead at the front of the field. The event had a pre-planned caution at lap 20 and the top-six were inverted for the restart to run the final 15 laps.

When the planned caution flew Szegedy was leading with Santos in second and Pitkat third. A random draw set the six-car invert for the restart, putting Ryan Preece to the front with Goodale second.

In two laps Pitkat quickly went from fourth to the lead with Szegedy moving to third behind Preece on lap 22 and then to second behind Pitkat a lap later.

Szegedy went by Pitkat for the lead on lap 25, with Santos moving second on lap 25. On lap 27 Pitkat went by Santos for second in turn one. He made a bid to go by Szegedy in turn three, but nearly got shuffled back before fighting back to second.

On lap 31 Pitkat used a move in turn one to go by Szegedy for the lead. Goodale moved to third past Santos on lap 33.

On the final lap Szegedy made a move to get under Pitkat going into turn three, pulling up alongside of him as they rolled through the corner. Szegedy came up the track and got into the side of Pitkat sending both cars spinning.

“I think he got down in there and clipped the apron and had nowhere to go and came up and clipped me in the left rear,” Pitkat said. “He had nowhere to go. Two years ago when we were here I did the same thing. I protected the bottom, blocked the bottom, and he even said after the race that I did what I had to do to win the race and he had nowhere to go. He could have went to the outside. Last year Ryan [Preece] went to the bottom and blocked the bottom and I went to the outside and went around him on the outside. He could have went to the outside and he chose not to. If that’s how we wants to race I’ll remember that and just put it in the memory bank.”

Behind them Goodale split the hole between the spinning leaders, but it was Santos who carried more momentum off the low lane out of the final turn to grab the lead from Goodale coming to the checkered and take the victory.

“It was just a racing deal,” Goodale said. “They were just racing hard. I couldn’t really tell who made contact with who. I was just really focused on trying to get around them if and when something did happen. I just got out of the throttle for too long. I just couldn’t get back [to the throttle] because [Pitkat] was sliding in the middle of the track.”

Said Santos: “I kind of checked up a little bit when I saw [Pitkat] come up the track and [Goodale] just checked up more and I just filled the hole.”

It was the first event together for Santos and his new crew chief Ryan Stone with the Tinio Motorsports team.

“I just have to thank Ryan,” Santos said. “He worked so hard to make this happen. The expectations were high for all of us. We put ourselves in the right place at the right time to win the race.”

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Comments

  1. Go STONE !

  2. Say what you want but I am here at the track. That 15 car is BAD fast boys!

  3. Bad fast should have gone around him if he was that fast not take out the leader

  4. He needs a complete right front suspension. Looks like he harpooned Woody. I hope Woodys tube is straight.

  5. Just my thoughts... says:

    Szegedy has always been a driver I respected over the years, talented but yet always raced clean, sometimes too clean. Well that all changed today, I could not believe my eyes, Szegedy has raced Loudon for many years and is aware that you cannot send it in there on the apron and expect that all is going to come out fine. I have to wonder if this brain fade Szegedy had today had anything to do with his car owner “Coaching” him on the radio? Anyone that has attended the Mod Tour races at Loudon over the years knows that Rob Fuller the driver was good at one thing at Loudon, and that was wrecking, most of the time only a few laps in! I certainly hope Szegedy is not taking driving tips from his owner, trust me Todd you know how to drive, you do not need any tips from your owner. Another media outlet got to interview Todd before racedayct, in that article Szegedy states, “we took him out”, I have to wonder, who is we? Did you have someone else in the car with you? Or did you mean that voice of your car owner screaming in your ear, maybe it seemed like he was in the car with you. It appears by you using the term “We” that you do not want to take full responsibility for that “bone-head” move which I can’t blame you for that. What I saw today was not the Todd Szegedy I have watched for many years, but is a page right out of Rob Fullers book, always making some stupid move and wrecking, sometimes just himself, sometimes others getting caught up in his wrecks. Szegedy states in this article, “We’re all friends, we’ll be fine”, you do remember Todd that once you get on the track you have no friends, and if you did have any, you probably have less after today. Do yourself a favor, tell your Car owner/Spotter to leave the driving to you, you are much better at it than he is and remember, do to others only what you want done to you. Not so sure this Szegedy/Fuller “marriage”is a good fit, but time will tell. And Billy, I was also at the track, if the 15 is so “BAD fast” why didn’t he go to the outside and drive that “BAD fast 15 car right by the 85 car? You do remember that the 88 won the race last year going to the outside, but you also must know the fastest car does not always win the race! Good Luck to all drivers on Saturday. Again, Just my thoughts…

  6. NH Mark says:

    Todd got aggressive in the win with the 4 team last year as well. He was the bridesmaid for too many yrs. I like his new style to be honest. All that said, he cut a tire down and couldn’t stay off if Woody. We see a lot of this off of turn four coming to the checkers at Loudon. Remember when Todd had four tires up on the fence a few yrs ago at the line? Guys are always going to go for it at NHMS.

  7. Bill Realist says:

    If he went to the outside Woody would have ran him right up into the wall. Nobody out there blocks as bad as that guy.

  8. Just my thoughts... says:

    Well Bill Realist, I saw Szegedy run on the outside of Pitkat today and did not see Pitkat run him up to the wall, if I was Pitkat I would have put him in the wall, but I am not in the drivers seat. Haters gonna hate, never seen Pitkat run anyone up to wall, except maybe in your dreams! I have seen Coby do it many times. NH Mark, you may like his new style of driving, however when you are a one car team you need to use your brain if you are planning on running the race the next day. Never a factor today, which he could have been if he kept his car in one piece yesterday. Again, Just my thoughts…

  9. Szegedy has gotten a bit more [ahem] assertive the past couple seasons. May have led to this incident. But it’s the last lap… gloves come off.

  10. Just my thoughts must have a degree in knowing whats inside someone’s head and then constructing a fairy tale out of it

  11. Just my thoughts, here are just the facts. The spotter in that 15 car was Eddie D’Hondt. He’s a good friend of mine and did all of the talking on the radio. If you think the car owner wanted his car wrecked and had some kind of input on that move you need professional help. I have seen a lot of races at Stafford when someone tries passing Woody on the outside. It has never resulted in a pass. It usually ends up with a car in the marbles up against the wall. I sat on a hauler for each practice and watched both races from the stands. Both of those drivers are talented for sure. I saw Todd make a bottom shot move and his tire go flat. That’s it. Half the field would have made the same move in that situation. It was a great race to watch and with my new scanner it was even better to listen to these drivers during the race. Stop trying to cause drama and appreciate the sport for what it is. The best racing in NASCAR.

  12. Just my thoughts... says:

    Billy, The only one in need of professional help is you, and not just one professional! You were watching the race from the stands, the incident happened in turn 3, so you think you know what happened, did you bother to watch the video of it? You claim you saw Todd make a bottom shot move and his tire went flat, he was on the apron and his tire went flat after he hit Woody! You say half the field would have made this same move in that situation, I don’t believe too many drivers are dumb enough to try and make a bottom shot move on the apron, Woody went to the outside last year in that same situation and won the race. Say what you want about Woody and Stafford, again don’t know what races you are watching, he didn’t get to second on the all time win list in the SK mods by putting others in the wall every week. Did your BAD fast 15 car show up at Loudon with a 2 man pit crew again? They had 3 hrs. on Friday and 3hrs. on Saturday to fix the car and still could not make time trials? Would not be the first time Rob Fuller showed up at a big race with a couple crew guys, just ask others who have raced for him, Silk, Santos, Corey LaJoie to name a few. I am not trying to cause drama, I think the Modifieds are the best race of the weekend at Loudon, Sometimes drivers screw up and when they do they should man up and admit it! Sometimes the truth hurts, if you are offended by my comments, too bad I have a right to give my opinion too! Again, Just my thoughts…

  13. Old Timer says:

    At just my thoughts…, I normally don’t respond to these types of communications, but because of some your comments I feel you need to know the facts.

    Did your BAD fast 15 car show up at Loudon with a 2 man pit crew again?
    We, yes we, as I’m part of the crew, have never had only two crew members at a race. At Loudon we had our crew of 5 and the help of LFR Driver Development K&N crew.

    They had 3 hrs. on Friday and 3hrs. on Saturday to fix the car and still could not make time trials?
    Did you know that the Modifieds and the K&N teams had to share the same paddock area? The K&N teams took over the Modified space after the All Star race. We only had time to make minimal fixes, fixing and replacing tin work, new nerf bar and an upper A frame and Spring & Shock. No 3 hours as you mentioned. Gates opened on Saturday at 6:30 and by the time the cars were unloaded it was 6:50 with an inspection time at 7:30. When we went to scale the car, we found numerous other issues which included a bent rear end that had to be replaced and other right front suspension parts that needed to be replaced, then rescale the car and check the toe and tread width. So again, we didn’t have 3 hours to get ready for inspection.

    The only time Rob was on the radio was to ask about water and oil temps.

    Anyone that has attended the Mod Tour races at Loudon over the years knows that Rob Fuller the driver was good at one thing at Loudon, and that was wrecking, most of the time only a few laps in!
    7/14/12 – Rob Fuller diver – Finished 17th
    9/22/12 – Rob Fuller diver – Finished last, the left rear nerf bar was damaged and couldn’t be replaced
    7/13/13 – Rob Fuller diver – Finished 23rd Oil Leak
    9/20/14 – Rob Fuller diver – Finished 21st
    7/12/14 – Todd Szegedy diver – Finished 22nd, engine failure
    9/20/14 – Todd Szegedy diver – Finished 2nd
    7/15/15 – Ron Silk diver – Finished 5th
    9/26/15 – Ron Silk diver – Finished 4th

    As far as the incident in 3 & 4, as I looked at the replay, Todd stayed on the line until the right front blew. If you look at the picture of Woody’s left rear, the back nerf bar wasn’t damaged at all, so you can’t say the flat was cause by Todd hitting Woody’s nerf bar. If you really look at the video, Todd went to the outside before getting into 3 and Woody pulled up in front of Todd. Just as Woody pulled up, Todd dove to the bottom, and Woody then dove down to protect the spot.

  14. Just my thoughts... says:

    Old Timer, Don’t know how old you think I am, but I have been attending races since the 1970’s. I have followed the mods before there was a WMT, point is I have seen my share of modifieds and been involved with various teams. You want to state the FACTS to me, well in the first place, I do not think Rob Fuller, Silk or Szegedy are “divers” as you state, drivers would be a fact! I was at each and every race that you have listed, and I know that white car with the purple lettering, #17 spun out at least once in every race he was in, if you think that Rob Fullers stats are anything to brag about, take a second look. Silk and Szegedy are both talented drivers and have had better results than Rob Fuller. It is clear that you are a LFR fan, I am a Troyer guy, always have been, always will be. I do know that Rob Fuller throws alot of BS around and do not care for him personally, although his uncles Rick and Jeff were very successful drivers. My posts are just my thoughts, you and Billy seem to want to school me on the so called “facts”, if we were to believe Billy’s post, Eddie D’Hondt, the spotter was “in” the 15 car, don’t think NASCAR would allow that, but then again who knows, it was Todd Szegedy that said in his interview with another racing site, “we took him out”. And I will say that is a fact, read it with my own eyes. The 2 car is very successful due to Phil Moran’s expertise, Lia in the 8 is getting better, I believe Don Barker is guiding that team this season, so I will give credit to him. The 44 team has Ryan Stone now so there season is looking better and better. No need to school me on the so called “facts”, I respect your right to give your opinion, but also have a right to give mine. Again, Just my thoughts…

  15. Throws BS around? Your a funny guy bud. Look at the “new Troyer body.” Look familiar? It’s From the guy you don’t care about personally and probably never spoke to. What about the new TA1 sway bar set up? That look familiar as well? These facts were pointed out to me at Loudon. The only BS thrown is from those “new” designs that were a direct copy of another manufactures ideas. That is real BS to me. I walked over to the 15 car several times to talk with Rob (he does not know me but I wanted to speak with him about his sponsor being a cancer survivor) and he was non stop working on that car. The guy never stopped working. Why don’t you get to know someone before you bash them personally. This just shows your competency level. Bottom line is LFR is kicking everyone’s behind in a big way. You can look for people to give credit to but in most people eyes one guy deserves it. You can like him or not but I’m thinking someone like Rob really won’t care if you do or not. just my opinion. Racing is built on winning and that’s what they are doing.

  16. Just my thoughts... says:

    Okay Billy, Where were those BAD fast LFR cars at Monadnock, two in the top 10? If you want to believe that Rob Fuller is responsible for Coby’s success with the 2 team, you go right ahead and keep living your pipe dream! I’ve said it before and I will repeat in case you have forgotten, Phil Moran is the brains behind the 2 team, not Rob Fuller. I know all I need to know about Rob Fuller and have seen and heard all I need to from him and I am not a fan. I am certain he his not a fan of mine, but I could care less. I hope you watched the replay of the All Star Race tonight, you state in one of your posts, that your friend Eddie was the spotter and did all the talking on the radio, if I think Rob Fuller had any kind of input on that move, that I need professional help! Well if you were watching the replay I am certain you heard the announcers say that Rob came on the radio and told Todd he was going to have to go low to get by Pitkat! So much for Rob Fuller not being on the radio! They also stated Todd went below the yellow line and there is no grip down there with no rubber and it shot him up into Pitkat! And Old Timer, I hope you watched also, your version of what went on going into turn 3 on the last lap just got blown right out the window! Lastly, would the new Todd Szegedy please SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP! Your comments on TV and in AARN make you sound like a complete moron! If that is how you think you are going to win races, you better think about it and better have Rob bring a back up car. Perhaps you Todd are in need of the professional help Billy feels I am in need of! Again just my thoughts… with a few facts thrown in tonite, courtesy of NBCSN.

  17. Ok then I just have one question. Why only 1 win and not 1 pole in 2014 for this super crew? Just asking. They are by far the bast out there I agree but man we are all sitting here reading your garbage and the pink elephant in the room is begging to hear this answer. If LFR didn’t exist neither would there dominating 2 years. Game set match. You will try to BS yourself into some reason I’m sure. This will be good.

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