Maximum Drama: Bobby Santos III Uses Last Lap Pass To Win Whelen Mod Tour Thompson 125

Bobby Santos III celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 Wednesday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Michael Ivins/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Bobby Santos III celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 Wednesday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Michael Ivins/Getty Images for NASCAR)

THOMPSON – A threat to win at any NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour he showed up at. That was essentially the reputation Bobby Santos III has carried with him on the Whelen Modified Tour since winning the series title in 2010.

Though struggles since the start of the 2015 were beginning to mute that reputation somewhat.

Wednesday at Thompson Speedway that intimidating reputation returned, in dramatic fashion.

Santos, of Franklin, Mass., used a last lap pass of Max Zachem to win the Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway.

The victory snapped a 25-race winless streak for Santos, who had 12 victories with the series from 2010 to the middle of the 2014 season.

“It’s huge,” Santos said. “It’s not even the frustrations of the year, it’s the frustrations of all of last year. It’s been a long year and a half to finally get back here. But no one gave up, everybody continued to work hard as a team. It feels real good to finally win a race.”

Zachem, of Preston, finished second and 16-year old series rookie Matt Swanson of Acton, Mass. was third.

Santos recovered from going a lap down early in the event with tires issues.

“I was just racing aggressive the last half of that race,” Santos said. “Our misfortunate at the beginning of the race turned out to be a blessing. We didn’t give up. The guys gave me a good car. I’ve just got to thank the team for working hard at it.”

When most of the leaders pitted following a lap 77 caution, Zachem assumed the lead and looked ready over the closing stages to score his first career series victory.

Zachem chose the inside lane for launch on a lap 117 restart and was able to fend off the outside charges of Swanson, but a wreck the near the rear of the field set up the final restart on lap 123.

Santos was able to move past Swanson to second just after the restart and closed on Zachem on lap 124. On lap 125 Santos was able to get under Zachem into turn one and take over the lead out of turn two. A wreck near the back of the field had the caution flying with the checkered for Santos’ first victory since July 12, 2014 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“I was excited that I was in fourth and I was excited that Max decided to take the outside,” Santos said. “The restart before he took the bottom and I knew we still had a shot at it, but it was definitely a smart play on his part to take the inside knowing the faster cars were fourth, fifth and sixth. But then when he took the top on the last restart I said ‘Man, we definitely have got a shot at this thing.’ We just had to get a good restart and be behind him, get up in second and make a run at it. It wasn’t one of my prettier races, but I wanted to win really bad and we did what it took to win.”

“Tires,” Zachem said of the final restart. “Tires beat us at the end. We short-pitted there and I tried saving it and rode it in the back just to be there at the end. That’s the name of the game in this deal.”

Zachem said he had no thoughts of trying to be aggressive to keep Santos at bay on the final lap.

“I just knew he had fresher tires and he was going to be better,” Zachem said. “I tried running him. He’s running for the win just like I am. We’re on television, we’re trying to put on a great show. And I think we did for all the fans tonight.”

Swanson’s best finish before Wednesday was a seventh, which he had accomplished twice in nine starts with the series since last year.

“I can’t even put it into words how awesome this feels,” Swanson said. “The first thing I said when I came over the radio to my dad when I was in second I said ‘Wow, so this is really what’s it like to be on the front row of the Tour.’”


  1. Great to see this team win. Knew this team would be fast with the new LFR cars as soon as they figured them out. Didn’t take long at all. What is this the 4th race of the season? They will be thought from hear forward.

  2. SeekonkLM says

    Maximum drama is right I seen chase dowling in a big pig pile after the race with Lias guys. nascar doesn’t take to kindly to that stuff we’ll see if he’s at riverhead. Hard racing overall tonight.

  3. Man I was really pulling for Max and what a smart race he ran.If not for people driving like it was there first time in a modified in the back of the field he would have won this race going away.What an effort from a team with limited funds.Congrats Max you will win soon on tour.

  4. Why was the 2 in post race tech even though it finished 11th?

  5. Bob Gadbois says

    Cars out of the top three are picked randomly.

  6. Great race, one of the better tour races I have been to in a while. Also, have to love the fact that they did a rolling start, none of the time wasting out of car driver intros.

  7. Fast Eddie says

    To Bobby Santos and the Tinio team: Welcome back to “contender” and “threat to win” status! Great job! And congrats to the young guns in 2nd & 3rd! Great race overall!!

  8. That was a pretty darn good race for the tour!

  9. Wow, darealgoodfella doesn’t know how post race tech works at a tour race???

  10. Couldn’t be happier for the 44 team, and Bobby. Lia is a weapon, always has been, and his best years have already gone past.

  11. wmass01013 says

    I think the shorter distance helped 125 laps
    don’t like the Santos body slam to take the lead but I know that’s the move they all make now still don’t like!
    smaller crowd maybe the $44 was too much THOMPSON

  12. Why was the 2 in post race tech even though it finished 11th?

    I heard it was because someone blew them in for having a ” Toilet Bowl Sized Carb”

  13. Post tech was interesting… checking cams. Even though the 2 finished 11th it was getting a cam check. NASCAR found a mirror and saw what it looked like. One thing for certain, some SPEC motors are WAY more equal than others.

    The 2 pulled a sneaky move and got caught, sent to the back. It hung back on a restart, then started early, got a run and passed too soon. I can’t believe the almighty 2 car was penalized. And then brought to post tech even after finishing 11th.

    That was a great Modified event. The 2, 3, 6, and 8 thought they were going to slice and dice their way through the pack, but the pack was very GOOD!!!! The 44 started with problems and found the answer. Great to see them do well. The 4 was moved to the back to start, apparently had issues that needed work after qualifying, ran good, but did a ton of pit stops.

    Go look over the results… where are the typical cast of characters? Some newer folks showed up in a big way. Look how tight the points are. 😬

  14. Fred Ragers says

    Come on now, let’s keep the stupid rumors on your D-bag Facebook pages.

  15. Wmass – $44 is mostly the reason, along w Wednesday night. Sure wasn’t the weather

  16. wmass01013 says

    weather was PERFECTION!
    races have been boring this yr, THIS ONE WAS NOT
    I do wonder in the price was 25 or 30 what the place would look like

  17. Spec-ter, interesting comment about the carbs. NASCAR had some pretty fancy-schmancy computerized equipment checking the cams last night. I’d guess that NASCAR is looking for those reground cams. Huge difference from how they did the first SPEC motor cam check years ago.

  18. Bob Npt. says

    Week day races are hard for a lot of people to attend. Work etc. That’s my reason for not attending. Too long a ride, late night, work the next day. Sorry I had to miss it. If they could have had this race on Saturday July 10th, the place would have been packed.

  19. Tech was carbs, ignition box, visual inspection underneath cars. Guess you had to be there.

  20. knuckles mahoney says

    I didn’t go because of the price. First time missing a race in a long time. A person has to stand their ground somewhere. And still, only 2 dollars for a military discount is a disgrace. HELLO THOMPSON, WAKE UP!!!

  21. Chris D, just when you thought he new it all ,he doesn’t know why the 2 was in tech , if you don’t tell him I won’t either ,he might have to read the rule book, I didn’t even go because everybody was going to be running for second,another thing he was wrong about,I’m starting to get a little disappointed in him,hope he can bounce back with all the answers LOL

  22. NH MOD CHASER says

    OMG….Did hell freeze over Coby didn’t win ?? I thought he was going to win all the races this year and everyone else was fighting for second..I wish people would stop cryin about ticket prices DONT GO and don’t post about it..

  23. Wait, what? The pack is good now? All winter all I heard about was how bad the fields were going to be. Now it’s a solid field? How quickly things change around here.

    The June race is a tough draw. High ticket prices, late night, some kids are still in school etc. The Aug race is usually much better from a crowd standpoint. I would still like to see Thompson run this show on a Sunday afternoon in June. I think that would play well with fans.

  24. @Factual said: “Tech was carbs, ignition box, visual inspection underneath cars. Guess you had to be there.”

    Well, I would like to know how they check all that with a sensor on the valve train, an interface box between the sensor and computer, a computer workstation, and a sensor stuck where the distributor is supposed to go, while manually rotating the engine. Please, do tell how that equipment setup checked the carb, ignition box, and visual inspection underneath.

    Looks like being there still doesn’t provide a clue. 😝

    So why was the 2 getting all this extra special attention? After all, it finished 11th, far away from the podium.

  25. Just hope nobody was ever doubting Santos. He drove a great race last night.

  26. Surprised nobody brought this up yet… the 01 was an LFR car.

    Must have missed the setup.

  27. NH Mod Chaser- I think why people complain on this site, is that we would like to think Thompson management is viewing this site or at the least the word gets back to them

  28. Ill complain when I want to.

  29. InTheKnow says

    “OMG THE 2 car blah blah blah….”

    He was in tech bc the winner AND pole sitter were the cars that had their cams checked…

    OH and all the bitching and moaning about the spec motors… 2 of the top 5 were built motors…

  30. Nah, she just missed where the gas pedal was!

  31. The bill for the Thompson reconfiguration and facelift was pretty steep. Gotta pay for that somehow, and ticket price is the way.

    I think it is important that the Hoenig’s hear, or read, that people are not attending their facility because of ticket pricing. When demand goes down, pricing has to go down to stimulate consumption and produce revenues. They only way to sell more concessions is with more people. There should be more kids in the stands too. A better price schedule to get kids to the track should happen, or a family plan.

  32. Interesting finish LFR with a spec, Troyer with a an 18 degree and SPAFCO with an 18 degree.

  33. humphry, NASCAR will fix that.

  34. I heard the new spec engines are now approaching 45K, the alternator alone is $900.00. For an engine that started in the low 20’s this is turning into highway robbery! The second and third place engines both BTK.

  35. Seekonk fan says

    DaReal, get real! There are no kids at races anymore, there are teens, hardly any 20’s and 30’s. Been like that for a while. Average age of a fan has got to be around 50!

  36. Seekonk fan says

    no teens

  37. There are some kids, they are lined up at the autograph sessions. Should be plenty more though.

    Humphry, the alternator is listed at $999.99, and the cost of the builder to assemble and perfect all the dimensions, fits and interfaces is expensive.

    Congrats to Santos!!!

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