Restart: Tinio Motorsports, Bobby Santos III Looking For Turnaround With Crew Chief Ryan Stone

Ryan Stone and Bobby Santos III chat before the start of Wednesday's Whelen Modified Tour test session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Ryan Stone (left) and Bobby Santos III chat before the start of Wednesday’s Whelen Modified Tour test session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

LOUDON, N.H. – When it comes to the events for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Ryan Stone isn’t expecting any sort of excuses for the Tinio Motorsports team and their driver Bobby Santos III.

Stone will be making his debut as the team’s new crew chief at New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend, when the division runs the exhibition All-Star Shootout on July 15 and the regular schedule New England 100 on July 16.

And Stone doesn’t want any sort of “Getting To Know Each Other” pass for the group for their first event together.

“If we come out struggling I won’t know why because we have everything it takes to run well here,” Stone said. “I’ll be scratching my head as much as anybody if we don’t compete well in the very first race out of the box.”

Stone replaced Steve Lemay as the crew chief with the team. Lemay had led the team since they began fielding cars for Santos in 2012.

After winning seven races between 2012 and 2014, the Mendon, Mass. Tinio Motorsports team struggled in 2015, with Santos going winless and recording just five top-fives in 14 starts. Santos put those struggles behind with his victory in the Thompson 125 on June 15 at Thompson Speedway.

“I want to thank Steve for everything he’s did for us,” Santos said Wednesday during a Whelen Modified Tour test session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “He led us to a lot of wins and he was a great crew chief. I guess as a whole the team felt it was time to do something different. I’m excited to work with Ryan and move forward and try to win some races from here on out.

The arrival of Stone with the team is a unique move in that his move to the team was facilitated through cooperation with LFR Chassis. Stone is the Modified Division director for the North Carolina based chassis manufacturer. LFR Chassis is owned by former Whelen Modified Tour competitor and Sprint Cup Series crew member Robby Fuller.

The 45-year old Stone is a former racer who has been involved with leading Whelen Modified Tour crews since 2005.

“[Tinio Motorsports] offered me the opportunity, of course me being down south and them being in Massachusetts, logistically, was going to be a little challenging,” Stone said. “… We married the whole thing [with LFR and the team] and made everybody’s agenda work. So fortunately I’ll still be able to have my role at LFR. But it will be a little less because this is my priority now for the next 10 or 11 races. Typically how we’re going to work it is that I’ll fly up a few days before each event and prepare the car and then go home after the race and fulfill my duties at LFR. I’m glad we were able to make it all work so I didn’t have to leave LFR to do this. And then from a customer standpoint it was nice for LFR to be able to offer that kind of support to one of our customers. That was important to [Fuller].”

Stone said chemistry within the team is the No. 1 issue to be resolved.

“They have everything, they’re not missing anything,” Stone said. “I went through this with the [the TS Haulers team]. It’s just, in racing you deal with people on such really high emotion or really low emotion and when you’re doing that for five or six years together it just takes a toll on everybody. And nobody can really explain it. It’s just that magic chemistry and from what they’re telling me, they lost that. But the parts, the pieces, the driver, the team and the backing, they have it all. We don’t have a car problem, we don’t have a horsepower problem, we don’t have a driver problem, we don’t have an owner problem. We have an overall team problem and that’s where I come in and we just try to gel that all back together and go in the same direction.”

Santos has one career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, coming with Tinio Motorsports on July 12, 2014. In 19 career Whelen Modified Tour starts at the track he has six top-five’s and ten top-10 finishes.

“I think from what I’ve seen [LFR Chassis has] a good setup for this place,” Santos said. “They’ve run well. The [Mike Smeriglio Racing No. 2] car ran well here last year. So I think we have some good notes to start with. I’m excited. When the pressure is on I think that’s a good thing and I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure on us to do well [next weekend] and I like that.

“Ryan is very knowledgeable and he obviously knows these cars as well as anybody. He can’t hurt. He seems like he’s a great team leader and seems really good with guys so far. I’m excited about it.”

Said Stone: “Fortunately Loudon has been a great track for any team that I’ve been involved with over the years. We’ve typically run good. I think a lot of that has to do with some of the drivers we’ve had and some of the teams I was on. I think we all understand Loudon very well. They’ve won here in the past, I’ve won here with other drivers and teams in the past. I really think we should be able to do that.”


  1. I am very happy for stone this is well deserved . Good luck to them .

  2. They will maybe win
    They got like ten teams that could win

  3. just a fan says

    ok …for all of you who are going to bash LFR for there guy signing up for this deal …..turn back the clock …troyer bob did the same thing with the mystic missle 4 car ….i maybe wrong but i think the 3 champ. years he was the crew chief …..

  4. Personally I think this was a step in the wrong direction. Ryan Stone is not a panacea, nor is he the second coming of Troyer Bob…

  5. Great driver,equipment,and owner.Something had to be done.I wish them luck,they have worked hard and sweated out a lot of bad outings and crew chief seems to be the logical step.

  6. There is a big difference between a career Troyer guy stepping in to do a crew chief job and a LFR guy turning into a crew chief. Troyer Bob had a career with Troyer, LFR is still trying to make a name for itself.

    But we shall see.

    And back when the Mystic Missile was winning, it had Troyer Bob, and also had Hutter power that could drag any chassis around a track. Ain’t hard to setup a car to go fast and straight when you gots lots more horses.

  7. just a fan says

    ryan stone was a crew chief BEFORE he went to LFR…..its not drag racing you have to turn left …if it was all about HP then why did the 4 car not win without troyer bob ? ….also at that time everybody had big power ….tonys…bruno…pt …etc. …not nascar iroc spec sk mod tour of today …

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