Fine Line: Bobby Santos III Wins Whelen Mod Tour Eastern Oil & Propane 100 At NHMS

Bobby Santos III celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Eastern Propane & Oil 100 Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor)

LOUDON, N.H. – As the laps ticked off through the second half of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Eastern Propane & Oil 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday, Bobby Santos III found himself losing touch with the lead pack.

And then the Franklin, Mass. driver realized that maybe falling back was the key to going forward.

Instead of playing the following the leader, Santos forged his own course on the 1.058-mile oval and it proved the perfect path to the front.

Santos used a lower than normal line to claw back toward the front, then used that same low line on a green-white-checkered restart to take the lead from Ryan Preece and win the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 Saturday in Loudon.

It was the second points event win for Santos, who won the July event at the track in 2014 with his Tinio Motorsports team. He also won the 2016 exhibition Whelen All-Star Shootout.

“To win at this race track means the world,” Santos said. “… It’s pretty awesome.”

Preece, of Berlin, was second and Dave Sapienza of Riverhead, N.Y. third.

It was the first victory of the season for Santos, who is running part-time this year with Tinio Motorsports. He has finishes of third and fourth in his only other two starts this year, both coming at Thompson Speedway.

Santos started second in the field, but spent the majority of the event far off the lead battle, which for most of the event was contested between Preece and Monster Energy Cup regular Ryan Newman.

With about 20 laps remaining Santos was running in seventh place, battling Andy Seuss for the spot.

“I was running the similar line the leaders were running and we just weren’t as good as they were up there,” Santos said. “I fell back and fell back and I think Andy Seuss was starting to look at passing me on the bottom. It was into the center [of the corner] he pulled beside me but he couldn’t get off [the corner]. I was like ‘Man if he can do that into the center [of the corner] maybe I’ll try to move down there.’ I moved down there and we just started catching the leaders.”

On lap 89 Santos moved by Brendan Bock for fourth. Two laps later Santos was embroiled in a battle for third with Newman, while Doug Coby and Preece battled for the lead.

On lap 97 Preece moved past Coby for the lead with Santos following him into second place. On lap 99 Coby moved back by Santos off turn two. But in turn four, with Santos looking to go low, Newman made contact with Coby sending both spinning and setting up the green-white-checkered showdown.

On the restart Preece chose to start on the outside, setting up perfectly for Santos, who deftly used the low lane that was working for him to come off turn two with the lead after the restart. From there Santos pulled away over the final lap to win.

“I found the line on the bottom and I’m shocked that none of their spotters told them I was there because that won us the race when I found that and none of them moved down there,” Santos said. “I would have never caught them. I had a great car. Ryan Preece had been doing a great job. I knew if I could get out front and get to the bottom that I found something down there and I didn’t think he was going to go back around me outside of me.”

Said Preece: “We burned the right [rear tire] off too early trying to hold off [Coby] and Ryan Newman. Learning things. I probably shouldn’t have made an adjustment before the race to free it up some. Just goes in the notebook and we’ll make it better for next year.”

It was a career best finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Sapienza.

“Just coming out of here finishing, because we had a couple bad experiences the past couple years, I’m blessed,” Sapienza said.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Eastern Propane & Oil 100 Results
At New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Loudon, N.H.
Lap length: 1.058 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (2) Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass., Chevrolet, 105 laps, 87.186 mph.
2. (1) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
3. (17) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 105.
4. (18) Brendon Bock, Franklin Square, N.Y., Chevrolet, 105.
5. (9) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
6. (15) Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H., Chevrolet, 105.
7. (20) Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
8. (5) Max Zachem, Preston, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
9. (7) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 105.
10. (22) Shawn Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Chevrolet, 105.
11. (8) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
12. (19) Ronnie Williams, Ellington, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
13. (23) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
14. (24) Kyle Ebersole, Hummelstown, PA., Chevrolet, 105.
15. (13) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 105.
16. (25) Andrew Krause, Holmdel, N.J., Chevrolet, 105.
17. (10) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY, Chevrolet, 104.
18. (27) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 104.
19. (28) Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J., Chevrolet, 104.
20. (26) Bryan Dauzat, Alexandria, La., Chevrolet, 104.
21. (21) Rob Summers, Manchester, CT, Chevrolet, 104.
22. (30) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 100.
23. (4) Ryan Newman, South Bend, IN, Chevrolet, 98.
24. (31) Dave Salzarulo, Monson, Mass., Chevrolet, 98.
25. (3) Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn., Chevrolet, 69, battery.
26. (14) Donny Lia, Jericho, NY, Chevrolet, 59, engine.
27. (29) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Chevrolet, 45, transmission.
28. (16) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Ford, 43, engine.
29. (12) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 19, accident.
30. (11) Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT, Chevrolet, 18, accident.
31. (6) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, NY, Chevrolet, 18, accident.
Race Statistics
Time of Race: 1 hour 16 minutes 27 seconds
Margin of Victory: 0.652 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: Qualifying Rained Out
Caution Flags: 5 for 18 laps.
Lead Changes: 16 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: R. Preece 1-2; R. Newman 3-11; R. Preece 12-23; R. Newman 24-29; R. Preece 30-44; R. Newman 45-54; R. Preece 55-56; R. Newman 57-61; R. Preece 62-75; R. Newman 76-81; D. Coby 82-84; R. Preece 85; R. Newman 86; R. Preece 87; D. Coby 88-96; R. Preece 97-103; B. Santos 104-105.
Standings: 1. R. Pennink, 276; 2. T. Solomito, 269; 3. E. Goodale, 254; 4. M. Zachem,
247; 5. J. Bonsignore, 243; 6. R. Preece, 237; 7. D. Coby, 234; 8. D. Sapienza, 224; 9. W. Pitkat, 223; 10. M. Swanson, 213.


  1. darealgoodfella says

    NEVAH start on the outside for a GWC. Nevah.

    Especially with a hot Bobby Santos on the inside.

    But it was a great Modified race at Loudon, as expected.

  2. Awesome race!! Four cars going for it for most of last 20 laps. Part time racing has done the 44 well this year.

    Coby had a day. Ran the point leader up and over the wall. Took out a bunch of good cars in the process. Sounds like TC has a broken wrist or thumb as a result. Coby was also banging the hell out of Newman on at least two of the restarts before the green flag actually flew. Apparently Newman had enough by the end there. Unfortunately, he took himself out too. Can’t wait for Sept!

  3. darealgoodfella says

    It was an awesome race. Only a few laps in the middle did the cars get strung out like freight train.

    I wonder how many total lead changes happened, including the lead changes at places other than the line. It was incredible.

    Poor Colby.

    Hey Liz, if a couple more cars dropped out, or Colby took out a few more, the 01 could have had a top 20! Dang!!!!

    Great to see Santos win at Loudon. He’s a skilled driver!!!!

    Rain kept the crowd thin today. Surprising given that Preece was running the fender cars. But goes to show that most of the crowd has to drive quite a distance and do not want to take that risk.

    Can’t wait to do it again in Sept.

    Ol’ Blue is in the points lead. Great for Modified racing.

  4. Ok all you skilled veteran modified drivers, please take note of what dareal says. This guy is the man, the mith, the legend and knows everything about modified racing there is to know, just ask him. Talk about a wacker, this guy is the classic case!

  5. But….Coby never does anything wrong lol. Funny how people were freaking about Ryan in the all star race are silent about Colby today.

  6. Liz Cherokee says

    Yes… almost a top 20! I enjoyed the race… and a few drinks along the way! I tested my new sangria recipe today and it was wicked pissah!

  7. darealgoodfella says

    Oh, Liz, it was truly remarkable. I think the 01 finished only 5 laps down, one of the better results. It was running at the end and not parked, a fantastic achievement!

  8. Dareal goodfella is a has been
    This guy has no clue about racing

    Preece let Santos win
    Preece should of won the Bush race too
    He is racing at dautone this week
    Gibbs racing and preece
    Hope run can put Gibbs on the map
    Hope to see Gibbs get another driver maybe sauter

  9. Speaking of lapped cars. They did break up the draft a few times. They do effect the race in a negative way.

    Anyone know why the 44 kept racing after the checkers. Did they not know race was over? The 6 did the same but I assume he wasn’t lifting until the 44 did.

    Humphrey, you may disagree with DaReal but I bet you the 16 wishes he wasn’t on the outside of the 2 yesterday. The 07, 82, 00 might agree with him too. If TC can’t go at Stafford, put Mike in the 82. Will be like old times.

  10. The know says

    TC will race with fracture in hand can’t keep him down .

  11. NH, did not say I agreed with the outside strategy taken by the 6, that was his decision based on what thought would give him the best opportunity to win and I’ll bet he learned something.

    It is easy to Monday morning quarterback and shove your opinion down a drivers throat however, until you sit in the seat of one of these ground pounders and log as many laps as these guys have your opinion is just that, not fact based on your intimate knowledge and personal experience.

  12. darealgoodfella says

    humpy, I’ve watched the outside restart position lose to the inside position on a restart with just a couple laps numerous times. It doesn’t work. We are talking the last laps of a race… gloves are off. Outside is NOT the place to be on a GWC restart. Especially with how good the 44 was. The 44 came out of nowhere and was running very well. Santos found a low line that was working for him and allowed him to move to then front. Preece gave it to Santos on that restart. Preece needed to take the inside position and keep the 44 out of his line that was working for him.

    NH Mark, drafting is crucial nowadays. At least having someone to run with. Helps get away from the fray. Some recent rule changes have changed the strategy and tactics for running Loudon.

  13. Liz Cherokee says

    dareal, it was only 4 laps… I’ll kindly excuse the oversight on your part this time. Next time I may have to punish you!

  14. Liz Cherokee says

    Oh no! It was 5 laps. Mr dareal was right. It’s that 4 to 5 zone is where I usually start losing count of my drinks… Anyone good a spare abacus? Bottoms up boys!

  15. darealgoodfella says

    Liz, the race was extended to 105 laps. The 01 finished with 100 laps.

    You can look it up here:

    Last I knew, 105 – 100 = 5 Hence, 5 laps down.

    Let the sangria wear off before you attempt to do complex arithmetic again.

  16. Liz Cherokee says

    Yes Mr. dareal… As you can see I recalculated and acknowledged it was 5 before your most unchivalrous reply. Thankfully NASCAR hasn’t made a mistake compiling the votes for the Whelen Modified Tour Most Popular Driver Award anytime in the past three years!!!

  17. darealgoodfella says

    Liz, your mea culpa was not posted before my bland and factual reply.

    And I was on the right path regarding your sangria consumption before your reply.

    We’ll never know about the accuracy of NASCAR and the Most Popular Driver Award. I hope they did not fall victim to Common Core math. I think they might make a “mistake” this year.

    But anyways, some tailgating after the race can help straighten these things out and clear your thinking, yaknow, from all those sangrias or whatever was the appropriate beverage at that event.


    🍷 🥃

  18. darealgoodfella says

    What is going on with Szegedy and Lia?

    It’s sad seeing those two have such horrible results this season.

  19. Dareal is the same guy that said the LFR cars all are horrible and the 2 car was the only LFR car that was good. Nuff said right there. I’m done listening after that statement. Szegedy and Lia results this season speak volumes. Chase Dowling is looking good too. Numbers don’t lie.

  20. Liz Cherokee says

    Szegedy + Lia = Sangria… Now that’s some complex arithmetic! Who needs Newton and Leibnitz?

  21. darealgoodfella says

    Steve, what volumes are being spoken by the Szegedy and Lia results?

    Pennink is in the lead, earning 39.4 pts/race.

    Szegedy is earning 21.5 pts/race.

    Lia is earning 21 pts/race.

    Chase Dowling is earning 30.75 pts/race

    And for some perspective…

    Santos is earning 43 pts/race

    Coby is earning 33.4 pts/race

    Preece is earning 39.5 pts/race

    Fifield is earning 21.1 pts/race

    Fifield is running a LFR, no?

    So what volumes are being spoken by the Szegedy and Lia performances?

    Turn the volume up… the silence is deafening.

  22. I’ll tell you what’s deafening is the silence on the status of the speedbowl stands. Am I right dareal?

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