Defenders: Bobby Santos III And Dave Sapienza Excited For Teamed Up Return To NHMS

Bobby Santos III celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Musket 250 in 2019 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

Last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway it was an injured Dave Sapienza on a pit box cheering on his fill-in driver Bobby Santos III to victory in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

This year there’s no injuries keeping Sapienza off the track and that means a double-barreled attack for Dave Sapienza Racing when the team returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Saturday’s Musket 200 as part of Full Throttle Fall Weekend in Loudon. 

Santos will make his first Whelen Modified Tour start of the season driving as a teammate to Sapienza in Satuday’s event at NHMS. 

Sapienza had plans to run Santos in a handful of Whelen Modified Tour events in 2020 before the COVID-19 Global Pandemic wreaked havoc on the season’s schedule. 

“This year has been a bummer that I haven’t gotten to race a Modified,” Santos told RaceDayCT. “We lost that [July] Loudon event. I was really looking forward to going to [Iowa Speedway] and a couple other races I was really looking forward to this year. But the opportunity to go back to Loudon in a good quality car driving for [Sapienza] and his team is definitely exciting. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.” 

Said Sapienza: “We’ve got two dominant cars. I’m really excited. I’ve been telling everybody ‘Bobby is not winning. I’m winning.’” 

Santos goes to Loudon carrying the momentum from his first career victory in the 72ndrunning of the Little 500 Saturday at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Indiana. The event is considered one of the majors in Sprint Car racing in the United States. 

“I’m really excited for Bobby,” Sapienza said. “I’m happy for him winning the Little 500. That’s one of those things that he’s been chasing, chasing, chasing and always coming up short. It reminded me of the Turkey Derby. I chased that thing for 15 years and always came up short, something happened. When I saw he won Saturday I sent him a text message and said ‘Don’t think you’re winning New Hampshire. But I can promise you I’ll let you finish second.’” 

When Sapienza sustained a back injury in May 2019 it was Santos who stepped in to run selected events for the remainder of the season for the Long Island based car owner. Santos ended up running seven events for the team in 2019. His win in the Musket 250 marked the first Whelen Modified Tour victory for Dave Sapienza Racing. 

“I couldn’t be happier for what he did last year,” Sapienza said. “I wish we had more on the schedule for him to do. But this whole year with the COVID and everything, it was just one of those things, you take it race by race. We had plans to run three or four races with Bobby. We’ll have to see what the rest of the year brings us. But I’m really excited about this weekend. We’re both in the new LFR Gen 2 cars and they perform well on tracks like that.” 

Santos has five career victories and 10 top-five finishes in Whelen Modified Tour events at Loudon over 27 starts at the track since 2006. 

“When you have a track that you’ve had a little success at it definitely makes you more confident than going somewhere that you haven’t had success at,” Santos said. “I’m extremely confident. I know I have good people around me and a good car. I don’t see any reason why we can’t be up there battling at the end.” 


  1. This is gonna be great.

    Last lap, Bobby and Sap, leading the pack, going down the backstretch…

  2. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would not see my favorite driver, Bobby Santos, in a Modified this year with all the virus issues going on. To Dave Sapienza, thank-you very much for proving me wrong! Looking forward to a DSR 1-2!

  3. A handful of women shown as owners on the list of entrants and NASCAR can’t even get them all correct. The owner of the 36 is Judy Thilberg not Judy Thilburg. Made all the worse by getting the designated owner of the 63 correct Tim Thilberg.
    As the entries on Facebook indicate Santos will be driving the LFR “Gen 2” Sapienza drove to a second at Jennerstown with Bobby’s dad as crew chief. Is Dave driving something newer or the old “Fury” that Santos drove for the win last year?
    This fan wonders how they do it. Not one car in the biggest race of the season but two premier cars from a team used to fielding only one. Not just two great cars and motors but two of everything needed to get to and compete at the track.
    The popular notion may be the Dave Sapienza is some good old boy, a little rough around the edges with a big personality and a limitless fervor to race. What may be less known is that he is part of the accomplished, well resourced Thilberg/Sapienza clan that stretches from Long Island to the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. They don’t do anything just for show.
    I thought the one/two deal was pure pre race bravado. It is highly improbable but not out of the realm of possibility either.

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