Santos Waterford Winner
June 21, 2014 | 11:55 P.M. EST
It was Santos' second win of the season and 12th of his career. It was his first tour win at Waterford. (Photo: Getty Images)
Bobby Santos followed Donny Lia for much of the first half of Saturday night's race. But Santos wasn't content to finish second.
So Santos, from Franklin, Massachusetts, wrestled the lead away and went on to claim the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory in the Mr. Rooter 161 at Waterford Speedbowl.
It was Santos' second win of the season and 12th of his career. It was his first tour win at Waterford, the fourth different track he’s registered a victory at during his Whelen Modified Tour tenure.
A green-white-checkered finish pushed the race to 165 laps. Lia, who earlier in the night won the Coors Light Pole Award, finished second.
Ted Christopher rallied back to finish third. Justin Bonsignore and Patrick Emerling were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Defending race winner and tour champion Ryan Preece finished sixth, followed by Woody Pitkat, Keith Rocco, Ron Yuhas Jr. and Doug Coby.
What proved to be the eventual winning move for Santos in his No. 44 Tinio Racing/ImperialCars.com Chevrolet came on Lap 133. Santos dove under Lia through Turn 3, and with some contact, came out of Turn 4 will the lead thanks to his “bottom shot.”
“We had a great car,” Santos said. “I followed Donny [Lia] the whole first half of the race and I tried multiple times to pass him as clean as could be. He roughed me up a little bit I felt like, and I just saved it until the end of the race when it counted.”
The runner-up effort for Lia was his best finish through four races this year. He seemed to take some exception to Santos’ winning move, however.
“We just got a little free and Bobby’s [Santos] car was just better than ours there at the end,” Lia said. “There were a couple things there – I’m not quite sure what was going on the way he raced us a little bit – but we’ll see what happens going forward.”
The podium for Christopher was his first in nine starts. He’s finished in the top 10 each race this year with his new No. 13 team.
“We had to pit and come from last, so I’m pretty happy with it,” Christopher said of his third place finish. “The car ran good. It’s still a work in progress, but each week we get better and better.”
Bonsignore took over the points lead from Coby by two tallies. Santos is third, three more points back of the leader. Coby, who had finished on the podium in each of the first three races in 2014, was slowed by two different incidents Saturday night.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will race at Riverhead (New York) Raceway on Saturday, June 28.