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Bobby Santos III Obtains Solid Top-Three Finish at Thompson International Speedway
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (August 16, 2010) - Bobby Santos III went into the weekend at Thompson International Speedway as the lone NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) point leader of the season. Santos and his No. 4 Mystic Missile fought hard against the dominant Ted Christopher for a third-place finish in the Budweiser King of Beers 150. The finish relegated them to a second-place spot in the NWMT point standings.
Santos and the No. 4 Mystic Missile team paced the first and only practice with a fast lap of 18.697 seconds (120.340 mph). He qualified with the fourth fastest lap of 18.775 seconds (119.840 mph) and pulled the third starting-spot for the Budweiser King of Beers 150.
When the green flag flew for 150 laps of short-track racing, Santos crossed the starting line in the second row. Just as the field got to speed, an incident in turn two caused the yellow flag to fly with Santos in the sixth spot. The field saw the green flag on lap 8, and after two laps, Santos made his way back into the top-five. Santos along with the rest of the top-12 built up a lead on the rest of the field. Christopher, who started on the outside pole, extended his lead to one second by lap 25, with Santos in the fifth position.
The second caution of the night on lap 41 allowed Santos to drive down pit road to the attention of his No. 4 Mystic Missile team. The team tightened up the car and changed three tires. Santos rejoined the field in the seventh position. The field went back to green on lap 46, and by lap 75, Santos worked his way back into the top-five. Santos continued to hold steady and sat solid in the third position on lap 90. The third caution flew on lap 94. As the other frontrunners pit, Santos stayed out to lead the field.
Santos kept his lead for the next 10 green-flag laps before the dominant Christopher passed him for the lead on lap 111. Santos held steady in the second spot until Ron Silk pushed passed him on lap 145. The fourth caution flew on lap 149 for fellow HBR development driver Erick Rudolph, causing a green-white-checker finish. Santos battled hard and finished third, with Christopher taking the checkers.
"We had a good car," explained the 24-year-old. "The car felt good at the start of the race, and we were much better after our pit stop. We just got beat by a guy with a different pit strategy. It was a good run. I can't complain. Christopher was fast the whole race, and that's why we chose a different pit strategy. It was still a good effort. I guess it was his day. We'll get him next week."
With his third-place finish and Christopher's win, Santos now sits in the runner-up spot in the point standings for the first time this season, a mere 14 points behind Christopher.
"Fighting for the championship is a lot of fun and a little stressful," commented Santos. "I have always looked up to Christopher, so it is a lot of fun and really special to compete with him for the title. We have a good shot at it. Everyone would like to be in the hunt and we are, so that's good. We just have to focus on winning races."
Santos will head to Bristol Motor Speedway August 18 for the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. On-track activity begins at 8 a.m. EST. The UNOH Perfect Storm 150 will start at 6 p.m. EST, just before the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at 8 p.m. EST.