LOUDON, N.H. — Bobby Santos III is no stranger to parking his car in Victory Lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Saturday, the Franklin, Massachusetts driver did it for the sixth time — but this one was the biggest of them all. Santos earned the win in the second annual Musket 250 presented by Whelen, taking car owner Dave Sapienza to Victory Lane for the first time.
It was the fifth championship points win for Santos at NHMS, who also has a victory in the Whelen All-Star Shootout. It was also the 18th career Whelen Modified Tour win for the former series champion.
In a wild 250 laps around the ‘Magic Mile’, countless drivers had the opportunity to lead the way. But when it mattered most, it was a battle between three modified veterans for the crown.
Santos, five-time series champion Doug Coby, and Jon McKennedy, who led a race-high 93 laps, were the three drivers at the front when the field crossed for the white flag. Off turn two, Coby would draw even with Santos for the lead — edging out as they approached the entrance to turn three.
However, Santos would drive deep into turn three, slide up, and hold off Coby and McKennedy across the line, while the two battled side-by-side for second. McKennedy would beat Coby to the line, but was .129 seconds behind Santos.
“It was a good run,” McKennedy said. “Tommy (Baldwin) and the guys gave me a great car. We led a lot of laps. Just one position short. As far as I’m concerned, Bobby is one of the best short-track drivers in the country.”
Before a crash racing for the lead, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore were dominating the late stages. The two drivers combined to lead laps 133-222, but when Silk and Eric Goodale split a lapped car, they made contact — ending both of their races early with damage.
Chuck Hossfeld, subbing for Jimmy Blewett, was fourth, while Bonsignore completed the top five. Matt Swanson was sixth, followed by Rob Summers, Chris Pasteryak, Gary Putnam and Craig Lutz.
Coby leads Bonsignore by 21 points with two championship points races remaining. Coby is looking for his sixth title, while Bonsignore is seeking his second straight.
The Musket 250 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, September 26, and 6 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the annual NAPA Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway, on Sunday, September 29.