Madison, Illinois…….Bobby Santos from Franklin, Massachusetts took part in an unbelievable race-long battle with Bobby East before becoming a beneficiary of East’s problems late in the race, and held on in a final two-lap dash to win Saturday’s “Gateway 100” Traxxas Silver Crown race in the series’ return to Gateway Motorsports Park.
Santos led three times for twenty laps, but held on over Kody Swanson by just a .040-second margin at the end of the 80 laps around the 1.25-mile oval to capture his first win of the season aboard the Rotondo Weirich – Curb Records #17 Beast/Wallace Toyota.
“I knew I had a good car, but the motor was laying down the second half of the race, and we definitely almost gave it away at the end with it going away. I didn’t see (Kody) coming at the end, but I just felt that somebody was gonna be coming and make it close. That was a great race with Bobby (East) up at the front, too. We raced each other really hard and clean. I have a lot of respect for him and his family, and it’s nice to race that hard for the lead like that. It means a lot to win here and even get to race here. Places like this are right up my alley,” Santos said.
Santos’ teammate, Chris Windom, led the field to the green after posting a sizzling lap of 31.082 seconds to set a new Track Record of 144.779 miles per hour. Windom held on to lead the opening lap, but East quickly dove under him into turn-one for the lead. That set off a race full of lead changes and back-and-forth battling at the front of the field.
Brian Tyler moved to the lead on lap ten over East as Windom hung with the lead pack, while Santos hung back in fourth. Tyler led the biggest single chunk of the race, even as East repeatedly looked low on him down the front-stretch. Finally, East cleared him on lap 29 getting into turn-one to take his second turn at the front.
Tyler did not take long to go back to the lead, as he brought Windom into the fray on lap 32. The three raced for the top spot while Santos reeled them back in from nearly a straightaway back. Just after Santos got by Windom for third, East snuck under Tyler coming to complete lap 38.
Just past halfway, Santos disposed of Tyler and set his sights on the lead. Windom came with him, and the duo closed on East as the race neared the 50-lap mark. On lap 51, Santos made his first bid for the lead successful, but East was up for the challenge. Four lead changes between the two ended when East took the lead on lap 68 with a big run into turn-one and pulled away from the field.
Just as Swanson took third from Windom, East started to slow. He came to a stop to bring out the only caution of the race on lap 76. East came to the pits and added fuel, and the race was set up for a green-white-checkered finish. Santos stumbled a bit coming to the green, but Swanson lost a lot of ground down the front-stretch, with Windom moving to second. As the leaders came under the white-flag, Windom and Swanson were hooked up and had a full head of steam reeling in the leaders.
Swanson jumped to the outside of Windom as they rolled into turn-three, looking low off turn-four as the three passed under the checkers all within .177-seconds of each other. For Swanson, it was his first race aboard the DePalma Motorsports-owned Radio Hospital – Hampshire Engines #63 Beast/Hampshire.
“A month ago, this car was in storage, so to come that close…we got beat so bad on the original start and then again at the restart at the end. I know he was having his problems with running out of fuel or the engine going away, and we had our problems too, but I just really wanted that one bad. I was third down the back-stretch and I just wasn’t gonna lift to go to the bottom. We had a run on Santos coming off four, and I knew I couldn’t go around the outside, and he had just enough to hold us off. We just came up a little short,” Swanson said.
Windom’s first race aboard a pavement Silver Crown car ended with a podium after setting a blistering track record and racing amongst the top-four the entire race in the Rotondo Weirich – Curb Records #7 Beast/Wallace Toyota.
“That was my first pavement Silver Crown race ever, so it’s pretty cool to get that record and run so well. I think I wore my tire out a little too much early, and then I couldn’t keep up there at the end. I definitely thought we had a shot at the win after we got such a good restart, but we were just too free. With the problems Bobby (Santos) was having, it definitely was getting interested at the end, especially after we caught the draft on Santos, but we were good and I’m happy for our team to run first and third,” Windom said.
Early leader Tyler held on for fourth in the Team 6-R – Jet Star #21 Beast/Claxton Toyota, while Jacob Wilson rounded out the top-five in the Wilson Brothers Racing – Jet Star #07 Beast/Toyota.
TRAXXAS USAC SILVER CROWN RACE RESULTS: June 1, 2013 – Madison, Illinois – Gateway Motorsports Park – “Gateway 100”
QUALIFYING: 1. Chris Windom, 7, RW/Curb-Agajanian-31.082 (New Track Record); 2. Bobby East, 22, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-31.220; 3. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-31.309; 4. A.J. Fike, 3, RFMS-31.334; 5. Bobby Santos, 17, RW/Curb-Agajanian-31.423; 6. Levi Jones, 10, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-31.512; 7. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-31.638; 8. Jerry Coons, Jr., 27, RW/Curb-Agajanian-31.797; 9. Jarett Andretti, 4, Andretti-31.846; 10. Brian Tyler, 21, Team 6-R-31.869; 11. Shane Hollingsworth, 20, Nolen-32.018; 12. Zach Daum, 5, Daum-32.302; 13. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-32.481; 14. Tracy Hines, 16, Lightfoot-NT; 15. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-NT; 16. Randy Bateman, 55, Bateman-NT.
FEATURE: (80 laps) 1. Bobby Santos, 2. Kody Swanson, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Brian Tyler, 5. Jacob Wilson, 6. Jerry Coons, Jr., 7. Levi Jones, 8. Bobby East, 9. Shane Hollingsworth, 10. A.J. Fike, 11. David Byrne, 12. Zach Daum, 13. Jarett Andretti, 14. Tracy Hines, 15. Aaron Pierce, 16. Randy Bateman. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Windom, Laps 2-9 East, Laps 10-28 Tyler, Laps 29-31 East, Laps 32-37 Tyler, Laps 38-50 East, Laps 51-54 Santos, Laps 55-57 East, Laps 58-67 Santos, Laps 68-74 East, Laps 75-80 Santos.
NEW TRAXXAS SILVER CROWN POINTS: 1-Jones/Coons-102; 3-Hollingsworth-87; 4-Swanson-86; 5-Fike/East-81; 7-Hines-79; 8-Windom/Tyler-78; 10-Pierce-65.
NEXT TRAXXAS SILVER CROWN RACE: June 29 – Fountain, Colorado – Pikes Peak International Raceway