SOUTH BOSTON, Va. — What took Bobby Santos nearly half the race on Friday night at South Boston Speedway took less than two laps Saturday night. It ended in the same result.
Santos secured his second straight Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro victory to open the season by surging from fourth on the grid to the top spot in less than two laps. He passed outside polesitter Joe Liguori in turn three on lap two of 30 and led the remaining distance.
The Franklin, Mass., native beat eventual runner-up Jacob Dolinar by 8.978 seconds at the checkered flag to complete a sweep of Sentara Healthcare American Sprint Car Weekend at the four-tenths-mile paved oval. It was his fourth career win with the winged 410 pavement sprint car tour.
“The guys did a great job and really gave me everything that I needed again,” said Santos in victory lane. “I just hope that everyone is OK (for the next race out), because a lot of guys had tough luck this weekend with motors and other things … and you never want to see that in a series as competitive as this one. That’s a bit of a bummer as a group, but it was a lot of fun racing this winged car tonight.”
The most exciting moment of the feature came after Santos had taken the checkered flag, when Dolinar and Liguori touched wheels exiting the final corner while battling for runner-up honors.
That contact sent Liguori spinning into the inside wall, destroying his Hurricane Chassis No. 13, while Dolinar crossed the finish line just ahead of Liguori.
“I had a really good run on the outside. I was past him, from what I could tell, coming out of the corner,” Dolinar explained afterward. “Joe told me that his front wheels locked (up), and he just didn’t have any turn coming up out of the corner and slid up into me. We’re lucky we didn’t end up crashed as well.
“Just a good night for us, though. Second’s not what we want, but we’re getting closer to a victory.”
Despite being backward and having pieces flying off his race car, Liguori still managed to reach the checkered flag and was scored with a third-place finish.
“We were just really tight,” Liguori lamented, taking responsibility for the crash. “As soon as I saw [Dolinar] on the outside, I tried to race him up off the corner and basically just pushed right up the track. When I rolled out of it to give him the spot, the car just went right up into him.
“I guess I kind of did it to myself,” he added. “I don’t want his guys to think I was trying to run him into the fence, because that wasn’t what I was after at all. We’ll be back with a new car for the next race.”
Just one caution flag slowed the pace Saturday, waving on lap 17 and erasing a three-quarter lap lead that Santos had built up over the rest of the field.
Night one fast qualifier Charlie Schultz, who set the all-time South Boston Speedway track record at 12.051 seconds Friday, finished fourth and two-time Must See Racing champion Troy DeCaire was fifth.
Feature (30 laps): 1. Bobby Santos , 2. Jacob Dolinar , 3. Joe Liguori , 4. Charlie Schultz , 5. Troy DeCaire , 6. Tom Jewell , 7. Joshua Sexton , 8. Rick Holley , 9. Anthony Linkenhoker , 10. Todd McQuillen , 11. Jeff Bloom , 12. Jimmy McCune (DNS).