SANTOS STAYS “HOT” WITH “ROTONDO WEIRICH SHOWDOWN” VICTORY
USAC’s “Thunder & Lightning” Sprint cars stay busy this week, with back-to-back pavement races in Indiana and Ohio.
Levi Jones is back atop the standings, but just two points ahead of Dave Darland as they prepare for the return of “Thursday Night Thunder” at the Winchester (Ind.) Speedway, followed by Friday night’s "Hemelgarn Racing Super Fitness Night" USAC “doubleheader” at the Toledo Speedway, which also showcases the USAC Mopar National Midgets.
Thursday’s 40-lap race is the 19th annual “Rich Vogler Classic” at Winchester, where the Keith Kunz Motorsports team will try for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory. The past three years have seen Bryan Clauson, Marc Jessup and Darren Hagen all score “Vogler Classic” triumphs in Kunz cars. Hagen, Cole Whitt and Henry Clarke form this year’s Kunz team.
Friday’s race at Toledo continues a long tradition of racing at the 1/2-mile banked oval. It’s the first USAC race at the track in two years, Dave Darland winning the 2007 race. Both Toledo features (Sprint and Midget) are 50-lappers.
Bobby Santos III of Franklin, Mass. continued his “hot streak” Friday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, winning the “Rotondo Weirich Showdown” USAC National Sprint race at the 3/4-mile paved oval. Santos, who won last week’s USAC Sprint race at Kalamazoo, Mich. and USAC Midget race at Newton, Iowa, came from 13th starting position to fifth in the first 30 laps, then following a 10-minute halfway halt, resumed his charge to the front in his Santos Motor Sports Beast/Gaerte.
Santos took fourth on lap 31, third on lap 33 and second on lap 43, then passed leader Brad Sweet in turns three and four on lap 44. From there, his only late-race challenge came from Hagen, who finished second, ahead of Sweet, Whitt and Jerry Coons Jr. Sweet was the fastest qualifier with a speed of over 134 mph.