(Stafford Springs, CT)—In the long and storied history of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway, there have been several drivers whose performance has shined high above the rest of their competitors. The Spring Sizzler presents the opportunity for Franklin, MA native Bobby Santos, III, to enter into a very elite group.
Santos will try this year to join Maynard Troyer and Ted Christopher as the only drivers to win the Sizzler three consecutive times and also to join Christopher and Mike Stefanik as the only drivers with 4 or more career Sizzler victories. Santos’ Sizzler career got off to a very slow start, with accidents in his first two Sizzlers relegating him to 32nd place finishes in 2004 and 2007. But when he hooked up with Bob Garbarino for the 2010 season, Santos has quickly carved out his own space in Sizzler lore. Santos won the pole for the 2010 Sizzler and led the first 54 laps of the race before contact with a lapped car dropped him back to 22nd in the running order. Santos recovered to finish second in that race and he then won each of his next three Sizzler starts in 2011, 2013, and 2014.
“I’m excited, the Sizzler is obviously one of my favorite races of the year and it’s treated me very well the last handful of years,” said Santos. “It’s definitely one of those races that you look forward to and with all the history of the race and everything that goes with it, it makes the race even better. I’ve driven for good teams that give me good race cars and I like the longer distance races. That extra 50 or 75 laps definitely suits my style of racing and driving. Any time you can be in the same category as Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik is an honor. They were my two favorite drivers growing up and in my opinion two of the best. If I can do anything halfway close to what they accomplished, it would be pretty neat. But the competition gets harder every year and it’s going to be a difficult race to win for sure.”
With how well Santos has run at the Spring Sizzler in the past, the NWMT field could be in for another day of trying to chase down the #44 as Santos and his team will be bringing a slightly different car than in the past to this year’s Sizzler.
“The car that we ran at Loudon last year will be our Stafford car this year, so it’s a little nicer and newer car than we’ve brought the last couple of years,” said Santos. “It’s still a Troyer car with a Billy the Kid engine, so no major changes. It’s a good combination and we have everything we need to run well. I have to thank Sully Tinio, he is the main person behind all this, Mike Curb with Curb Records is another big sponsor, and all my guys on the crew who work so hard. For me to be able to just show up and drive, it’s pretty cool to get into that equipment and have that opportunity.”
While Santos says he is a fan of the longer distance races, he says that when it comes to the Spring Sizzler a driver can’t rely on the same strategy for each race.
“It seems like every race is different,” said Santos. “The best strategy would be to get a caution right around halfway. The ideal scenario for me would be leading the race and get a yellow around lap-120 and be able to come back out of the pits still in the lead. You just have to play things by ear and if you’re out front, you can kind of dictate the strategy. I think last year we didn’t get into the lead until after the pit stops so we just went with the flow of what everyone else was doing and I made my move about 40 or 50 laps after the pit stop. I’ve also won the race by leading almost every lap, so you have to keep track of the way things fall in front of you.”
Santos will begin his quest for his third consecutive NAPA Spring Sizzler victory with practice and Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, April 25th as part of the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler. The 200-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler will run on Sunday, April 26 at approximately 3:15pm following the NAPA Pit Party from 11am-12noon and the SK Modified® and Late Model feature events beginning at 1pm. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.