BOBBY SANTOS: BELIEVE THE HYPE   by Matthew Dillner
Santos Scores Impressive Finish in North vs. South Shootout
Santos has been racing just about everything this year.  This season alone the young racer has steered a Super Modified to victory, piloted SK Modifieds, driven Joe Brady's #00 Featherlite Mod, wheeled Midgets, sprint cars and even a USAC Silver Crown car.

And his experience behind the wheel is already impressive.

He won the 350 Supermodified championship at New Hampshire's Star Speedway at the age of 14.  He won the Boston Louie Seymour Memorial race,  NEMA's  (New England Midget Association) "crown jewel."   He hasn't won a USAC race yet, but has finished second twice.  Santos nearly won the USAC race at Music City Motorplex but a last lap bump from Dave Steele took it away.

Santos is one of the finalists for Cup Series owner Jack Roush's open test (gong-show) for Craftsman Trucks.  He will be testing at Darlington this week.

Yes, Bobby Santos is the real deal and he showed it this past week behind the wheel of the second Boehler owned Featherlite
Attention folks in the Short Track World...listen up!  If you haven't heard of this kid; Bobby Santos III, you need to pay attention.
Besides the impressive run, what does Santos take from his first North vs. South experience?

"Just more experience racing,” said a humble Santos.  “I don't care what it is I will race it.  If it is a good car I'll get in it and race it and go to the front.  So its worth it to me.  I'll race anywhere.”

That sort of attitude, and not being locked in at a particular weekly track, is one of the reasons Santos can adapt so well in any car, and at any track.  For such a young driver, Santos has a ton of tracks already on his racing resume.

“This is just another racetrack I had never been to. The more tracks you can race at the more you can learn.  This track may not help me for two years but three years down the road I may be at a racetrack where this track will help me.  All of the experience you can get helps.”

A lot of people say, if you can drive a sprint car you you can drive anything.  And Santos agrees that his NEMA and USAC schooling has aided his abilitly behind the wheel.
So what is next for Santos?  The only thing for certain is he will have a wheel in his hand.

“It's all up in the air right now.  I drive for a sprint car team in California.  Next year I'll probably be in a sprint car and a midget and a Silver Crown car.  That is what we plan on doing right now but we are still up in the air.”

Many of the Featherlite Modified Series regulars have been impressed with the Bobby's talent, including North vs. South Shootout winner Donny Lia.

“The kid is so talented,” said Lia.  “He knows what he is doing out there.  I'll tell you, he is just as talented, probably more, than any driver out there. That is scary because he really doesn't have much experience.  But, one thing is for sure, he is good.”

Santos also comes from a good set of genes.  His grandfather is a New England racing Legend.  Even Bobby's kid sister competes in NEMA midget races.
“Concord is an up-on-the-wheel track. Being loose in a sprint car is good experience for this right here.  People say it's tough to get in different cars like I do but in this situation it helps a ton.  Driving the sprint car and then coming into this situation helps me out a ton.
(Above) Santos leads the wey in a supermodified at Oswego.  (Below) Santos battles NEMA veteran Pete Pernesiglio.  (ISMA / NEMA Photos)
A lot of young racers come and go.  Publicity creates illusions and perceptions that some inexperienced youngsters may very well be the next Jeff Gordon.  Most of the time those expectations fall short.  Nowadays racecar drivers are plucked into major motorsports rides and development programs before they are even ready to leave their hometrack.

At 19, Bobby Santos III isn't focusing on what Cup organization he would like to align himself with.  The kid is only thinking about what race is next.  Next to his God-given talent, that may be one of the best things about this kid.

With Bobby Santos III, you can believe the hype.



Modified in the North vs. South Shootout at Concord Motorsports Park.  The race brings together the best Modified racers from around the country.  Santos brought the #34 home to a fourth place finish.
Santos #34 does battle with eventual Shootout winner Donny Lia at Concord Motorsports Park.  (51 Photo)
(ISMA Photo)