Ind. Bobby Santos scored a dominating victory Saturday in the Night Before
the 500 classic for the USAC National Midget Car Series at Indianapolis Raceway
Park, as the Franklin, Mass. native won his second straight race.
this week in the No. 4 Beast/Ford owned by Janice East, finished more than four seconds
ahead of Ron Gregory in the 61st edition of the race, capping a week in which he suffered
problems with the car in two races but came away with victories twice.
couldnt believe how fast I drove past those guys at the start of the race; the car
was unbelievable, Santos said. When I got out front, I knew I just had to take
my time and have a good race.
domination presented by Santos, who won Sunday at Concord Motorsport Park in North
Carolina, wasnt something most could have predicted going into the evening. He
suffered through mechanical ailments prior to qualifying and pulled in before taking the
green flag to start his run.
he returned at the end of the qualifying line, and with one lap, set the nights fast
qualifying time. That allowed him to start sixth, and within a pair of laps, was
challenging for the point.
almost lost two spots on a restart on Lap 3, but that start was called back and Santos was
repositioned in second. Then, he jumped past Josh Wise going into Turns 1 and 2, and by
the end of the lap was five car lengths ahead. He was never challenged thereafter.
Santos was busy buzzing around the .686-mile, the story of the night quickly became the
racing in the remainder of the Top 10, and the spotlight began to show on Santos
teammate, Stephanie Mockler. Starting 15th in only her second career USAC National Midget
Car Series race, Mockler began slicing through the 26-car field in veteran-like fashion.
Lap 8, she had already passed six cars and moved into the ninth position. She got between
Nine Racing, Toyota-powered teammates Dave Darland and Dave Steele, and vaulted ahead of
defending series champion Josh Wise on Lap 16.
pass for Mockler set off a chain of passes against some of the top drivers in Midget
racing today. She passed Steele on Lap 16, and though she was passed by the Floridian a
couple laps later, was able to keep her composure for about 15 laps before completing a
pass on Steele for the fifth position on Lap 31.
continued to move through the field, and finally caught Jerry Coons Jr. and Michael Lewis
on Lap 39. After contemplating a three-wide pass attempt, he thought better of it. That
patience paid off in the form of fourth from Coons on Lap 40.
it wasnt easy getting past Coons, it was even harder for Mockler to pass Lewis. She
tried inside and outside, and despite making a pass on Lap 45, lost third again on the
next lap when Lewis slid in front of her.
apparent contact going into Turn 1 allowed Mockler to gain the position outright. With her
sights set on Gregory, the best she could do was relieve him of second.
didnt happen. Gregory finished second for the second straight season after winning
the event in 2004. He was 4.485 seconds behind Santos.
pretty excited, said Santos. We had an awesome racecar; we couldnt ask
for a better racecar. Weve tested here before, but we didnt have time to play
with the car today because we were playing with the motor. I think I had three laps on the
track before we went racing tonight; it was just good knowledge of the track and good
people setting up the racecar. Im lucky I was the one that got to drive it.
about a personal best, Mockler who has won two Regional Midget Car Series races
this year received a standing ovation for her third-place finish, and she reacted
by shaking her fist in the air. She later talked about her advancing a dozen positions and
what the night meant to her.
was a great run for us; a lot of fun, she said. I just have to thank Ford,
Clorox and East Enterprises. I ran with these guys last week, and it was awesome to get to
run with them.
fourth and fifth were Lewis and Coons.
an attempt to get back to the front, Wise came in the pits on Lap 26 to change a tire.
That decision gained little, as he finished ninth at the checkered flag.
teammate, Levi Jones, failed to make the 50-lap feature as he was unable to move into a
Top-9 transfer position in the qualifying race.
and Billy Wease, both of Noblesville, Ind., won the 12-lap qualifying races.
series shifts west next Friday and Saturday for the Pepsi/Mountain Dew Knoxville
Midget Nationals at Knoxville Speedway in Iowa, the first dirt events of the season
for the division.
Bobby Santos III, 4, Klatt-21.178; 2. Jay Drake, 97, Kunz-21.337; 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 11,
Wilke-Pak-21.385; 4. Ron Gregory, 22, Irvin-21.389; 5. Josh Wise, 20, Stewart-21.395; 6.
Bryan Clauson, 67, Kunz-21.429; 7. Cole Carter, 7, Carter-21.481; 8. Michael Lewis, 93,
Wagner-21.485; 9. Billy Wease, 80, Western Speed-21.488; 10. Dave Darland, 9, Nine
Racing-21.488; 11. Bradley Galedrige, 129, Hamilton-21.525; 12. Dave Steele, 91, Nine
Racing-21.611; 13. Kevin Swindell, 25, Venture-21.612; 14. Brad Kuhn, 74, James-21.619;
15. Stephanie Mockler, 6, East-21.626; 16. Mario Marietta, 37, Marietta-21.663; 17. David
Byrne, 20B, Byrne-21.671; 18. Ryan Kaplan, 21k, Kaplan-21.674; 19. Levi Jones, 21,
Stewart-21.707; 20. Darren Hagen, 71, Kunz-21.722; 21. Travis Miniea, 77, Fast
Track-21.742; 22. Justin Overfelt, 78, Zephyr-21.754; 23. Tom Hessert III, 5,
Hessert-21.769; 24. Brian Olson, 71x, Olson-21.801; 25. David Gough, 82, A & G-21.842;
26. Richey Jacobs, 114, Speed Chasers-21.911; 27. Brad Loyet, 05, Loyet-21.981; 28. Erica
Santos, 98s, Santos-21.990; 29. A.J. Fike, 32, RFMS-22.039; 30. Alex Pruett, 60, Western
Speed-22.056; 31. Dan Drinan, 333, Lewis-22.067; 32. Scott Thoman, 88, Thoman-22.110; 33.
Scott Pierovich, 35, Pierovich-22.112; 34. Kyle Nicholas, 29, Stewart-22.147; 35. Brandon
Wagner, 92, Wagner-22.193; 36. Jimmy Light, 48, Light-22.386; 37. Teddy Beach, 125,
Beach-22.432; 38. Nick Bohanon, 33, Bohanon-22.608; 39. Kevin Studley, 57, Studley-22.644;
40. Joe Liguori, 28, Owen-22.706; 41. Ryan Durst, 191, Kahne-22.733; 42. Joey Piliszczuk,
8, Poliszczuk-22.781; 43. Adam Nuetzel, 17x, Nuetzel-23.254; 44. Dustin Morgan, 17, M
& M-23.668; 45. Nick Wagner, 94, Wagner-NT; 46. #19, Nine Racing-NT.
QUALIFYING RACE #1: (12 laps) 1. Wease, 2. Carter, 3.
Miniea, 4. Galedrige, 5. Mockler, 6. Byrne, 7. Gough, 8. B. Wagner, 9. Swindell, 10.
Beach, 11. Jones, 12. Drinan, 13. Pierovich, 14. Fike, 15. Hessert, 16. Durst, 17. Loyet,
18. Studley, 19. Nuetzel. NT
QUALIFYING RACE #2: (12 laps) 1. Lewis, 2. Steele, 3. Kuhn,
4. Darland, 5. Marietta, 6. Overfelt, 7. Kaplan, 8. Olson, 9. Nicholas, 10. E. Santos, 11.
Jacobs, 12. Bohanon, 13. Light, 14. Thoman, 15. Poliszczuk, 16. Hagen, 17. Morgan, 18.
Pruett, 19. Liguori. NT
FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Bobby Santos III, 2. Ron Gregory, 3.
Stephanie Mockler, 4. Michael Lewis, 5. Jerry Coons Jr. 6. Billy Wease, 7. Dave Darland,
8. Dave Steele, 9. Josh Wise, 10. Bryan Clauson, 11. David Bryne, 12. Cole Carter, 13.
Bradley Galedrige, 14. Kyle Nicholas, 15. Ryan Kaplan, 16. Darren Hagen, 17. Brad Kuhn,
18. Brandon Wagner, 19. David Gough, 20. Kevin Swindell, 21. Jay Drake, 22. Travis Miniea,
23. Mario Marietta, 24. Teddy Beach, 25. Justin Overfelt, 26. Brian Olson. NT