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 Bobby Santos at Thompson  (Photo by Jamie Williams)

May 1, 2008


A lot has been written in the last couple of years about Bobby Santos III.  And for good reason.

Bobby is a pearl.  Now just 22 years old, this New Englander has been racing over 15 years, on 75 different tracks, in 20 states, and 23 different kinds of cars.  And he has developed a knack for coming out on top, especially when the pressure wick is up.  He has poles in ARCA and USAC sprint wins; he swept both ends of a wild $50,000-to-win challenge at Stafford (CT) Speedway; he holds the all-time closed course midget record.

Along the way Bobby has endeared himself to knowledgeable railbirds nationwide.  Folks know he is no yuppie with a golden wheel.  He’s worked on the cars with Herculean effort and driven his tail off, supported by a family rich in racing tradition but modest in the checkbook.  He’s the kid next door – the one everyone’s watching, just hoping he’ll get that big break.

But it hasn’t happened.  Bobby has been in a development program with Bill Davis Racing.  And he has verbal offers from NASCAR superspeedway teams for great rides, if they can just find a sponsor.  It seems that’s the problem.  Good as he may be, Bobby just doesn’t have the swagger of some international open wheel star, backed by a Fortune 500 company.  Bobby is on the scene for sure.  He will be in the seat of the Western Speed midget at this year’s “Night Before the 500” at O’Reilly Raceway Park.  But still, you can sense his disappointment to be struggling day and night – and for so long.

Then came the “Icebreaker” at Thompson, CT, at the beginning of April.  Bobby, who copped the modified portion of the Thompson World Series spectacularly last fall, was back in a midget.  Everyone anticipated a great weekend.

In the middle of the Saturday night before the race, someone broke into the Santos family’s hauler.  Bobby’s fire suit, helmet, Hans device, shoes, and seat were all stolen.  Strangely nothing else – including tools, jacks, equipment – was even touched.

Bobby’s dad says the loss amounted to almost $6,000. It was a terrible financial blow for the underfunded team.  But, somehow, even more disturbing is the emotional damage and the symbolism of it all.  How could anyone in the racing community stoop so low?  How could anyone so specifically and purposefully hurt someone so young, so special, and so admired?

You also have to wonder what else Bobby Santos can possibly give up for this sport. All we can say is, “Bobby, just know how many of us out here are rootin’ for you, kid.”    

© 2008 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181

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.: Previous Tearoffs :.

4/15/08 - Thinking About Rene Charland

3/26/08 - Carl and Corey

3/4/08 - A Cool Track with Cool Racers

2/14/08 - Doug Wolfgang

1/25/08 - Frankie Schneider

1/7/08 - When Drivers Can't See

12/21/07 - When Starters Couldn't See

12/1/07 - Ride Along with Erica Santos

11/15/07 - Tough Drivers

11/1/07 - Cockpit Safety

10/15/07 - That First Race

10/1/07 - Racing Nicknames

9/15/07 - Too Many Officials

9/1/07 - The Look of a Real Driver

8/15/07 - Being Dale Junior

8/1/07 - Armond Holley

7/15/07  -  Red Farmer


























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