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Tuesday, August 15th
Stafford Motor Speedway

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Wins both the Midget & Big Car Races

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Photos by Norm Marx
1) Bobby Santos III - Franklin, MA
2) Dave Steele - Tampa, FL
3) Ron Gregory - Noblesville, IN
4) Teddy Beach - Donnelsville, OH
5) Kyle Nicholas - Naples, FL
6) A.J. Fike - Galesburg, IL
7) Mario Marietta - Clinton, IN
8) Shane Hammond-E. Bridgewater, MA
9) Randy Cabral - Plymouth, MA
10) Adam Cantor - Dix Hills, NY
11) Ryan Smith - Kunkletown, PA
12) B.J. MacDonald - Dublin, PA
13) Mike Horn - Ashland, MA
14) Glenn Cabral - Plymouth, MA
15) Lee Bundy - Kennebunkport, ME
16) P.J. Stergios - Candia, NH
17) Kyle Carpenter -Gloucester, MA
18) Erica Santos - Franklin, MA
19) Tom Hessent - Cherry Hill, NJ
20) Ben Seitz - Monument Beach, MA
21) Bobby Kuiken - Pompton Lakes, NJ
22) Jeff Abold - Pennellville, NY
23) Gregg Stoehr - Bridgewater, MA
24) Cory Cleary - Plymouth, MA
25) Jeff Horn - Ashland, MA
26) Shawn Torrey - Marshfield, MA
DNS - Mike Keeler - Danbury, CT
DNS - Mike Ordway - Freemont, NH
DNS - Chris Perley - Rowley, MA
(100 Laps)

1) Bobby Santos III
2) Dave Steele
3) A.J. Fike
4) Paul White
5) Dave Darland
6) Chet Fillip
7) Ron Gregory
8) Jay Drake
9) Teddy Beach
10) Eric Gordon
11) Mike Roselli, Jr.
12) Russ Gamester
13) Mike Lichty
14) Tom Capie
15) Kyle Nicholas
16) Johnny Heidenreich
17) Justin Barger
18) Jimmy Kite
19) Marc Jessup
20) Scott Martel
21) Ken Hughes
22) Erica Santos

Bobby Santos Wins Midget Portion of the Big One at Stafford;
Sets the Stage for Big Car Win

& $50,000 Payday

by Dale Wolbrink

Stafford, CT (August 15, 2006): It was undoubtedly the biggest day of his young and promising career. On Tuesday night, local favorite Bobby Santos of Franklin, MA swept both legs of the CARQUEST Presents the Big One at Stafford Motor Speedway to earn $50,000 in the Valvoline Challenge.

The NEMA standout turned USAC phenom returned to him home turf in the Beast #4 that he campaigns in the USAC ranks for East-Klatt Racing and did what he does best-win Midget races. He then jumped in the East-Klatt Big Car, opting to start last in the event to be eligible for the $50,000 bonus put up by Valvoline, and went on to capture the richest payday in New England short track history with his victory in that event as well.

With his victory on Tuesday night, Santos made it two in a row in Midget competition at the Stafford Motor Speedway. First with a win in the family-owned #98 at the NEMA event back on Tuesday, July 11th now with a “topless” win in the Clorox #4 for East-Klatt.

A stellar field of 26-cars assembled for the 30-lap event that was co-sanctioned by the Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA), the United States Auto Club (USAC), and the American Racers Driving Club (ARDC). The event marked the first time that the NEMA Midgets ran without wings.

Shane Hammond was the highest finishing NEMA competitor with his eighth-place finish. Randy Cabral and Adam Cantor also scored top-ten finishes. Other NEMA regulars competing in the “topless” event included B.J. MacDonald, Glenn Cabral, Lee Bundy, Kyle Carpenter, Erica Santos, Ben Seitz, Bobby Kuiken, Greg Stoehr, Corey Cleary, Jeff Horn and Shawn Torrey.

“This was just awesome tonight,” said Hammond after the event. “It was so cool to run these cars without the wing. I had to adjust my driving style from what I am accustomed to. You have to lift a lot earlier but I learned a lot tonight, a real lot.”

“I had a lot of fun!” added Hammond with a huge grin.

Adam Cantor jumped out to the early advantage taking the lead from the drop of the green flag from pole sitter Hammond, who quickly fell back in a cloud of smoke.

“Right at the beginning, I thought I lost a motor or something,” said Hammond. “The car started smoking so got down out of the way. After a few laps it cleared up. I put myself in a hole but we had a good car and were able to work our way back up.”

A three wide move in turn two put Seitz into the second spot over Randy Cabral and Erica Santos. The field was dicing it up well back into the top-ten. The first caution of the event flew on lap one for a spin by Mario Marietta during the scuffle for position.

On the restart, Seitz got the jump and looked as if he would take the lead. Cantor proved to be too strong and after a quick battle resumed his spot at the point. The battling remained fierce inside the top ten. Erica Santos had her hands full with the likes of A.J. Fike as the two battled for the third position. Meanwhile, brother Bobby Santos was the man on the move. From his twelfth place staring spot, he had put his Clorox #4 into the fourth spot by lap number four. The younger Santos made easy work of Fike and handily took the third position from his sister on lap five.

By this time attrition has claimed NEMA regulars Stoehr, J. Horn and G. Cabral.

Santos quickly caught Seitz. He took over the second position from Seitz on lap seven. A single lap later Santos was the new leader, taking over the top spot from Cantor. On lap nine, he had already begun to distance himself from the pack.

With Cantor in second, Seitz had to contend with a charging Dave Steele, who had moved past Erica Santos. The three car battle for second position between Cantor, Seitz and Steele allowed E. Santos to join the fray. The heated action between her male rivals allowed Santos to get by both Steele and Seitz.

Mike Horn went spinning in his #30 on lap twelve to bring out the second caution. On the restart it was B. Santos, Cantor, E. Santos, Steele and Seitz inside the top five. Erica got a great start to take the second spot from Cantor. Steele followed through into third. E. Santos was no match for the charging Steele and relinquished the runner-up spot. Kyle Nicholas had moved into the top five then passed Cantor for fourth.

Under green, B. Santos stretched his lead over Steele, E. Santos, Nicholas and now Ron Gregory inside the top five.

On lap 18, E. Santos entered turn four in a cloud of smoke. Her Midget went spinning ending with contact with the outside wall. Others top running cars were collected in the incident after being caught up in the fluid that was left on the race track. Those involved included Kyle Nicholas, Tom Hessert, and Seitz. Only Nicholas was able to continue. Cantor headed down pit road under the caution.

After an extensive clean-up, Santos lined up ahead of Steele, Teddy Beach, Gregory, and Marietta on the restart. Hammond, Cabral, MacDonald, Carpenter, Ryan Smith and Mike Horn occupied the remainder of the top ten to take the green flag on lap 18.

The stakes were high on the restart. The top-four were all qualified for the PRA Big One and ultimately eligible for the Valvoline $50,000 Challenge should they win the Midget race.

Santos jumped out to the lead once again once back to green. Steele made a quick bid but had to settle back for second. Santos began to get away slightly. On lap 22, the running order was Santos, Steele, Beach and Gregory. Hammond was having the ride of his life, running in the fifth spot.

A three car battle for the third spot was brewing. Hammond was being dogged by Fike and Nicholas. Meanwhile, things heated up behind Santos and Steele. Gregory got along side Beach. He was able to overtake Beach for the third spot as Hammond was being topped by both Fike and Nicholas.

Back at the front it was all Santos. The young gun cruised under the checkers with a solid victory. Steele had to settle for second. Gregory, Beach, and Nicholas rallied in the late stages of the event to pick up top-five finishes. Fike, Marietta, Hammond, R. Cabral, and Cantor rounded out the top ten.

With his Midget victory, Santos opted to take the Valvoline $50,000 challenge. He relinquished his sixth-place starting spot, which he earned through Big Car time trials, opting to start at the rear of the field in the Big One in an attempt to win the bonus.

“We had a good run. This car is pretty good.” said Santos matter-of-factly. “It was fun but I am disappointed for my sister, I thought Erica was going to have a good run, it would have made it better if both of us had top finishes.”

Dave Steele had to settle for the second spot.

“We had nothing for those guys,” said Steele of the Santos team. “They were in a class all their own. I guess now I will try to be a spoiler tonight.”

Steele could have stood in the way of the Santos Team and the $50,000 bonus if he were to have won should he win the second leg of CARQUEST Presents the Big One.

Try as he might, Steele, aboard the Seymour owned #29, was not a spoiler. He could not hold off the challenges of Santos. After starting scratch on the field, Santos took over the lead from Steele on lap 70 of the PRA Big Car main event in the midst of heavy lapped traffic. Santos withstood a late race restart to score the popular win in the 100-lapper.

“I had two unbelievable race cars tonight,” said Santos, after sipping the customary glass of milk for Stafford’s victory lane. “I have to thank Terry Klatt for letting me drive his racecars. I had been looking forward to this race all year.”

It was worth the wait.

The Northeastern Midget Association will don wings once again as they get back to their regularly scheduled 2006 events. Next up is the prestigious Boston Louie Seymour Memorial at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, August 26, 2006.

Stafford Motor Speedway Big Car Race Report HERE

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Wins both the Midget & Big Car Races

(Stafford Springs, CT - Stafford Motor Speedway Release)---

With Stafford Speedway's Inaugural presentation of CARQUEST Presents the Big One, drivers had a chance to make history with the largest Northeastern payout ever offered with the Valvoline $50,000 challenge. If a driver could win both the 30-lap Midget race and then start last and win the PRA Big Car Series race, then that driver would leave Stafford Speedway with a $50,000 bonus provided by Valvoline, CARQUEST Auto Parts, and Stafford Motor Speedway. Bobby Santos, III first won the 30-lap midget feature event, and then went out and won the 100-lap PRA Big Car Series race after starting shotgun on the field to leave Stafford $50,000 richer.

Santos' night began with the 30-lap Midget feature. At the drop of the green flag, Adam Cantor set the early pace. Cantor and Ben Seitz then swapped the lead with a series of crossover moves with Cantor prevailing to hold onto the top spot. Santos was the car on the move in the early stages of the race, slicing through the field from his 12th starting position. Santos was third on lap-5, and on lap-8, he moved under Cantor to take the race lead. Erica Santos lost an engine on lap-18, which collected several cars and bunched up the field for a restart. Santos had to contend with Dave Steele for the lead for the first several laps after the race restarted, but once he cleared into the lead, he drove away from Steele to score a dominating win. Steele took second, with Ron Gregory, Teddy Beach, and Kyle Nicholas rounding out the top-5 behind Santos. In victory lane afterwards, Santos said that he would indeed take his PRA Big Car Series ride to the rear of the field and attempt to win the Valvoline $50,000 challenge.

Santos's run to riches then continued in the 100-lap PRA Big Car Series race. Dave Steele set fast time in qualifying with a time of 18.622 seconds. The top-6 qualifiers redraw for starting position with a "Deal or No Deal" format where five qualifiers choose a suitcase and then the fastest qualifier can either choose the remaining suitcase, or choose another competitor's suitcase. Steele redrew the pole position, and he set sail from the field at the drop of the green, quickly opening up a large lead over the rest of the field.

After starting at the back of the pack, Santos was working his way through traffic with a flurry of passes, taking to the low groove in turn 1 and the high groove in turn 3. "I learned that from watching Ted Christopher here," said Santos. "I grew up watching him race here, and that's where he made all his passes, low in turn 1 and up high in turn 3."

When Jimmy Kite brought out the first caution of the race on lap-22 when he hit the turn 4 wall and rolled over several times, Santos had worked his way through the field to the 9th position. Steele continued to lead, with Paul White second, and A.J. Fike third.

Santos quickly took two spots on the restart to move up to 7th, and was battling with Eric Gordon for the sixth position when the two cars touched coming off turn 4, which sent Gordon spinning and brought out the caution flag. "I thought the race might have been over at that point," said Santos. "It knocked the steering out and the car was definitely messed up after that, but it was good enough to win."
The race restarted on lap-36 with Steele taking command out front. Santos moved by Justin Barger for fourth on lap-40, and then took third from Fike on lap-44. Three laps later, Santos went outside White for second and then set his sights on Steele. Steele had built up a sizeable advantage, which Santos was only able to reduce by a fraction per lap. But once Steele began to hit lapped traffic, Santos was able to close the gap to Steele in a hurry.

On lap-56, while navigating lapped traffic, Santos got such a run on Steele that he plowed into the back of Steele's car. Both cars continued on, none the worse for wear. Santos tried several moves to get around Steele, and he was finally able to make a pass stick on lap-70.

The caution flew on lap-73 for a spin by Mike Roselli, which put Steele right on Santos' bumper for the restart. Steele was able to hang with Santos for a couple laps, but slowly began to pull away, and as the laps counted down towards the 100th and final lap, Santos kept extending his lead and he took the checkered flag and the $50,000 bonus that went with it. Steele finished second, with Fike, White, and Dave Darland rounding out the top-5.

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(STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT) When the Stafford Springs Motor Speedway hosts the traditional Silver Crown cars, now campaigning as "Big Cars" in the 1st Annual "BIG ONE Presented By Carquest" Tuesday night August 15th, the winner could set a Northeast record for prize money.

The Speedway announced during the running of their Extreme Tuesday special, July 11th that if one driver wins both the PRA Big Car feature and the midget feature on the 15th of August CARQUEST, Valvoline Oil and the Speedway will bump the 1st place prize money to $50,000.

The bonus, billed as the Valvoline $50,000 Challenge, is the final piece in a program that will see a number of firsts.

The Big Car event is the first time in racing history that the Midwestern based open cockpit cars will venture East into New England. Displaced by USAC when the sanctioning body opted for a super speedway design, these former Silver Crown cars are non-winged, producing 800 horsepower. 11 rows
of 3 cars per row is how the Big Cars will start their race as a tribute to their Indianapolis 500 heritage. The Big Cars are sanctioned by the PRA.

For the first time in modern area short track history the midget portion of the event will be run without wings. The race will be managed by the Northeastern Midget Association but the field of 33 cars will see 11 spots guaranteed to three of the nation's top midget organizations - NEMA, ARDC and the United States Auto Club.

"The Valvoline $50,000 Challenge has already generated a buzz in the midget and Big Car ranks," remarked Track CEO Mark Arute. "Many of USAC's top drivers like Dave Darland, Tracey Hines, Jay Drake, Josh Wise, Levi Jones, Brian Tyler, Dave Steele and homegrown area star Bobby Santos have already expressed an interest in bringing their midget rides to Stafford in hopes of cashing in on the big pay day."

Several NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers who trace their roots back to the Silver Crown Cars have also inquired about the show. " I think August 15th will be a watershed date for New England short track racing," Arute said.

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