The Camping World SRX Series is headed to Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis this Saturday and is set to feature a short track ringer who has earned the loyalty from what are usually two exclusive fanbases. Bobby Santos has lived a double life of a racing career, gaining quite the following in Midwest while always managing to compete and win at home in the Northeast.
From being champion of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to winning big races such as the Little 500, Santos was a top candidate for many across the U.S. to pilot one of SRX’s “Balboa” cars in its inaugural season. With such an extensive following, a short track at the crossroads of American racing is indeed the ideal place for the Massachusetts native to take on legends of the sport.
I think it’s pretty cool, it’s an iconic and historic racetrack, with a lot of history. Just to be in the conversation and to get chosen was awesome.
A third-generation driver, Santos first made in the winged Midgets of NEMA in the Northeast, where he climbed the ladder into Modifieds. But at the same time, he also made various connections in the Midwest and for over 15 years has frequented the Open Wheel ranks, winning on asphalt in Midgets, Sprints, and even USAC Silver Crown.
A humble family man, Santos tends to let his driving do most of his talking. In this case when it comes to representing the short track community, he referred to the comments of fellow Modified driver Doug Coby, in being able to help bring the spotlight to short track racing.
“As far as I’m concerned, Doug said it perfectly when he went out and did what he did. Couldn’t have represented us any better. Everybody so far has done a great job for their situation. I’m just looking forward to my opportunity.”
In the past year, Santos has been on somewhat of a hot streak at Lucas Oil Raceway. He won the Midget portion of the ‘Night Before the 500’ in 2020, and went on to sweep both the Sprint and Midget races of the Thursday Night Thunder throwback just a matter of weeks ago. He has also had his struggles at the Indy short track in the past, and hopes they are well behind him.
"From day one I adapted to it pretty well and was successful right away. I feel like it’s a track where you have to be smooth and consistent. As of recently I’ve actually had a handful of tough years there, the place is so difficult to get a hold of. You come back even the next day and the place is different. Last fall and going to where were at right now I’m pretty confident going back there."
Santos has watched what SRX has done for its first three races and has liked what he has seen, along with the rest of motorsports community. It has him eager to get behind the wheel more than ever.
“What Ray, Tony, and that whole group have put together is really cool. They seem like they’re doing a great job at staying true to what they said they were going to do with just letting the drivers settle it on the racetrack. Its clearly created a lot of work for them, but it’s great to see the drivers go and just race.”
From Indy all the way back to Franklin, MA; Santos will have plenty of fans eagerly watching on CBS.
“All the way around from the different racing I’m doing, I have some great, loyal fans that support me in everything I’ve done. Through the years my fans have always lobbied for me to get an opportunity in a bigger form of racing, and I’m humbled to have an opportunity in this SRX deal.”
Finally, on his chances of winning, Santos is confident that he can get the job done as long as he does what has to do in the first part of the night.
“I hope so, that’s the goal. First is to get into position to win the race, then I don’t think there’s any reason to think that I shouldn’t have a realistic shot.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Rick Ibsen