FRANKLIN, Mass. — Bobby Santos will be looking for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour plans for the 2017 season if he wants to run on a full-time basis.
Santos and Tinio Racing team manager Lawney Tinio both told Race Chaser Online on Monday morning that the team will not be competing on a full-time basis for the upcoming campaign.
“As of the moment, I’m going to focus on my open-wheel racing (in sprint cars and Silver Crown),” Santos said. “As far as the modified goes, I’m going to wait and see what could possibly happen.”
At this point, the Tinio family is unsure of their future plans. They haven’t gone much further than saying they will not compete full-time next season.
Does that mean that a part-time schedule is a possibility?
Even that is unclear right now, but Santos is open to all options.
“I would consider part-time an option … honestly, not a lot has been discussed with them,” Santos said. “They have made it clear that they don’t want to race full-time and I guess part-time really hasn’t been discussed. I’m not sure if they wanted to go in a different direction or what they had in mind. I’m open to doing part-time but if a good deal comes along I’m open to doing something different also.”
With the 2017 season schedule not out yet to this point, there are a lot of unknowns across the entire Tour garage area. The tour will definitely be headed south for at least some races next season, but at this point it is unclear exactly how many or where.
Did the schedule uncertainty play a role in the decision by the Tinio’s?
It’s possible, but Santos admitted it wasn’t the only factor.
“I think it’s a lot of factors beyond the schedule though,” Santos said. “The unknown of the schedule is obviously a potential factor but the seasons we’ve had the last couple of years have been wearing on them. I can’t really point the finger at one specific thing.”
The Santos and Tinio combination first paired in 2012, when Santos drove nine races for the team and visited victory lane twice. In 2013, Santos drove in 12 of the 14 races, winning two more times. In 2014, Santos drove the full schedule for the team and scored three victories.
But since then, they have struggled in many ways.
The team switched to LFR Chassis ahead of this year’s campaign after not winning during the 2015 season, but they got off to a slow start. It took Santos four races before he was able to finish inside the top five.
However, business did pick up briefly, as in June at Thompson Santos carried the checkered flag with a victory at the five-eighths-mile.
In the end though, the team struggled as they did in 2015, ending the season with five finishes outside the top 10 in the last six races.
Even if he doesn’t return to the Tinio family No. 44 next year, Santos will forever remember the years they spent together, both on and off the track.
“I feel that I’ve made life-long friends with them and no matter what happens, that’s not going to change,” Santos said. “We have that good of a relationship. No matter what happens as far as racing goes … we will be friends.”
“From the racing standpoint, we’ve had a lot of success and a lot of fun together. We started out with the little experience they had and we won some races and they got the taste of success, that was pretty neat. We turned into a very good team together, we went on a pretty good run there and won races together. They are great people and I love racing with them. I would like to be able to possibly do more with them in the future one way or another. But if it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.”
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for both the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
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