STAFFORD, Conn. – By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR — Jim DuPont/NASCAR photo — Bobby Santos is such a dominant qualifier at Stafford Motor Speedway that the procedure has nearly become a formality.
Santos, from Franklin, Massachusetts, posted a fast lap of 18.506 seconds (97.266 mph) Saturday to capture the Coors Light Pole Award for the sixth time in the last eight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events at the historic Connecticut half-mile oval.
The NAPA Fall Final 150 qualifying effort secured Santos his 16th career Coors Light Pole Award in tour competition overall, and was his ninth at Stafford, including the last three races in a row there.
Santos, a two-time winner of the Fall Final, will be joined on the front row Sunday by rookie Tommy Barrett Jr., who laid down a fast lap of 18.529 (97.145). Season points leader Doug Coby qualified third at 18.548 (97.046).
Defending NAPA Fall Final 150 winner Donny Lia qualified fourth and Eric Goodale was fifth. Woody Pitkat, Ryan Preece, Glen Reen, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.
Coby, who enters the season’s penultimate event with a 26-point lead on Bonsignore, has an outside shot on Sunday at clinching what would be his second Whelen Modified Tour title. He would have to win the NAPA Fall Final 150 and see subpar finishes from the remaining contenders for an early championship clinch to happen.
Racing action begins on Sunday at Stafford with NASCAR Whelen All-American Series features at 1 p.m. The Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Fall Final 150 will go green at approximately 3:15 p.m.