Santos Bests McCune To Win Berlin Must See Opener

Bobby Santos III David Sink Photo

From Must See Racing
MARNE, Mich. (May 18, 2024) – Bobby Santos III saved the best for the very last Saturday evening during the season opener for the Must See Racing Perfit Sprint Car Series.

Santos used a high-side sweep in turns three and four of the always-racy Berlin Raceway to slip past five-time series champion Jimmy McCune coming to two laps to go.

From there, Santos streaked off into the distance, leading the remaining distance for his eighth career Must See Racing sprint car win and first since June 16, 2023, at Lorain (Ohio) Raceway Park.

The past NASCAR modified champion-turned sprint car and Silver Crown ace officially led the final three laps of the 30-lap feature, earning $4,000 for his efforts.

“I’ve been torturing my two kids; (son) Julian likes to win more than anyone I know, and he said dad hasn’t been winning as much as he wants lately,” Santos joked in victory lane. “This one feels good for us in the Month of May, it’s a big win going into Carb Night and the Little 500 next weekend.”

Santos was a second-and-a-half back with 10 to go after getting held up in lap traffic, but when McCune nearly clipped the inside wall with five to go, it gave the cagey veteran a chance to pounce.

“That was so tough,” he said. “Jimmy is awesome in these winged cars, so you have to capitalize on every little thing possible … and he had that one slip late where we were able to make a move. Chasing him when he starts out front is a battle, but we’re thrilled it was a battle we could win tonight.”

Other than a caution at lap two for a spin by rookie Brady Allum in turn four, the feature was run with no major issues. A seven-inversion put Florida’s Tommy Nichols on the pole, and he led the first two circuits before giving way to McCune on the ensuing restart.

McCune dominated the middle stages, opening up nearly a two-second advantage at one point, but as traffic became a factor in the closing laps Santos drew closer and closer to McCune’s rear bumper.

Try as he might, McCune had nothing left to fight with once Santos got past and had to settle for second.

“With eight or nine to go there, it seemed like I may have hit the loudpedal just a little too hard, because we got free and it ate the tires up,” explained the Toledo, Ohio native. “About got the inside fence there late, but we saved it and still came home second. Nothing too shabby; not too disappointed and we’ll go onto the next one.”

Canadian Ryan Litt filled out the podium finishers ahead of defending series champion Jason Blonde and two-time Must See Racing Driver of the Year Joe Liguori.

Dorman Snyder and Rick Holley were the remaining cars on the lead lap in sixth and seventh, respectively, while Davey Hamilton Jr. ended up a lap down in eighth after having to drop to the rear of the field for the start due to a cut tire on the pace laps.

Liguori started the night as the fast qualifier, earning those laurels for the eighth time in his career after a lap of 13.454 seconds (117.199 mph), while Snyder and Hamilton split the eight-lap heat race victories.

An early start time of 4 p.m. meant the tidy program took the checkered flag at 7:26 p.m. in the east.

The next Must See Racing Perfit Sprint Car Series race is scheduled for June 1 at Lancaster (N.Y.) National Speedway. It will be the first trip for the traveling tour to the five-eighths-mile, D-shaped oval.

The results:

Qualifying (best of two laps): 1. Joe Liguori, 68, Liguori-13.454; 2. Ryan Litt, 07L, Litt-13.546; 3. Jason Blonde, 42, Nosal-13.553; 4. Bobby Santos III, 22a, Fieler-13.577; 5. Davey Hamilton Jr., 14, Morgan-13.839; 6. Jimmy McCune, 88, McCune-13.968; 7. Tommy Nichols, 55, Nichols-14.298; 8. Rick Holley, 85, Holley-14.303; 9. Kevin Mingus, Z10, Mingus-14.356; 10. Bobby Komisarski, 7, Fogle-14.357; 11. Dorman Snyder, 99, Stickney-14.446; 12. Brady Allum, 87JR, Gen III-14.531; 13. Arie Luyendyk Jr., 25, Morgan-14.639; 14. Teddy Alberts, 44, Wolverine-14.639; 15. Joe Speakman, 72S, Speakman-14.850; 16. Tom Geren, 11G, Geren-15.047; 17. Charlie Schultz, 9s, IBT-NT.

Mahle Heat #1 (8 laps, all transfer): 1. Dorman Snyder, 2. Bobby Komisarski, 3. Teddy Alberts, 4. Kevin Mingus, 5. Brady Allum, 6. Arie Luyendyk Jr., 7. Joe Speakman, 8. Tom Geren, 9. Charlie Schultz (DNS). [2:01.850]

Nitro Black Heat #2 (8 laps, all transfer): 1. Davey Hamilton Jr., 2. Jason Blonde, 3. Jimmy McCune, 4. Bobby Santos III, 5. Ryan Litt, 6. Joe Liguori, 7. Tommy Nichols, 8. Rick Holley. [2:00.894]

Perfit A-Feature (30 laps): 1. Bobby Santos III [4], 2. Jimmy McCune [2], 3. Ryan Litt [6], 4. Jason Blonde [5], 5. Joe Liguori [7], 6. Dorman Snyder [11], 7. Rick Holley [8], 8. Davey Hamilton Jr. [3], 9. Bobby Komisarski [10], 10. Tommy Nichols [1], 11. Arie Luyendyk Jr. [13], 12. Joe Speakman [15], 13. Brady Allum [12], 14. Teddy Alberts [14], 15. Kevin Mingus [9], 16. Tom Geren (DNS), 17. Charlie Schultz (DNS).

Lap Leader(s): Tommy Nichols 1-2, Jimmy McCune 3-27, Bobby Santos III 28-30.

Hard Charger: 99-Dorman Snyder (+5)