Bobby Santos made his first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start this season for Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) in the Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola. Santos started the 250-mile event from the top-10 and utilized most of the race to get comfortable with the draft. He planned to make a move at the end when rear damage from an on-track accident forced the team to make an unscheduled pit stop. During the stop, Santos ran over debris on pit road that ended up cutting the right-front tire of the No. 36 Chevrolet. The 2010 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion finished in 33rd place.
Santos started his sixth NNS event from the top-10 and looked to have a clean race before making a move at the end. The Massachusetts native fell back to the 21st position by the first caution for a stopped car on the backstretch on lap nine. Crew Chief Brad Parrott called the NNS Rookie down pit road for a fuel-only stop.
The No. 36 Chevrolet restarted in the 13th position on lap 12. Santos drove into the top-10 by lap 15 but fell back in the field. He held the 24th spot by the second yellow flag on lap 42 for a two-car incident in turn two. Santos told the crew he was comfortable with the handling of the car, so Parrott called him down pit road for a four-tire pit stop and no changes.
On lap 46, the 26-year-old racer restarted in the 19th spot and again fell back in the field. By lap 55, he made a run toward the front of the field and drove into the top-five on lap 59. He continued to work the draft until two cars wrecked at the front of the field collecting 14 cars in the accident. Santos had damage on the back, left of the No. 36 Chevrolet. Parrott called him down pit road, and the crew got to work on the damage. They changed four tires, added Barebond and fueled the car.
As Santos exited pit road, the car stalled and the No. 36 Chevrolet fell a lap down. As NASCAR Officials checked the tape to make sure the pace car passed the No. 36, Santos restarted in the 18th position on the lead lap. Confirming the video, NASCAR Officials called the No. 36 down pit road for a lap. The team elected to fuel the car during the stop. Santos returned to the 2.5-mile track in the 20th position, one lap down.
The No. 6 and No. 38 had an incident on the frontstretch and brought out the caution on lap 78. Santos held the 23rd spot, the third car a lap down. He restarted on lap 82 in the 21st position. By lap 83, the right-front tire blew on the No. 36 Chevrolet and ended the team’s day. Santos finished in the 33rd position, 21 laps down.
“It was such a disappointment that we couldn’t finish the race,” commented Santos. “When we tried to go to the front, we were really good. I was just buying my time to make a move. Unfortunately, we got hit from behind and our night got worse after that. We ran over what we think was a screw and that ended up causing a flat tire. It’s just really disappointing to happen during my only scheduled NNS start this year.”