WINCHESTER, Ind. – Bobby Santos III will be one of a select few drivers in Thursday night’s Rich Vogler Classic field that has previous experience at Winchester Speedway.
The 2015 Little 500 champion was in USAC’s most recent appearance at Winchester back in 2011 with the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Seres. He has also raced with the most recent open-wheel series to visit Winchester, the Auto Value Super Sprints.
Santos hopes to use that past experience in USAC Silver Crown’s first race on the high banks Sunday afternoon as he searches for his first win with the series since 2018 at Phoenix Raceway.
Santos was one of several drivers to take part in the open test session held on Sunday, May 2 just before the originally scheduled date for the Rich Vogler Classic presented by Pallet Builder, making his first laps around Winchester in a Silver Crown car.
“These things are just a little bit lazier than the sprint cars,” said Santos. “I personally enjoy these cars more around this place. I think these are a little bit easier to get comfortable in than a sprint car.”
While Thursday will be Silver Crown’s first race at Winchester, the series does have recent history at another high-banked half-mile, at Salem Speedway in Southern Indiana. While the tracks are similar in appearance, there is one major difference between past races at Salem and Sunday’s race at Winchester – the lap count.
The Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial has historically been 75 laps, while Sunday’s race will be 100. Santos expects the extra distance to have the potential to change how drivers attack the race and the race track.
It’s a potential change that Santos welcomes with open arms, giving him an old-school feel with how to make it to the end of the race while balancing going after the checkered flag.
“There’s going to be a lot of throttle control that will come into play in this race,” said Santos. “I think through practice and qualifying it’s going to be up on the wheel and laying down the best lap you can lay down. As soon as we go green in the race, I think tire wear is going to be something to keep an eye on. It’ll be a matter of managing throttle. In my opinion, that’s how racing should be. That’s old-school: manage your tires, manage your equipment racing; I miss that kind of racing. I wish we did more of it.”
While Santos has a considerable amount of experience at both of Indiana’s high-banked tracks, it has not translated to wins. He hopes to change his luck around Thursday and take the Rich Vogler Classic trophy with him back to the Northeast.
“I love this division; I love Silver Crown cars. To go to such historic racetracks like this (Winchester), it’s pretty neat,” Santos said. “I’ve raced here a handful of times and I’ve raced at Salem a handful of times, I feel like I’m overdue to get my first win in the bank. This one is going to be pretty awesome.”