Santos capitalized on an opportune qualifying draw to duck out on the track just ahead of a passing rain shower, and his time held up to win the Coors Light Pole Award for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday.
“I'm just really excited,” said Santos, who has eight career Whelen Modified Tour poles, including three at Stafford. “It's a lot of fun each time I drive for (Tinio Racing). We're not able to do all the races, but when we go, we do it right.”
In the fourth event of the season, Santos is making just his second start for Tinio. He plans to run only a partial schedule in 2012 while also continuing to run USAC cars in the midwest.
Eric Berndt, Bryon Chew, Ryan Preece and Doug Coby rounded out the Top-5 qualifiers.
The first 17 cars hit the track for their time trial runs before rain pelted the Turn 1 and 2 end of the half-mile oval. Santos had been the second-to-last car to post a time before the qualifying session was interrupted. Santos, who said he never got to make a true mock-qualifying run in practice after rain shortened that session earlier in the afternoon, had little doubt that having qualified before the weather hit helped out the No. 44 Imperial Cars/Tinio Corporation Chevrolet.
“I think we definitely had a good draw. It's never good to be early at Stafford – but we went early,” Santos said. “It sprinkled a little bit when we actually qualified. They told me over the radio, 'It's raining, be careful.' But I was going to run it as hard as I can. It's qualifying.”
The Top-8 qualifiers – and 11 of the Top-14 in the 26-car field – all posted their times before the rain delay.
“This means a lot for the moral of the guys. It helps them out, and it just makes everybody happy,” said Santos, who won the 2010 Tour championship and all seven of his previous poles while driving for owner Bob Garbarino. “Anything we can do good is a good thing, so there's nothing wrong with getting the pole.”