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Santos Holds Off Swanson To Win Rich Vogler/USAC Hall of Fame Classic

By Dan Margetta

Clermont, Ind., July 20—After turning in the fastest qualifying time, the night was set for Tanner Swanson to score his record breaking fifth USAC Silver Crown Series win at the Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis Thursday night, but Bobby Santos III had other ideas as he held off a hard charging Swanson to win the 100-lap Rich Vogler/USAC Hall of Fame Classic.

Santos took the green flag from the third starting position and immediately jumped to the outside lane at the start to challenge pole-sitter Tanner Swanson for the lead. Swanson and Santos traded the top spot for the opening laps before Santos powered by on the high side at the completion of lap three. Swanson dogged Santos the entire event but each time Swanson made a charge for the lead, Santos was up to the task and turned back each challenge. A final green-white-checkered charge by Swanson fell short and Santos drove to the victory. Aaron Pierce finished third while Kody Swanson and Chris Windom rounded out the top five finishers. Justin Grant took the checkered flag in sixth just ahead of Jerry Coons Jr. and David Byrne in seventh and eighth respectively.

Davey Hamilton Jr. and Annie Breidinger completed the top ten.

“I’m out of breath, “ and exhausted Santos told the crowd from victory lane, “Kody and Tanner (Swanson brothers), those two guys are awesome and I had to work my butt off just to run with them the last couple years and we finally said, ‘well we can race with them’ and tonight we just got a step better.”

“I’m happy I went to the gym this winter,” Santos continued, “because I am out of breath and without that I would not have won this race.”

“The team gave me a great car again this year, “Swanson said after his runner-up finish,” We got beat the last couple times and they did their homework. Last year we about put a lap on the field but everyone has their programs running like this so we’ll just have to dig a little harder.”

“It wasn’t too bad, the last few years we’ve been coming here and run fifth, qualified fifth and we just couldn’t get our car to race good, “ third place Aaron Pierce told the crowd afterwards, “I think we learned a little bit tonight and at least we were on the same straightaway with them and we’ll just learn a little bit more from what we learned and be here to get them again next year.”

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup driver Ryan Newman raced with the lead pack during the opening stages of the race before exiting with mechanical problems on lap 37.

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Dan Margetta

Dan Margetta