King of the Wings Results from Pensacola

From the Pensacola News Journal:

What a show they witnessed at Five Flags Speedway last night as the winged pavement sprint cars of the King of the Wing Series lit up the track.

Bobby Santos led several times Friday, including the final 10 laps of the 40 lapper, to win the King of the Wing’s season opener.

Kyle Edwards of Bartlett, Tenn., finished second and Tampa’s Troy DeCaire rallied home from the back for third.

“That was just a lotta fun,” said Santos, a Franklin, Mass., native. “We got some great help after having a little setback last night. This was not the car we planned on running. I thought the other car was better, but obviously this one was pretty good.”

The sprints were quite the spectacle from their hot laps to qualifying where several cars flirted with the track record to a heart-pounding feature.

But the small tires of the sprints were no match at the famed half-mile oval. Six cautions flew, predominantly for flat rubber.

While it has lost some of its teeth in recent years when the Super Late Models and the five other local classes race, the abrasive asphalt bit back Friday against the winged warriors.

The lead flipped-flopped several times. And each time a new driver found open air, they seemingly surrendered it because of flat tires.

Following the second caution, DeCaire made his gutsy move.

He used a great run exiting turn two and pounced for the lead in turn three. DeCaire dipped low on Santos and the two were side-by-side, swapping tire rubber the entire time as they navigated their way through turn four.

As they came out of turn four, DeCaire had shinnied his way underneath Santos and owned the lead with 11 laps complete.

DeCaire go a great restart following the third caution but ran into tire issues on Lap 22 to bring out the fourth caution.

Despite the problems, the sprints wowed throughout the evening. At times during the feature, the cars were three-wide and traveling more than 140 mph, their wheels just six inches apart.

Each time they crossed the start-finish line, the cables hovering above bounced from turbulence the wings caused.

Midway through the 19 cars that qualified, one-by-one, cars began hunting down the track record of 13.046 seconds set by Brian Gerster last year when the sprints came for their annual pilgrimage.

Aaron Pierce’s time of 13.252 came the closest, but the record was safe on this night.

Top Ten: 1. 22A-Bobby Santos III; 2. 11-Kyle Edwards; 3. 5-Mickey Kempgens; 4. 26-Aaron Pierce; 5. 07W-Jacob Wilson; 6. 91-Troy DeCaire; 7. 12-Ron Larson; 8. 55-Tommy Nichols; 9. 22-Richie Larson; 10. 33-Dave Steele

Tonight’s race at Mobile, AL has been canceled because much of the property is under water and more rain is forecast…

Winner’s photo of Bobby Santos III by Richard Golardi

Here are the full results:

QUALIFYING: 1. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-13.352; 2. Kyle Edwards, 11, Wilshe-13.487; 3. Troy Decaire, 91, Puglio-13.608; 4. Sierra Jackson, 25, Jackson-13.638; 5. Dave Baumgartner, 38, Baumgartner-13.736; 6. Bobby Santos, 22A, DJ Racing-13.782; 7. Jacob Wilson, 07, WBR-13.810; 8. Shane Butler, 15, Thompson-14.036; 9. Ron Larson, 12, Larson-14.106; 10. Mickey Kempgens, 5k, Kenny-14.114; 11. Davey Hamilton Jr., 5, HGR-14.180; 12. Robert Beck, 38B, Beck-14.479; 13. Robert Stout, 23, HGR-14.718; 14. Tommy Nichols, 55, Nichols-14.771; 15. Richie Larson, 22, Larson-15.286; 16. J.J. Dutton, 86, Dutton-15.952; 17. Troy Thompson, 115, Thompson-16.159; 18. Tom Paterson, 100, Paterson-27.999 19. Blake Rose, 56, Rose-NT; 20. Dave Steele, 33, Steele-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Kempgens, 2. Baumgartner, 3. Pierce, 4. Jackson, 5. Dutton, 6. Stout. NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Santos, 2. Butler, 3. Nichols, 4. Edwards, 5. Hamilton, 6. Thompson. NT

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Steele, 2. Decaire, 3. Beck, 4. Wilson, 5. Ron Larson, 6. Richie Larson, 7. Paterson. NT

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Bobby Santos, 2. Kyle Edwards, 3. Mickey Kempgens, 4. Ron Larson, 5. Jacob Wilson, 6. Troy Decaire, 7. Aaron Pierce, 8. Tommy Nichols, 9. Richie Larson, 10. Dave Steele, 11. Dave Baumgartner, 12. Sierra Jackson, 13. J.J. Dutton, 14. Shane Butler, 15. Robert Beck, 16. Davey Hamilton Jr., 17. Troy Thompson, 18. Blake Rose, 19. Tom Paterson, 20. Robert Stout. NT