RICK SANTOS LOOKS TO BE THE FIRST TWO TIME WINNER IN U.S. NATIONALS ALCOHOL COMPETITION INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. --- In 14 years of alcohol competition, not one driver has taken the win at the U.S. Nationals twice. Rick Santos, current point leader...
RICK SANTOS LOOKS TO BE THE FIRST TWO TIME WINNER IN U.S. NATIONALS ALCOHOL COMPETITION
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. --- In 14 years of alcohol competition, not one driver has taken the win at the U.S. Nationals twice. Rick Santos, current point leader on the Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series, won the event in 1993 while running the S & S Automotive small block powered dragster, and he is now looking at his best opportunity to win the event again. Santos has five division wins in as many starts and has claimed three of the four national events he has entered this year with the Jack O'Bannon / Oakwood Homes racing team. "I would like to think it is my best opportunity to win again," said Santos. "We have been on a roll and the car has been running really well. I think we have as good a chance as anybody this year." Santos will enter the prestigious U.S. Nationals for the fifth time in his career. He competed with the S & S Automotive racing team in 1986, 1993 and 1994. S & S joined the Jack O'Bannon racing team in 1996 and they competed in the event last year. Although Santos is on a tear in 1998, he realizes the competition will be the toughest at Indianapolis Raceway Park. "It's probably not the best track to choose when you are going for a national championship," said Santos. "There will probably be 30 to 40 teams there, where other events will have significantly less competition. But the U.S. Nationals is like the superbowl of drag racing. It's such a prestigious event that everybody who is anybody is there."
Santos says that winning the U.S. Nationals was one of the highlights of his career. Next to winning the world championship in 1997, it was his biggest racing accomplishment. "When we won the event in 1993, we were getting quicker every round," remembered Santos. "We left that event with the track record at the time. They towed us back to the pits on the spectator side after final eliminations. Everyone was cheering and I had goose bumps all over me and a shiver down my spine. It was incredible - one of my greatest racing moments. Now when I win, it just seems normal, but I want to feel that way again."