Bobby Santos and Tinio Racing will return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on a part-time basis for the 2017 racing season. Team Manager Lawney Tinio told Speed51.com on Tuesday that the Massachusetts-based team will compete in a handful of races close to home next season.
“What our plans are at the moment is kind of just a race-by-race deal. We’re not running a full season for sure,” Tinio said. “Right now, we’re talking about going to the Icebreaker; we’re not going to go down to Myrtle Beach. We’re just going to race local races on a part-time gig this year. There’s nothing concrete at the moment.”
Despite “silly season” talk about Lawney Tinio taking over ownership of the team from his father Sully, the team’s organizational structure will remain the same. They will also continue to compete in one of the Fury chassis that they competed with last season.
“It will still remain my dad as the team owner,” Lawney Tinio explained. “Driver wise Bobby is still interested in working with us on a part-time deal, so everybody seems to be happy with that for this coming year.”
Since joining forces in 2012, Santos and the Tinios have combined to race 65 of the 73 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events held during that time period.
A frustrating 2016 season forced the team to reevaluate their plans and make the decision to run a part-time schedule next season.
“Last year was just a very frustrating year for us. Our luck was horrible. It was one thing after another. When we were running good, we’d get a flat tire or getting hit at Loudon. Seekonk was a major hill to climb, but we still finished well. It was just constant bad luck that caused us to take a look at things.
“Everybody was pretty worn out. It was a lot of work to try to maintain points and we just couldn’t seem to keep up with it. We had a crew chief change midseason which caused a lot of stress. It was a very expensive year for us as well, which made us say, ‘let’s take a break here.’”
Over the offseason, the Tinio family did consider taking an extended break from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Following a season full of bad luck and misfortune, they were forced to think twice about their future competing on the Tour.
“We were all worn down and everybody was pretty much like, ‘yeah, we’re done.’ As the weeks went by, you get that little bit of spark back,” Tinio stated. “What we’re trying to do is get that little spark back to make it fun to race again. It just wasn’t fun last year. To spend the kind of money that you spend to race, it has to be fun or you shouldn’t be doing it.
“It’s not a business for us; it’s something that we do for fun with my brother, my father and myself and all the other team members involved. When the fun is not there and you’re still spending that amount of money it makes you take a really hard look at it.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen