Joe Santangelo pulls off a timely victory at the Mopar Express Lane Nationals winning the final race that counts towards his points total.
READING, PA – Red-hot Joe Santangelo may have sealed the Stock world championship with his latest victory. The national event at Maple Grove Raceway was his last chance to claim points towards the championship.
Santangelo came up big defeating Randi Lyn Shipp in the final round to extend his current points lead. In addition to leading Stock Eliminator, Joe is also at the top of the Super Stock class standings.
As usual, Joe was stellar at the tree at Maple Grove. Other than two .04x lights, he posted three .00x reactions and a .022 in the final to claim his 16th NHRA national event victory.
Joe opened eliminations with a double-breakout win against defending event champion Shane Oakes. Oakes grabbed the lead off the line but Santangelo got behind at the finish line to take the .008 win.
Anthony Fetch took his best shot at Santangelo in round two but also lost on a breakout. Fetch was almost .028 behind off the line and broke out trying to stay in front of Santangelo. Joe then used a .007 to .144 reaction time advantage to defeat Richard Boyle in round three.
In round four, Santangelo used another holeshot to win a double-breakout race against Robert Constantin. This setup a semifinal match up against Matthew Lisa. There Santangelo once again grabbed the lead at the tree, .006 to .038, and used that advantage to claim the win when both drivers ran well over their dial-ins.
Randi Lyn Shipp, a rising super star in the class, would meet Santangelo in the final round. Her path to the final included two holeshot victories and three foul starts by her opponents.
In final round battle of classic muscle cars, Santangelo grabbed the lead off the line once again in his ’69 B/SA Camaro. Shipp, driving her ’67 D/SA Firebird would run -.058 under her 10.72 dial trying to stay in front. Joe claimed win #16 after dropping to a dead-on 10.385 at the stripe.
All Joe can do now is sit and wait as his challengers try to best his current points total in the championship points chase. We’ll know in the next couple of months if his win in Reading sealed the championship or not.
In celebrating his win, Joe wanted to thank those that have contributed to his success. “I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world to race with Saint Anthony Bertozzi,” Joe said.
He added, “I couldn’t do it without my father Joe Sr., my Uncle Steve, Biondo Racing, Mickey Thompson Tires, JEGS, ATI, John Labbous, Phil Ivey, Tom Kurucz, Frank Tantillo, Mike Sparago, Sal Carbone, Ron and Lincoln Morehead, Brian Tilburg, Jack Sepanek, and Larry Allen.”
For more NHRA Lucas Oil series sportsman race results from the Mopar Express Lane Nationals, click here.