Santos Looking for Another Winged Sprint Victory

After Four-Year Absence, Santos and King of the Wing Series Returns to Five Flags Speedway

By Chuck Corder

There’s always a buzz around Five Flags Speedway.

But, this Friday night that buzz will sound like a full-on swarm of bumblebees as the King of the Wing Series make their triumphant return since Mother Nature drowned their 2016 trip to the Gulf Coast.

There are only a few nights of the Five Flags season that are more highly anticipated than when the winged sprint cars descend on Pensacola’s high banks.

This year’s running promises to be more special since the winged warriors haven’t run in Pensacola in four years. In 2015, Bobby Santos III who came home with the victory.

Santos is excited to leave his native Massachusetts and return to Florida’s Panhandle for some warmth, a win, and a new track record if the cards align.

“Five Flags is a track I really enjoy going to,” said Santos, who has raced with King of the Wing since 2014. “The racing has always been good when we’ve been there. It’s a bummer we haven’t been able to come down the last few years.

“If we get the track record, that’s great. I know that’s what the fans want to see. But, my goal is to always try and win the race.”

Santos and the King of Wings will be joined by the Outlaws, The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen, and the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks.

Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday with racing slated for 8. The King of Wing sprints will qualify at 7 and attempt to break the track record of 13.046 seconds, which is an average of more than 137 mph.

Admission is $20 for adults; $17 for seniors, military and students; $5  and free for kids 11-and-under.

The winged sprints are annually one of the hottest tickets Five Flags offers its adoring public and with a shot at history on the line, this year’s edition promises to be no different.

Fans flock from all over to the see the UFO-like vehicles.

Some come for the novelty of the cars. Some come for the eardrum-shattering noise.
Some come to see the raw power of these tiny machines that rattle the catchfence and shake the cables that hang over the start-finish line.

But everyone comes for the speed.

Indiana’s Brian Gerster is the current track record holder after his fast lap of 13.046 seconds in 2014. That speed equates to an average of more than 137 mph.

In the 2015 race, Santos led the final 10 laps of a 40 lapper to win the heart-pounding feature. The field of sprints flirted with the track record during qualifying, but no one was able to reach Gerster’s mark.