Bobby Santos was able to pass Ryan Preece on the final restart with six laps to go and held on to win the CARQUEST Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Santos, who entered the race with a slim seven-point lead over Mike Stefanik in the points standings, survived the caution-filled final 50 laps to pick up his fourth win of the season and first since a win at Martinsville Speedway in June.
Santos’ winning move was made on the eighth and final restart of the day when he got past race leader Preece entering Turn 1 on Lap 144.
“It was a great team effort, the guys gave me a great race car right from the beginning,” Santos said from Victory Lane. “This place is tough. You’ve got to be in the right lines on each restart. In the beginning of the race it seemed like we were in the wrong line on every restart, but at the end of the race we were in the right line, and that made the difference for me on the race track.”
Ron Silk led a race-high 92 laps finished as the runner-up with Erick Rudolph in third.
“We were too tight after the [pit] stop, but our car was still really good,” Silk said. “I just got stuck behind some guys that pitted a lot earlier in the race that didn’t have as good of tires.”
Rowan Pennink, Stefanik, Preece, Glen Reen, Ted Christopher, Eric Beers and Ken Heagy rounded out the top 10.
The final 50 laps of the race featured six cautions with one red flag shown after a multi-car accident on Lap 140 forced the track to make repairs to the guardrail setting up the final sprint to the checkered flag.
With one race remaining on the schedule, Santos will carry a 37-point lead on Stefanik in the season standings to Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway for the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing on Oct. 17. Santos won the season-opener at Thompson in April.
“We’ve just got to go win Thompson,” Santos said. “That’s the plan, and whatever happens, happens.”
Stefanik’s series-high 11th top-10 finish of the year kept him in title contention on Sunday, but with a 37-point deficit to Santos heading to Thompson, the seven-time Whelen Modified Tour champion will have an uphill battle in the season finale to add to that total.
With his eighth top-five finish in the last nine races, Silk moved up to third in points, 99 tallies behind Santos. Christopher, the 2008 champion, slipped to fourth and is 113 back.
Sunday’s CARQUEST Fall Final will air on VERSUS on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. ET instead of the original air date of Wednesday, Oct. 6.