When Eric Goodale won the Modified Tour Series feature at New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night, he ended a year-long winless drought.
Goodale’s last victory came at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in August 2016. The win at the Southern Connecticut track came to fruition because of his crew chief Jason Shephard’s decision to “snug the car up” during a pit stop on Lap 66.
He beat Ted Christopher out of the pits and dominated the second half of the race. It is the first win for the Long Islander in the MTS.
“We had just been struggling on the entry of the corner and Jay made all the right calls in the pits,” Goodale said. “Everything just kind of played out there to be perfect at the end. The outside was really good.”
“Usually, I’m a driver who likes to restart on the bottom, but you know, my car was really good on the outside, and I was getting really good results tonight, so I decided to hang it out there, and it proved to be a good move.”
Goodale felt confident going into the 125-lap event. He said his No. 58 was strong in practice and knew that he was due for a win after letting a handful get away throughout the 2017 season.
“We’ve been damn close,” he said. “We let a few of these slip earlier in the year. We’ve pitted when we probably shouldn’t have pitted and didn’t pit when we should have pitted. Tonight we finally made all the right calls. … We beat Teddy out of the pits, and that could have been the difference there because we could have been behind him the rest of the race.”
Woody Pitkat finished second, Christopher third, and Richard Savary fourth. Keith Rocco, the most winningest driver in Waterford’s history, finished fifth in his SK Modified car.
With Riverhead Raceway, Goodale’s home track, next on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule, he hopes to carry the momentum to Long Island next weekend.
Updated points standings for the Modified Touring Series have not yet been released, but he’s expected to be in the top-five after Rowan Pennink crashed. Goodale is expected to have an alternate team and driver running his No. 58 to score points at the next MTS race at Monadock.
“In this series, we needed a good run,” Goodale said. “Go for the championship back here in October. We’ve been kind of in a rut the last month and a half and haven’t been getting the finishes we deserve. Hopefully, this gives me a good kick in the ass keep it going here. We’ll go back to Riverhead see if we can replicate this.”
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Saturday’s MTS race at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl by clicking here.
-By John Haverlin, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com