In 2015 Eric Goodale scored his first victory in the John Blewett III Memorial 76 at New Smyrna Speedway. One year later it was Goodale holding off a hard-charging Ryan Preece to take the win once again.
For Goodale, a win in the Blewett Memorial race is as special as they come, but the Riverhead, New York native said this year’s win means just a little more.
“This win is a little extra special to me because of my crew members that were close to John,” said Goodale. “I know I made them feel good with this one tonight. It makes me feel good to have them feel good. This is definitely one that we mark on our calendar that we definitely want to go out there and win.”
Goodale led multiple times throughout the 76-lap affair. He showed his strength early in the race before fading just a bit. Goodale then took the lead back on a restart with about 26 laps remaining.
After that he had to hold off Preece who came charging back to the front after spinning off turn two with about 20 laps to go.
Goodale and Preece got a chance to battle with each other when a caution came out with about six laps remaining. Goodale got the jump on Preece and drove away from last year’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing to take the win.
Justin Bonsignore, Jimmy Zacharias and Chuck Hossfeld completed the top five.
“I saw him coming in my mirror,” Goodale said. “I knew I needed to get a good restart there at the end and restarts aren’t my specialty. I had the car tonight to hold him off. I saw him back there and didn’t want him to get to my bumper. I tried to keep three car lengths between us. Luckily he didn’t have anything more than he had, but I think I had a little something left in the tank if I needed it.”
Wednesday night’s race was the second straight night that Preece has finished in the runner-up position. In Tuesday night’s 50-lap race Preece said he was just too loose. On Wednesday night it was the exact opposite for Preece.
“I was too tight and couldn’t roll the center and when you can’t roll the center it just takes so much more to get up off the corner,” said Preece.
While Preece may have been too tight to try to really battle for the win, he had to charge back through the field quickly after his spin on the backstretch that resulted after contact with another car.
“I don’t know what happened above me,” Preece said. “The guy I think was going to spin out and I kind of saved him I guess. That’s racing. Sometimes stuff like that happens. Unfortunately, it hurt us and I had to use up that tire to get back there.”
After rain washed out Monday night’s racing action, the Tour-type Modifieds now have just two races remaining, including Friday night’s 100-lap Richie Evans Memorial. Preece won the race last year, but Goodale said he loves his chances for this year.
“If we have a car like this on Friday night, then it shouldn’t even be a contest,” said Goodale. “We should have a car that can win for sure. We’ve been fast all week. We broke in the opening lap last night, but I’m expecting big things from this car. This thing handles like a dream.”
For an on-demand recap of Wednesday’s Race Central Live coverage, click here.
Race fans can watch all of Wednesday night’s racing action on-demand on FansChoice.TV on Thursday.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
John Blewett III Memorial 76
New Smyrna Speedway, New Smyrna Beach, Florida