RIVERHEAD, NY — In each of the first four races of the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, Eric Goodale believed he had a car capable of winning. Certain circumstances prevented the 28-year-old driver from claiming his first career NWMT victory, but in the end those circumstances helped to create the biggest night of Goodale’s career on Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway (NY).
Goodale, of Riverhead, New York, took the lead from Ted Christopher on lap 176 of the Hoosier Tire 200 and pulled away in the closing laps to claim his first career NWMT win at his home track of Riverhead.
“I’ve had five cars this year capable of winning every race we’ve been in and we just haven’t been able to finish it,” Goodale told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Finally tonight the car just kept getting better and better as the race went on. Teddy (Christopher) opened the door for me and I was able to stick my nose in there and make it stick.”
Following a lap 167 spin by John Beatty, Jr, who started on the pole and led over 100 laps of the event, Goodale found himself lined up behind Christopher in the runner-up spot. After running well in the outside groove, Goodale had hoped to test his luck on the outside of Christopher on the restart but things didn’t go exactly as planned.
“I was really anxious to start out on the outside because that’s where my car was the best,” said Goodale. “Teddy, being the veteran that he is, fooled me pretty good by choosing to restart on the outside. Luckily, he fooled Ryan too because I was able to squeeze down into second in turn one. We came around the next lap and Teddy got into turn one a little hot and bobbled his car. He left the door open on the bottom and that was it.”
Christopher, who led 67 laps in Saturday night’s race, seemed to have the car to beat after the halfway point of the race. The Plainville, Connecticut driver had checked out from the field prior to the caution coming out on lap 167. When the caution came back out, Christopher’s car became too loose to hold off Goodale.
“On that restart we just got too free and the stagger took off,” Christopher said after the race on Saturday. “It was great when I was running out front, I was like 20 cars ahead of everyone and no one was coming, but at the end it just got too loose.”
The second-place finish for Christopher on Saturday is his second straight podium finish after finishing third at Waterford Speedbowl (CT) just one week ago. He hopes to once again improve his finishing position by one when he heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a brand new racecar on July 12.
“Third last week, second this week, and hopefully we can win at Loudon,” said Christopher. “I’ve got a new piece for Loudon. I’m pretty excited.”
Matt Hirschman recorded his best finish of the 2014 NWMT season by rounding out the podium with a third-place finish. Defending NWMT champion Ryan Preece and hometown favorite Timmy Solomito rounded out the top-five.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on July 11 & 12 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Speed51.com will have more from the NWMT Hoosier Tire 200 in the upcoming days.
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Hoosier Tire 200 Results
June 28, 2014 – Riverhead Raceway (NY)
|8||0||Tom Rogers, Jr.|
|12||14||John Beatty, Jr.|
|23||64||Ron Yuhas, Jr.|
|27||22||Tommy Barrett, Jr.|
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com Photo