It felt like deja vu at Bristol Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on Wednesday night, except this year’s race saw a different winner.
One year ago the rain came after the 150-lap Modified race was underway. The race was then completed after the conclusion of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and the distance was shortened.
The same exact course of events took place this year, but instead of Ryan Preece celebrating in victory lane, it was Riverhead, New York’s Eric Goodale taking the checkered flag for the second time in his career.
Goodale almost came out of nowhere on Wednesday night. He started 13th and avoided a rash of wrecks ahead of him to fight with Todd Szegedy for the race win late in the going.
Szegedy, the dominant driver all race long, surrendered the lead to Goodale with about 30 laps to go. A couple laps later the 2003 champion took the lead back from Goodale, but Goodale fought back.
Goodale drove his black No. 58 machine deep into turn one and got underneath Szegedy to retake the point with 15 laps remaining.
From there, Goodale just had to hold Szegedy off on a few restarts, including one with two laps to go.
“I knew I just needed to get out front,” Goodale said after the race. “Restarts aren’t my strong suit, and of course we had three or four of them right there at the end but thankfully we were able to hold him off.”
Szegedy led for much of the race, but he said his car lost grip after the race restarted under the lights.
“I just think that going from day to night, there was a pretty big difference in temperature. The car got tight and lost side grip at the same time. I just couldn’t go into the corner at the speed I needed. I drove it in as hard as I possibly could. The 58 just had a better car. The best I could do was finish second and not wreck the car.”
Goodale’s first win came in 2014 at his home race track of Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. As big as that win was on his home turf, Goodale said this win at Bristol definitely tops it.
“In my whole entire racing career this is definitely my biggest win,” said Goodale. “I’ve been coming here watching Cup racing since I was 8 years old with my family. Ever since I learned we’d be Modified racing here it was a bucket list thing to win. I’ve seen thousands of laps turned here through my life. To be on the same track and to be able to take that trophy home will definitely be hard to top.”
For an on-demand replay of today’s Race Central Live coverage on NASCAR Home Tracks, click here.
Speed51.com will have more from Bristol Motor Speedway, including interviews with the top finishers, soon on the Speed51 Network.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Bush’s Beans 150
Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee
|17||74s||Bobby Measmer Jr.|
|34||28s||George Brunnhoelzl III|