NEW SMYRNA, Fla. — Recap by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — NASCAR photo —
For the second straight year, Eric Goodale won the John Blewett III Memorial at New Smyrna Speedway on Wednesday evening. It was Goodale’s first win in the second race of the week on the high-banks of Smyrna as part of the World Series.
Goodale took the lead just after the halfway point and was able to hold off Justin Bonsignore on a late restart then Ryan Preece in the final laps. Preece finished second — his second consecutive night in the second spot at the conclusion of the race.
“We had a really good car right out of the trailer and it feels go to finally put it all together,” Goodale said in victory lane. “This is just awesome, anytime you can win a race in the honor of someone like John, it feels good. I’m good friends with Jimmy (Blewett) and it’s great to win this race in honor of his brother.”
After Goodale was the fastest qualifier and drew a six in the invert, JR Bertuccio was set up on the pole for the second straight night, leading the field to green for the annual memorial event. Though he dove into turn one with the lead — it wasn’t long before Preece cleared from the outside to pole to the lead. He took the point and got out front, while Chuck Hossfeld grabbed second from Bertuccio and Goodale slid by into third.
For Goodale, the move to the front was quick and fierce — darting from the inside to the outside and quickly up to second spot on lap four — then to the point by Preece on lap six.
While Goodale started pulling away out front, the first caution flew on lap 8 of the 76 lap feature when Ron Silk went spinning in turn one and multiple other drivers were collected in the crash. Among the teams involved included Justin Bonsignore and Austin Pickens — but Silk left with the worst damage — a bent up left rear that ended his night.
When the field went green, Goodale elected to use the outside lane like many other leaders had done — but he wasn’t as lucky as others. Preece cleared to the lead on the bottom — but he couldn’t hold the advantage. Goodale was strong, diving to the inside on lap 12 and getting back out front — but it wasn’t long before the field was slowed for the second time.
On lap 14, down the frontstretch, Tommy Catalano and Amy Catalano were both involved — with Tommy leaving the incident on the wrecker with heavy left front damage. Much like the restart before, Preece went to the point on the lap 14 restart, with Goodale settling into second spot quickly. He was able to hang on for second for only one lap, though. Jimmy Zacharias dove to the inside of Goodale for second on lap 15, then to inside of Preece for the lead on lap 16.
Preece ended up losing second, third and fourth by lap 20, settling into fifth in his TS Haulers No. 6, while Zacharias held the point. But, before long, Goodale went back to the inside of Zacharias and put himself out front and bringing Etienne Cliche with him to second and then, to the lead on lap 25.
At that point, the field finally got settled in, realizing there was a long way to go in the 76 lap feature event. While Cliche pulled away out front and Goodale rode around in second, Austin Pickens and JR Bertuccio round third and fourth. Pickens slid to the inside and by Goodale on lap 37 as the field hit the halfway point, starting to take chase towards Cliche. It wasn’t long before he made that chase end up out front. He took the point from Cliche on lap 39 and took his turn out front.
On lap 41, Goodale took back second from Cliche and started to chase down Pickens who had opened up a little over a second advantage. That was when Preece decided he was going to make his move — jumping from ninth to fifth in just a few laps and chasing down the fourth place driver Justin Bonsignore before long.
Bonsignore took chase to Cliche and drove by him into third with 27 laps to go — bringing Preece with him into the fourth spot. At that point, the third caution flag of the event flew on lap 50, when Jeremy Gerstner spun in turn two. That bunched the field up with Pickens, Goodale, Bonsignore and Cliche in the first two rows for the green flag — with Preece sitting in fifth.
After two more caution flags and a late night charge from Preece after a spin put him to the rear, it came down to a dog fight between Goodale and Preece — that Goodale won. For the second straight year, Goodale took the checkers in the John Blewett III Memorial.
In Super Late Model action on Wednesday evening, Ty Majeski took his second victory in four tries in the 2016 edition of the New Smyrna Speedway World Series.
“I didn’t know what we had at the beginning,” Majeski said. “I was already a little free in the warmup laps, but it worked out. I was able to hold him (Harrison Burton) off and his stuff must have went away a little more than mine at the end.”
Steve Wallace and Majeski brought the field down to the green flag and Majeski took his No. 91 out front before the second corner. However, his back bumper was quickly plagued by Tuesday night winner Harrison Burton, who quickly got to second and kicked pole sitter Wallace back to third.
Burton hounded the back of the No. 91 for the first nine laps, cutting to the bottom looking to find a way by multiple times. When it looked like Burton had the run to the lead on lap 11, Majeski climbed the outside lane off turn two and made the momentum work — holding onto the point.
The battle for the lead though went from single file to side-by-side on lap 13 — when Burton dove to the inside and attempted to grab the lead from Majeski again — but it didn’t work right away. They battled side-by-side for more than five laps — before Majeski was able to use the momentum from the outside to take the lead away at the halfway point, with Wallace still hanging on in third.
While the top drivers pulled away, Wallace was struggling to hang on to the third spot with Zane Smith up on his tail. He was sliding sideways, trying multiple different ways to get by Wallace as they watched the two drivers ahead of them drive into the sunset. With only five laps remaining, Smith was still trying Wallace, while Majeski was way out front.
He took the checkered flag over Burton and Wallace, while a late charge from Derek Thorn gave him a fourth place finish. Zane Smith completed the top-five in the Super Late Models.
RESULTS: New Smyrna Speedway Wednesday World Series; February 17, 2016:
Tour-Type Modifieds (75 laps): 1. Eric Goodale, 2. Ryan Preece, 3. Justin Bonsignore, 4. Jimmy Zacharias, 5. Chuck Hossfeld, 6. JR Bertuccio, 7. Tyler Rypkema, 8. Jeremy Gerstner, 9. Ron Silk, 10. Etienne Cliche, 11. Austin Pickens, 12. Tommy Catalano, 13. Amy Catalano, 14. Mike Bologna
Super Late Models (50 laps): 1. Ty Majeski, 2. Harrison Burton, 3. Steven Wallace, 4. Derek Thorn, 5. Zane Smith, 6. Stephen Nasse, 7. Derek Kraus, 8. Martin Latullipe, 9. Garrett Jones, 10. Dalton Armstrong, 11. Gus Dean, 12. Riley Herbst, 13. David Rogers, 14. Tanner Gray, 15. Josh Collins, 16. Garrett Hall, 17. Natalie Decker, 18. Vinnie Miller, 19. Brad May, 20. Derek Griffith, 21. Christian Eckes, 22. Kevyn Terry