NEW SMYRNA, Fla. – official series release by Brooke Franceschini, NASCAR — Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
Late-race heroics gave Eric Goodale his first victory of the week.
The 24-year old Riverhead, New York native snapped Ryan Preece’s two-race win streak when he slid past him on Turn 3 with three laps to go to win the John Blewett III Memorial 76 Wednesday night at New Smyrna Speedway.
“Last year I lost a 100 lapper to Justin Bonsignore with two to go,” said Goodale. “I pretty much did the same thing to Ryan that Justin did to me last year. I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by.”
“I threw it in there and roughed him up a little bit, but I did what had to be done to win the race.”
Goodale, who started sixth, slowly started to creep up through the top-five halfway through the race before catching up with Preece in the closing stages.
Winning the John Blewett Memorial is extra special for Goodale and his crew.
“It’s awesome,” Goodale said. “A special thank you to my spotter Timmy (Riggleman), he spotted for John back in the day and it’s extra special for him. So I’m loving it.”
The race distance for the Tour-type Modifieds represents the No. 76 that Blewett ran throughout his career. The New Jersey driver was a frequent visitor to Victory Lane at New Smyrna and had 10 wins in 164 starts on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour before he passed away following a racing accident in 2007.
Preece, who won two of the first three 35-lap races of the World Series, appeared set to claim another win after taking the lead on Lap 17 despite starting ninth. But he faded after the race’s last caution, opening the door for Goodale.
“We just got loose,” Preece said. “We’ll have to figure it out and make it better for the 100-lapper (Friday) but we definitely have a really good car for tomorrow night.”
Racing at New Smyrna will continue Thursday night, highlighted by a 35-lap Super Late Model feature — the track’s Division I in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series — and a 100-lap race for the Pro Late Models. The tour-type Modifieds have a 35-lap race Thursday night before finishing with the Richie Evans 100 Friday.