AUDIO/RECAP: Goodale Beats The Rain & Szegedy To Win Whelen Mod Race At Bristol

Kyle Souza 0 Comments

Eric Goodale celebrates his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour combination race win Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. (CSP/Brent Seelman photo)

Eric Goodale celebrates his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour combination race win Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. (CSP/Brent Seelman photo)

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway was a dream come true for Riverhead, New York driver Eric Goodale.

Goodale captured his second career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory on the 0.533-mile high-banks of Bristol and was emotional following the race while celebrating with a smile in victory lane.

He finally was able to carry the checkered flag in one of the Whelen Modified Tour’s most prestigious races and couldn’t have been happier to have accomplished the feat.

“I’m both hold and cold, I get a chill from the AC but then I start sweating because I can’t believe we just won at Bristol,” Goodale told Race Chaser Online. “These wins are so hard to come by. I squandered away a chance to win a race probably once or twice earlier this season and I wasn’t going to do it this time.”

Goodale got away on a final green-white-checkered restart in a race that was started, rain-delayed and ultimately shortened to 100 laps. On the two-lap sprint, polesitter and race-long dominator Todd Szegedy got sideways and much of the field had to checkup to avoid running into the back of Szegedy’s No. 05.

From there, Goodale was able to basically coast around in the final few turns, throwing his hand out the window and capturing glory at ‘Thunder Valley’.

He quietly qualified 13th on Wednesday and slowly worked his way up through the field, avoiding many wrecks in route to the front of the pack. He restarted in the top-five after a rain delay and red flag that lasted more than four hours and quickly moved to the front.

He put Donny Lia in his rear-view mirror quickly, then went after polesitter Szegedy at the front of the field. He swapped the lead back and forth with Szegedy a few times in the final 40 laps, but before long, it was clear he was going to be the car to beat down the stretch.

The final green-white-checkered restart was one that Goodale nailed, and in the end he rolled up the hill and into Bristol victory lane with a huge smile on his face.

“I had about three hours to think about it there during the rain delay,” Goodale said. “I thought I had the best car out there before the rain delay so once the green came back out and I realized we still had a good car, I knew I had to make a move to the front and try and hold them guys off. Todd raced me really hard at the end. The lower groove was really working today and my car was hooked up so we were able to pull away from them.”

Szegedy, who led the most laps in the race after starting from the pole, restarted second on the final restart but nearly crashed going down the backstretch. He was able to gather the car without going around, but the miscue allowed Goodale to get away, forcing the veteran to settle for second for the third time in his career at Bristol.

Szegedy admitted after the race that Goodale had just a little bit better car in the final laps.

“Eric had the better car, all I could do was drive as hard as I could and hang onto it,” Szegedy said. “I tried to keep him behind me, but he was just too good through the center. But there’s nothing you can do, all you can do is drive as hard as you can and not wreck the car and that’s what I did tonight.”

Donny Lia continued his hot streak on the tour with a third place run, while Patrick Emerling finished fourth. Defending series champion Doug Coby completed the top five, followed by 2015 race winner Ryan Preece.

Bobby Santos, Ron Silk, Kyle Ebersole and Jeff Goodale rounded out the top-10.

With his ninth place finish, Ebersole was credited with the win for the NASAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, his third series victory in that division.

Before the rain delay in Wednesday’s Bush’s Beans 150, multiple top contenders were sidelined due to crashes on the high-banks of Bristol.

Justin Bonsignore, who came into the race second in the Whelen Modified Tour point standings, was running second on lap 53 when his car suddenly shot to the right on the exit of turn four and went hard into the outside wall.

“I’m OK,” Bonsignore said, but his championship hopes took a massive hit after he finished 33rd behind the wheel of his No. 51 M3 Technology ride for car owner Ken Massa.

George Brunnnhoelzl III and Rob Summers were also collected in Bonsignore’s crash. Though he was not involved in the same one as Bonsignore and Brunnhoelzl, Rowan Pennink was also sidelined during the first 55 laps due to damage from a crash. It marks the third straight DNF for the BRE Racing team.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on Sat. Aug. 27 at Riverhead Raceway, the second of two stops at the quarter-mile bullring in 2016. The first race at Riverhead this year was won by Timmy Solomito.

 

Audio with race winner Eric Goodale:

Audio with second place Todd Szegedy:

 

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