Story By: ADAM FENWICK / NASCAR – THOMPSON, CT – Eric Goodale entered Sunday’s Phoenix Communications 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park fourth in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings, 22 points behind leader Jon McKennedy.
He knew that to have any shot at the championship when the Tour rolled into Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 27, he had to gain maximum points Sunday afternoon at Thompson.
Goodale stormed from 13th at the start, drove by Doug Coby just past the halfway point and saved just enough fuel to secure his first Tour victory of the season in the Phoenix Communications 150.
“It’s a damn good feeling,” Goodale said in Victory Lane. “Thompson Speedway, I’ve been racing here, SK (Modifieds), since I’ve been 20 years old and have never won here. This one is for my dad. He has wanted this race track more than anything. This is freaking awesome.”
Things didn’t start off great for Goodale, who got swept up in an incident on Lap 13. Thankfully his car sustained no damage and he was able to continue unscathed.
When the green flag waved again Goodale quickly found his mojo and slowly began picking off cars. It wouldn’t be long before he was in the top-10 and shortly after that, the top-five.
Goodale continued picking up positions and moved into second just past the Lap 60 mark. Now all that remained in front of him was Doug Coby, who had taken the lead from polesitter Ronnie Williams on the fourth lap.
It wasn’t long before Goodale chased down Coby and after a few laps of side-by-side battling, Goodale dispatched Coby on Lap 78 to take the race lead.
Once in front Goodale set sail, quickly pulling away from Coby and the rest of the field. However, there was still a bit of drama to play out as most in the field expected there to be additional cautions to allow teams to add fuel to their respective race cars.
As it turned out, those additional cautions never came.
With that in mind, Goodale backed his pace down during the final 10 laps in an effort to save fuel. His efforts proved successful as he crossed the finish line 3.383 seconds ahead of runner-up Mike Christopher Jr.
“We got caught up in that early accident or spin back there,” said Goodale following his fifth career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. “I was contemplating pitting. I didn’t like the way the car was handling. We were so tight. Jason (Shepphard, crew chief) said we were staying out.
“We’ve had a long run car. I didn’t know what place I was passing up to until they told me the 10 (Coby) was the leader and I got up to him.”
Christopher, making his first Tour start since the sixth race of the season at New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway in June, was able to finish second aboard Tommy Baldwin Jr.’s No. 7.
“I definitely didn’t expect the race to go green to checkered like that after that yellow,” Christopher said. “Just got shuffled back in the beginning there. Just like Jennerstown, picking cars off as the race went. Turned out it went all the way to the end.”
New Hampshire Motor Speedway victor Anthony Nocella came from 16th at the start to finish third, with Patrick Emerling and Kyle Bonsignore completing the top-five finishers. Only the top-five drivers in the field finished on the lead lap.
Championship leader McKennedy came home sixth, followed by Kyle Soper, Coby, Ron Silk and Bobby Santos III.
A replay of the Phoenix Communications 150 can be seen on USA Network on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will wrap up the 2022 season on Thursday, Oct. 27 at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway with the running of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200.