MARTINVILLE, VA. — Eric Goodale made his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start at Martinsville Speedway as a 22-year-old in 2008, bringing home a 10th-place finish.
Fast forward to 2021 and Goodale made his 176th career start in the tour’s long-awaited return to the historic flat-track, and walked away as the winner of Thursday’s Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200. But for Goodale, it was more than about taking the checkered flag.
“To finally win one feels pretty damn sweet,” said Goodale of taking the Martinsville Grandfather Clock back to Long Island. “It is about that clock. I’ve wanted one for so long.”
“We had this one circled on the schedule as soon as it came out.”
It’s Goodale’s fourth career win. Of the first three, one came at his home track of Riverhead Raceway in New York, one was at Bristol Motor Speedway and one was at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway. Martinsville, though, comes with a little extra incentive to win.
— NASCAR Roots (@NASCARRoots) April 9, 2021
Goodale’s #58 GAF Roofing Chevrolet held off fellow New Yorker Tyler Rypkema and defending tour champion Justin Bonsignore over a final 10-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Rypkema, last year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year, finished .245 seconds behind Goodale. Bonsignore started at the back of the field after post-qualifying mechanical issues.
Max McLaughlin and Kyle Bonsignore were fourth and fifth, respectively.
RELATED: Complete race results
Doug Coby finished sixth, followed by Tommy Catalano, Patrick Emerling, Woody Pitkat and Jamie Tomaino.
Ryan Preece won the Mayhew Tools Pole Award and led the first 110 laps, but faded late and finished 12th. Fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman was fastest in practice and qualified second, but finished 29th after early race mechanical woes.
The tour will return to the track on Sunday, April 25, for the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler at Stafford.
The Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200 streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Gold, and will air on NBCSN on Thursday, Aril 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET.