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Eric Goodale Wins His First Ever MRS Race
by Denise DuPont

The Modified Racing Series (MRS) migrated this week from Maine to the 1/3 mile paved oval of Canaan Fair Speedway in northern New Hampshire. The track is nothing fancy when it comes to speedways, but it is a fast track with a lot of grip and the modified drivers love it.

Eric Goodale, who has pledged to run the MRS when he has an opening in his race schedule, was the king of the Canaan groove Saturday night. He won his heat race, started the race third, passed for the lead on lap 12, dominated the race and then went on to take the checkered flag for his first MRS win.

“Right from the beginning I knew that we had a good car,” said Goodale. “As soon as we unloaded (the car) out of the trailer we were fast. As soon as I went out there I got it in the first five laps, which was crucial. We were not the fastest car out there, but we were in the top ten. During the day as the practice went on we got better and better. We made the right changes for the heat race. We went out there and did our job and won the heat race. We got a good starting spot up front and then we just rode the entire race.”

Goodale did have to conserve the car for the win and his spotter was there to help when he needed a little guidance or reminder. “We were tight and my crew chief just preached just to ride it out it will come to you. I am one of those guys that likes to hammer down and use everything up. But he beat it into my head all night over the radio – “Keep it easy, slow and easy, there you go”. So I really did not start to push it until about thirty to go. The car held up. I could not have asked for a better setup. My crew chief Jason hit this one right on the head.”

A late race caution came out on lap 101 when Joey Jarvis spun in turn four. For the lead drivers there was a lot of mixed emotion. Goodale had to do what he needed to maintain his lead while the other teams in the top five had to come up with a winning strategy for what could be their last chance for a win.

Dwight Jarvis who was in third at the time and has a lot of laps on the track felt he was in the best spot for the challenge. In the end though, Jarvis had to settle for another second place finish. “I knew that was going to be best chance to get back up there. I was just praying that we got there so that I would have gotten a win here. It was not a win but we are going to get one. You can only finish second so many times and with the way that the car is running and the way that the crew works on it, it is going to be a winner.”

Jon McKennedy had the fastest car in practice and reinforced his cars strength on the track by winning his heat race and starting the race on the pole. But the 2009 MRS Champion’s car was a little off which yielded him a podium spot in the end. “It was a good race. We led some of it in the beginning. I kind of got shuffled back on one of those restarts. We developed a pretty bad vibration about half way through the race and it just made it extremely hard to drive. For whatever reason, the harder I hit the gas pedal the more the car vibrated more. It is obviously an issue with the drive train or something. We will look at it.”

So a third place end may have been a gift at the end. The last caution allowed McKennedy to regroup and make a last charge. “I made the best of it. In reality though, we were a fifth or sixth place car. We just got lucky. A lot of those cars got all scrambled up there and I was able to fill in the hole. But we were really only a fifth place car. It was a good hard race at the end everyone was clean. Congratulations to Eric (Goodale) he ran a good race.”

Mike Holdridge on the other hand had a strong car and what one would say was a second place car. Starting on the outside pole during the last caution was a tough place to be. In the end it opened up the door for veteran Dwight Jarvis and champion Jon McKennedy. So Holdridge, who could of potentially had a second, ended up with a fourth. “I think on the restart that Eric (Goodale) was protecting his lead. Probably I would have done the same thing. So he brought me up a little higher than I would have liked. So I had to get off the gas a little bit. And I think or I am assuming that it was Jon (McKennedy) or whoever was fourth at the time that got me a little squirrelly. I did not loose it and I am happy with where I finished. I would have liked it or finished second but I am happy with this (finish) the first time back. I only ran two races this year because I blew a motor. So we have a new motor and it was pretty good here. This is a good start for the rest of the season I must say.”

“I thought that I had a shot at it for a minute. When we were fourth and on the outside I was getting along side of him. That was how I got by Jon (McKennedy) to begin with for third. So I thought this was my only short. And it was either go for it and see what happens. It did not work out but that is OK. Congratulations to him (Eric Goodale). Maybe it will be next time.”

Dwight Jarvis challenged Holdridge hard on the last race restart for second. Holdridge was a little disappointed he slipped to fourth but felt in the end the shift in position was a fair one. “Dwight drives you really hard but he drives you clean. And he will teach you how to race. You just do not want to look in the mirror when you got him behind you because he will shake you up. So you just run you clean. He could have easily spun me and he didn’t. Thanks to him, fourth place is better that fifteenth.”

Rowan Pennink salvaged a fifth place finish after another tough start to the day. For a driver that has had a lot of bad luck lately with no matter what wheel he has sat behind this was a great day. “We really had no practice with this car because we battled that broken axle tube all through practice and we were struggling with the car. It finally broke in the heat race. Then we realized that was the reason why we were struggling all day. Then once we fixed that we were not sure of all the changes that we made in practice and maybe they were the wrong changes to have made. So we had no clue what we were going out there with. But the car was really good out there. We started in the back and came all the way up. I think that we got all the way up to fourth and then just got screwed on that last restart. But I was happy after battling back from the day that we started with to end up fifth.”

Even though he was happy with a fifth place finish, after the last caution he did have a last thought that there may be more. When the green flag flew he gave it his best from fourth but all he did was slip back one spot. “I was hoping that the car #0 (Mike Holdridge) would go on that start and we would get a good start. I thought that we would have a chance for the lead but he pretty much brought me back to fifth where we finished.”

Next week the MRS has the week off as they regroup and get ready for a return trip to the state of Maine and some short track racing at Beech Ridged Speedway on Saturday, August 7th.

Notes from Canaan Fairground Speedway:

Special Thanks to Mom And Dad

Eric Goodale
“The amount of time and money that my mom and dad spend on my brother and I, I just feel do good to win it for them. I hope my dad is as happy as I am. I am just so happy to win it for him.”

Thoughts when caution came out on Lap 101

Eric Goodale
“I was like you got to be kidding. It does not get any harder than this but with thirty to go I really started racing it hard. I am just glad that I did not overdrive it and use up everything that I had. When that caution came out I knew that Dwight was third and I was not as much as concerned about the car on the outside in second. I knew that Dwight has a ton of laps here on this track and he is very good. He is a class act though and he drove me clean. I could not ask for any more that that.”

Driving a modified at Canaan Fairgrounds Speedway

Eric Goodale
“This track is fun to ride. I compare it a lot to Albany-Saratoga. We were real good at Albany at Plattsburg and it is the same type of track. We are on to something here and hopefully we will keep our momentum going until our home town track of Riverhead next week with the Whelen Modified tour.”

Dwight Jarvis
“This is an awesome track. I love this place. This is probably one of the best tracks other than Airborne which is a wicked nice track. This Canaan track is nice and there is a lot of grip in it. The Henry’s that own this place have done a great job getting it back on its feet. And with its new promoter they are awesome people. I wish them the best. “

“You can pass on this track. It is a two groove track.” And Jarvis was one of the drivers that managed to pass especially with a late race move.

During the race there was more single file racing then passing. Was it the groove or teams plans for the112 lap race?
“I think that you see a lot of single file racing more so at the beginning because every body knows that they have to save their tires.” Dwight Jarvis thoughts were on the race rollout. “You have to have tires on the car to finish it in this series.”

And save his tires, Jarvis did. Could he have gone more and did the additional 12 race laps make a difference?
“Hell no, I could gone ten more!” Jarvis expressed with a big smile and twinkle in his eye.

Mike Holdridge
“I love it. The track is beautiful. It is a lot of fun to race here. It is just nice. I cannot wait until we come back and try it again.”

Rowan Pennink
“Once things straightened out it was really hard to pass here. You had to be a lot quicker than somebody to pass them and it was really tough to pass even if your car was faster then another. I think that if I had got up to third before that last caution, I think that we think that we would have had a real good shot at it with an inside restart. But the outside restart killed us.”

“The track is a nice little track. The only thing is I would have thought that the outside up in one and two would have been there a lot more than it was and it would have been a lot more racy. I knew that fourth turn was going to be pretty much a single file corner. I figured down in one and two there would be some double wide racing particularly on the outside, but it really just was not there. My car would not go up there and I really did not see anyone else going up there. That was kind of a shame but still it is a fun little track.”

Racing MRS versus NWMT?

Eric Goodale
“These guys (MRS) race you 100 percent clean. On the Whelen tour there are maybe five or six guys that will race you and do not have to push you around to pass you. I did not touch anybody all race. Dwight raced me real hard at the end and he raced me clean. That is all that you can ask for. That makes racing all that more fun.”

“The officials on this series do one heck of a job. They maintain and control everybody to make sure that everyone follows the rules out there and it definitely shows. Being a racer, I tell you, we appreciate it a lot when you know that you are going to go out there and not get wrecked by another car. And not have someone pay the consequences for it. It is in the back of you mind and it is so much easier. On the Whelen tour, a lot of times you could just drive through somebody and nothing happens. It is bad luck. We have been dealing with that a lot lately and that is why we love coming here (MRS). Everything runs real smooth and the officials do a great job and you really could not ask for more.”

Source: Denise DuPont /
Posted: July 25, 2010

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