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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour


Goodale Finally Seals The Deal! by Denise DuPont

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) came to Stafford Motor Speedway as part of the forty-fifth NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend. With the 2017 race year winding down teams are stepping up their strategies and plans as position becomes more important. It was a weekend where champions for local divisions were crowned, the iconic #13 of Ted Christopher was retired and the NWMT ran the first of their last two races for this season.

Earlier in the day Keith Rocco won the SK Modified race and track championship. It was an emotional moment for Rocco in victory lane. He expressed his emotions with the following words: "This is a tough one. This is for the whole Christopher family and team. I really wish that things were different here today."

There were twenty-seven NWMT modifieds lined up on pit road for driver intros. As drivers strapped into their cars, they were all hoping this was going to be their day to bring home a trophy and the bragging rights of winning the Fall Final at Stafford. In the end Eric Goodale of Riverhead, NY won his first ever modified race at Stafford. Something that he had wished for since he was a youngster.

“Stafford is one of those places that you dream of winning when you are a little kid. I came up here and watched races when I was about 7 or 8. To be here and I finally win a race here is great.” Goodale said about fulfilling his dream. “We have a lot of races under our belt here racing on the tour the last eight years. We have come close many times but it feels good to finally seal the deal – get to victory lane here to be among the names of those like Ted Christopher, who was the king here.”

With three to go Goodale made his move and using lapped traffic to his advantage passed Preece for the lead. Coming out of turn three Goodale went for the front position and did not let up until it was his. “I think he (Ted Christopher) would have approved of the move at the end. I tried not to rough up Ryan too bad to make sure he could fall in behind me. With five laps or whatever how many to go it was my opportunity to get him. I had to then take control. It all worked out in the end and here we are.”

Ryan Preece from Berlin, CT won the Coor’s Light Pole Award, started first and led 135 of the 150 lap race. In the end though, tire and pitting strategy may have been the key to the win and loss.

Just past lap 100, Preece started to slow on the track and knew he needed a caution to pit for fresh rubber. When the opportunity came with 39 laps to go, Preece led the field down pit road. “I was forced to come in around lap 111,” exclaimed Preece. “At that point you do not know if it is going to be a wreck fest so track position becomes a key.”

Preece came back out with a strong car. Goodale though have possibly a left rear tire that may have won him the race. “Towards the end of the race the car did not go away. Jason (Shepard) made a good strategy for Eric. I think he took rears and then he took right sides. The left rear was what made the difference though. I kind of hoped that my left rear was good enough to hold him off.”

But Preece could not hold off Goodale and he had to settle for a second place finish. “It was a good day and we led a lot of laps, but we did not win the race. We did what we could. It is funny when you are mad at finishing second! I am really proud of everybody on the #6 team. Ultimately it was a good day,” confessed Preece. “I did not win the race but we did what we could and it is what it is. We had speed and a good run. It was a good day.”

Ron Silk of Nowalk, CT finished the 150 lap race third. The same position that he started in. “We made a couple of adjustments before we took our tires and got the car a little bit better. Guys that took tires before me I just let them go and I found a safe spot to ride.” Silk said about the handling of the #85 modified. “I waited until the end to take my tires. Once we put the rear tires on, we were just a little too tight at the end of the race to go. So things worked out for us. I had all I could to hold Chase (Dowling) off. Third was a good run. I did not have anything for those guys in front of me. I want to thank Stuarts Automotive and everyone that helps out it has been a good time.”

Chase Dowling finished fourth followed by Timmy Solomito for fifth. Justin Bonsignore, Doug Coby, Bobby Santos, Craig Lutz and Kyle Bonsignore round off the top ten finishers.

NWMT teams packed up their haulers and headed home. They will now have two weeks to refresh and get their modifieds ready for World Series Weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Notes from Stafford Motor Speedway:

Did you think that tires played a part in today’s win?

Eric Goodale

“The only thing I was nervous about changing tires was I knew that he (Preece) did not pit before. Where we came in and took two tires -- we took right side tires earlier on. That proved to be the right move because I think that right front is what won me the race. I was just nervous that a few people were going to take just one tire with only a few laps left and we would get mired in the back of the pack. My pit crew killed it today. We were not always the first one in but we were always the first one out. That is valuable track position here on a track that is predominately hard to pass. We made up some positions in the pits. My hats off to my crew, they had a big role in this win today.”

Was Preece aware that Goodale was there knocking on the door at race end?

Ryan Preece

“As soon as I started to pull away and he came in, I knew he took a left rear. So I figured his car was going to be a little tight. Then the lapped cars did not get out of the way. When it comes down to ten to go a half a car length matters at that point. It becomes frustrating. I was going to try to hold him off but it was going to be too hard. I had beat up my left rear too hard. At the end of the day it is still a good day.”

What are you thoughts going into Thompson and the NWMT Championship?

Ryan Preece

“My worst finish since the wreck at Thompson was a fourth which is a fantastic year. It sucks that you cannot win the Championship. Theoretically I am not out of it, but I am really going to have to have a lot of luck at Thompson to make something happen. We will see. I will run the best I can.”

Your thoughts after two NWMT races in the #85 modified?

Ron Silk

“I am happy. We had good speed at Loudon and ran well. And we had speed again today. It is too bad this season is coming to an end. But I am looking forward to Thompson.”
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: October 1, 2017

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