Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Eric Goodale, driver of the #58 GAF Roofing Chevrolet, from Riverhead, NY has recently seen his Stafford fortunes change for the better.
Goodale won the 2017 NAPA Fall Final at Stafford and followed that up with another victory this past July with a win in the Bud Light Open Mod 80. Goodale is looking to add another Stafford victory to his resume in the Lincoln Tech VMRS 80 on Friday August 31st.
“We’ll be running the same car we brought to the Bud Light 80,” said Goodale. “We’ve got a real good Stafford program going lately and any chance we get to take one of our cars to Stafford, we’re going to take advantage of those opportunities. Certainly I always look forward to racing at Stafford and the VMRS has a great competitiveness about it. You have to be on your A-game to win a MRS race and we’ll be doing everything we can to win the race next Friday. Stafford is a track that suits my driving style and my crew chief Jason has really figured things out. We’re hoping we can continue our good runs at Stafford.”
Getting to the end of the Lincoln Tech 80 is where the challenge will lie for Goodale and the #58 team. Goodale is admittedly not the best when it comes to conserving tires during a race and he won’t be able to change tires during the Lincoln Tech 80 like he did in the Open 80 back in July at Stafford.
“We can’t change tires for this race like the open race so that throws a little wrench into things and I’ll have to be a little less aggressive behind the wheel and try to save the tires,” said Goodale. “I think we’ll have speed in the car, I’ll just have to play my cards right and save something for the end of the race. We’ll need to get through the heat races and get through the first half of the race and to be close enough to strike but not far enough away from the leaders that you take yourself out of the race. The key will be having enough grip left in the car for the last 20 laps. I certainly didn’t do a good enough job of that in the last VMRS race so hopefully lesson learned there.”
For Goodale and the #58 team, the key to victory in the Lincoln Tech 80 will be to conserve his tires. Goodale could follow the same strategy that Rowan Pennink used in the May VMRS 80 at Stafford where he rode around for the first half of the race and then charged to the front after swapping his tires during a mid-race pit stop but he is weary of the risk involved.
“We’ll have to see how the race plays out to determine our strategy,” said Goodale. “Sometimes the riding around strategy doesn’t work out to well if you don’t get that late race caution. You can get yourself too far behind to overcome so you have to be smart and take things lap by lap to get a feel for the race. Our focus will be keeping a little more meat on the right rear tire for the end of the race and if we can focus on our own stuff and not worry about what the competition is doing, hopefully the end of the race will take care of itself.”
After his victory in the Bud Light Open 80 at Stafford back in July, Goodale and the #58 team have had 3 top-10 finishes in 4 races on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour circuit. He will be looking to continue that positive momentum in the Lincoln Tech VMRS 80.
“Since the Stafford win in the Open 80 we’ve definitely been faster and had some better results,” said Goodale. “We haven’t gotten the Tour win that we’re looking for yet, but we’ve definitely upped our game. We’re not getting the 25th and 28th place finishes anymore so we’ll take that as a plus. A good finish can give you some momentum and makes the whole team feel good.”
Tickets for Friday night’s Lincoln Tech VMRS 80 available and on sale now. Tickets are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seat tickets are $32.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles. Grandstand gates will open at 5:15pm with VMRS qualifying heats starting at 6:30pm and feature events to immediately follow VMRS qualifying.