From Bad To First: Eric Goodale Wins Whelen Mod Tour Season Opener At Martinsville

Eric Goodale (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

It’s fair to say the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season is one Eric Goodale certainly wanted to forget about. 

Goodale had an average finish of 16.9 over nine series events in 2020, which marked his second worst season in 12 full-time years racing in the division. His best finish of the season was a ninth place in the third event of the year, which marked his only top-10 finish. He was 13th or worse in the other eight events. 

Thursday at Martinsville Speedway Goodale found the perfect elixir to put the misery of 2020 far behind. 

Goodale, of Riverhead, N.Y. held off Tyler Rypkema to win the Whelen Modified Tour season opening Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200 at Martinsville Speedway.Β 

“Martinsville has just always been cool to me,” Goodale said. “It was the place of my first Whelen Modified Tour starts. It feels good to polish one off here. I knew we were good when we unloaded here and we just needed to play our cards right and it ended up being pretty damn good at the end of the day.”

It marked the first Whelen Modified Tour event at Martinsville since 2010. 

Rypkema was second and reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore third. 

It was the fourth career Whelen Modified Tour victory for Goodale, and his first since October 1, 2017 at Stafford Motor Speedway. 

Goodale went by Max McLaughlin for second place on lap 34 then set sail in pursuit of Bonsignore out front. 

On lap 166 Goodale gave Bonsignore a couple taps to the rear but shaken up Bonsignore was able to wrangle his ride back in. 

But four laps later Goodale was able to get Bonsignore up the track just enough to find the low lane to take over the lead. Rypkema followed to second. 

Rypkema dogged Goodales bumper for the final 10 laps, but had to settle for second. 

McLaughin, making his second Whelen Modified Tour start, was fourth. McLaughlin was also fourth in his only other series start last September in the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford. Kyle Bonsignore was fifth. 

Doug Coby, Tommy Catalano, Patrick Emerling, Woody Pitkat and Jamie Tomaino rounded out the top-10 respectively. 


  1. Now see this is what you want in an opener and any race isn’t it…….unpredictability. The forum heavily in favor of Preece for the win and he looked the part for a while. But ya know you have to respect the regulars that do this full time and they showed they knew what it took to be in the mix at the end as the 6 faded. The 51 from the rear was magnificent. Missing the initial wreck, slicing and dicing, doing just the right thing in pit stops and methodically marching to the front. Not even flinching as Goodale gets into his left rear a couple times. I do believe you could actually see the bump steer working in the apex of the corner as he exited with maximum traction like the car was shot out of a cannon. But Goodale would not be denied. We love Goodale don’t we. He goes everywhere, supports all the modified events and that counts for a lot even if he’s not your main guy. Terrible season last year, he looked racy at New Smyrna and it wasn’t a fluke. Goodale/Rypkema at the end had me twitching seeing as how Rypkema spun the 58 out of a good finish in New Smyrna but clearly learned his lesson.
    The bad news is the 51 team is once again in the catbird seat. Had every possible disadvantage working against them and comes out with yet another top five in what seems to be an endless string of good finishes. Owner, team, resources, driver. They just have it all and in my view have no peer for this season anyway.

  2. Congratulations to Goodale.

    What a way to put 2020 behind.

    Hope he can keep it going like this. He can do it, just has to stop getting in trouble.

  3. I am so glad I did not attend this event. Boy, I made the right call. After the rain delay and the first couple cautions, my wife said, “Bet you’re glad you didn’t go to this one.” I’m the luckiest man in the world. Streaming this was indeed the way to go.

    Don’t feel sorry for 🌈JD🌈 at all. πŸ˜›πŸ˜πŸ˜›πŸ˜πŸ˜›

    Sometimes we get a stinker, and this was one of them. What a shame for such a historical track.

    Feel for Preece, looks like there was a far less than optimum pit stop that put him way back. Too bad. He had a great car. He planned of taking tires later than others, but the stop was a mess, had to go back in. He would have had the freshest tires and could have ruled.

    Not much racing going on overall, just a whole bunch of cars burning off tires and falling off, letting those with tires survive.

    Congratulations to Goodale, hope this gets that monkey off his back and he carries this through the season.

  4. Where was big money Matt? I forgot his plan go race and win against the lesser saying πŸ€”

  5. Nice run Eric!!!! They were going to have to shoot out his tires to get him out of that front spot with 2 to

  6. β€œI am so glad I did not attend this event. Boy, I made the right call. After the rain delay and the first couple cautions, my wife said, β€œBet you’re glad you didn’t go to this one.” I’m the luckiest man in the world”.

    Really? We all know you weren’t going anyway. What a BS artist you are. πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚

  7. when will this series have same day live tv coverage?Instead of delay showing.Who wants to watch a rerun?

  8. Mike,
    They do have live streaming of every event through NBC Track Pass.

  9. πŸŒˆπŸ¦„2020 says

    Yeah ok Dafella. A very short rain delay and some wrecks is the reason why you’re happy for staying home. Paaalease

  10. Both Goodale and Rypkema were fast at New Smyrna at times so this should not be that great a surprise. Looking ahead this sets up well for Goodale. At one time he hated Stafford but now it’s one of his best tracks. He knows it like the back of his hand racing in the opens there and has won in both series. The 51 doesn’t have his Thompson binky this time around to turbo charge his points count as a winner and bonus points accumulator. He’ll win the championship of that I’m confident but it may prove to be more of a race to race struggle this time around. The plot thickens going into race number 2 with all eyes on Goodale to see if he can actually be a player in the championship this year. In 2021 the 58 team may just be what the 85 team was in 2019 but you have to finish races in a shortened schedule because you know the 51 will.

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