Old School Domination: Eric Goodale Scores Runaway Whelen Modified Tour Win At Thompson Speedway 

Eric Goodale celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Phoenix Communications 150 Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – A full moon rose beyond the backstretch over Thompson Speedway Sunday evening, but well before its bright light shone over the historic facility things were already a little wild and crazy for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on the .625-mile oval. 

And howling with glee all the way to the finish in one of the most unique series events ever at the track was Eric Goodale. 

Goodale put an old school whooping on the competition in cruising to victory in the Phoenix Communications 150 at Thompson Speedway. 

Goodale, of Riverhead, N.Y., lapped all but five of the other 23 cars on the track Sunday and beat second place Mike Christopher Jr. to the checkered flag by a whopping 3.4 seconds. 

It was Goodale’s fifth career Whelen Modified Tour victory and his first career win of any type at Thompson Speedway. 

“I’ve been racing here … since I was 20 years old and have never won here,” the 36-year old Goodale said. “This one is for my dad. He wanted this race track more than anything, so it is freaking awesome.” 

The second place finish for Christopher, of Wolcott, clinched the 2022 Whelen Modified Tour owner’s championship for team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. Anthony Nocella of Woburn, Mass. was third. 

The event saw just one caution, which came on lap 13 and actually involved Goodale, who got caught in a multi-car mess off of turn four. 

“We got caught up in that early accident spin back there,” Goodale said. “I was contemplating pitting, I didn’t like the way the car was handling, we were so tight. [Crew chief Jason Shepphard] said we’re staying out and I just [bided] my time.” 

Goodale went past Doug Coby for the lead on lap 78 and went unchallenged the rest of the way. At one point late in the event he held a lead of more than six seconds over Christopher. 

“I was probably just about the only car out there praying for a caution not to come out,” Goodale said. “The last 40 laps of that race were the longest 40 laps of my life. They were counting me down in groups of 10 and I felt like it was 25 minutes every time. It got a little dicey with lapped cars at some point. It was just really cool to have that kind of car and be able to put that kind of show on and not fall off that much.” 

Sunday’s victory proved to be the exclamation point of a solid weekend for him at Thompson. He was third in the 75-lap Modified Racing Series event Friday and fifth in the Thompson Outlaw Modified Sunoco 100 on Saturday. 

“We ran three races here, we had three top-five’s,” Goodale said. “It’s a damn good feeling.” 

In the battle for the 2022 driver’s championship it was Jon McKennedy using a sixth place finish to extend his lead at the top of the standings from three points to six points over Ron Silk, who was ninth. Justin Bonsignore, who came into the event tied for second with Silk, was 14th and goes to the final event on Oct. 27 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway 11 points behind McKennedy. Goodale is fourth in the standings, 17 points behind McKennedy. 


  1. Yikes didn’t see that one coming. Why is that? After all Goodale has 5 career NWMT wins to McKennedy’s 2 with both in the championship hunt this year. McKennedy frequently viewed as one of the best active modified drivers yet there’s nothing that distinguishes him over Goodale near as I can figure. I’d bet a lot of us always like to see Goodale do well but based on our Pick 6 and forum commentary not many put him in the same class as McKennedy seems to me. Why is that?
    So the big deal for this race is Silk verbalizing what a lot of teams probably felt. They’re all sitting there with fresh tires and fuel waiting for a chance to improve their cars but never asked to do more then watch. My view you can take either side of that argument and not be wrong. I know I did not feel disappointed in the slightest and enjoyed how everything played out. Credit Joe Coss for highlighting the fuel issue to add drama. We all have to find something to bitch about every race so fine if Silk is the focal point but makes no difference to me. Still respect the heck out of the guy.
    You know what this has a similarity to? The first race back at Wall after a long absence in 2019 was a demo derby. This year clean as a whistle. The first race back at Thompson after an absence this year was a wreck-a-rama. This one faulted for being too clean. Is there such a thing as a collective psyche that envelopes the entire field going into a race?
    That 58 team just grinds it out every year, entering a bunch of events in and out of the NWMT. Goodale’s a cool cat, becoming a more patient, strategic driver as the years go by and showing a lot of elegance. You can bet a lot of drivers would lake a defensive posture regarding their dominance but there’s Goodale showing empathy knowing he could have been on the other side.
    Good for you 58 team…..
    Good for Melissa Fifield as well. No longer the doormat at qualifying time she now has consistently beaten the other slow pokes. Slow pokes that will not take any abuse in all likelihood because they like the rest of the field do not possess an hoo-ha.

  2. As far as I can tell McKennedy has only completed one full WMT season before this year. And he finished second in points that year. He has 2 wins in 89 starts spread out between 5-6 teams. If he can win the championship in only his second full season that is quite the accomplishment. Goodale has completed 13 full WMT seasons with a best points finish of fifth. He has 5 wins in 204 starts all for the same team. He did everything he had to yesterday but might be too little too late but either way it will be his best points finish.

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