GOODALE GETS FIRST BIG MOD WIN AT SPEEDWEEKSby Jeremy Troiano & Matthre Dillner
No V-lane for TC, Sylvester Spins, Sweet Run for Seuss & More
Finally someone was able to stop Ted Christopher. Yeah, Chuck Hossfeld has won one night, but besides that TC has won the other four races. That is until Thursday night.
A new face shined in victory lane. And for Kevin Goodale, beating TC was sweet, but grabbing his first career Mod win was even sweeter.
“I cant tell you how it feels, said an pumped Goodale after his win. “To beat teddy Christopher, it doesn’t get ay better than that.
“This is the third year we’ve been coming here. We figured out what it was all about the first year and knew we wanted to win after that.
“We started out at Riverhead and been doing some Tour races. It is awesome. We are struggling with the Tour and trying to get it right. There are so many hard guys to race against there though. Coming down here (to Speedweeks) and getting the car right is the work.”
And it wasn't exactly an easy journey to get here. Goodale and the team had to haul down from Long Island with heavy hearts.
“I have to thank my crew, especially my crew chief Steve Pontino. He lost his mother (Helen) the week before we came down here. I am dedicating this win to her. I am thankful for everyone. We had the funeral and left two days afterward.”
The big win has Goodale psyched about the final two nights of racing at Smyrna and the up-coming Whelan Modified Tour season.
“All we wanted to do down here was win. We are going to try to win the rest of the races. As soon as we get back, the work isn’t done. We’ll be ready for the Icebreaker (Whelan Mod opener).”
Christopher, who finished second, was able to pass Goodale for the win the other night but had nothing for Goodale on Thursday. Goodale was in a league of his own and left TC and the rest of the field in the dust.
Kevin Goodale had one of the best nights of his career on Thursday.
“I was just way to tight to do anything with Kevin,” said TC. “He's been running good all week. Gotta give him credit for the win. He started up front there and got away.
“Zach f--ked up and then I got into third and got by Eric. Then it just kept getting tighter and tighter and tighter. I was just waiting for it to end so I could finish second.”
It was only the second time during Speedweeks that someone was able to beat Ted Christopher.
“It's not like they really beat me. They start in front of me and beat me. I guess that is one way to do it. We are running good. It went his favor his night and maybe tomorrow it will go in ours.
“I'm happy we won four races and I want to win the big one tomorrow. To be that tight and finish second is good. I haven't finished below third in six races. So I guess that's not too bad.”
OTHER SLM NOTES
SUESS GETS BEST FINISH OF SPEEDWEEKS
Andy Seuss was happy with his top-five finish.
Andy Seuss has had an up and down Speedweeks. But on Thursday night, the New Hampshire Mod driver was all smiles after a great 5th place finish.
“For Speedweeks this was our best run so far, said Seuss. “I'm excited. The car was awesome. It was a little free at the end but we had enough to stay in the top-five.
“Last year down here was my first time in a Modified and we tore up a lot of stuff. Luckily Jerry Marello saw something in me and gave me a ride in this car all year long. We brought it back down here and hopefully he's happy with us and we can go for another year.”
Seuss held off a charging Chuck Hossfeld by inches across the line to get fifth.
BEERS AND TEAM THROW THE BOOK AT IT AND GET THIRD AGAIN
They say being consistent is good. Eric Beers has been just that. Problem is...Beers wants more than that. The Pennsylvania driver hasn't won a race yet in this year's World Series at Smyrna, but again had a nice third place finish at the end of Thursday night.
“We changed engines today,” said Beers. “We blew a head gasket last night when we finished third. We pretty much changed everything in the racecar. We went back to a setup that we ran five six years back. I'll tell you what that thing is a lot better. It turns on a dime and gets off of the turns real good. I'm real confident about tomorrow night.
“The car was the best tonight it's been all week. We were faster than Teddy but he never really know how to hold his line so there is no room to get by him. I had two good runs getting up next to him there. I could have sent it in and maybe made it or wrecked both of us.
“Tomorrow is the 100-lapper and I didn't want to have to work on the car all night.”
SYLVESTER SPIN ERASES SHOT AT THE WIN
For Zach Sylvester, his Speedweeks can be described as a test of will. Night after night he and his young crew work their butts off and so far have not had much to show for it.
Last night was no different for the 2004 NASCAR Mod Tour Rookie of the Year. He started on the pole but spun on the second lap in turn one and two.
Zach Sylvester spun early and it ruined his shot at a win on Thursday.
“I thought I was along side of him getting in,” said Sylvester after finishing 12th. “I was as low as I could go. We just connected. Whether I moved up or he came down, I don't know. I was just trying to get to the front early and get away from everyone.
“It is no ones fault when it comes down to it. Maybe I was at fault in being little too anxious at the beginning.
“The guys have been awesome. Four motor changes and three flat tires. It has been unbelievable. We learn the hard way, every night, little by little, and come back the next night and do it again.”
REED CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
The SK division at the World Series of Stock Car Auto Racing has been full of fantastic finishes and some good racing. On Thursday night, one young driver held off a Mod Tour star to get his first win at Smyrna.
If you know Modified racing in New Jersey, you know the name Reed. Harry Reed was a veteran of the Mod wars for years at Wall Stadium. Now his son Steve is the Reed in the spotlight after holding off Eric Beer to win the SK race.
“It is indescribable,” said Reed. “You get the best of the best from Daytona show up and come over and shake your hand because they know your father. They don’t’ really know what to expect from you. You hope you have a good night, then you end up balled up. I don’t know if I could do it if it wasn’t for the guys behind me and for my father.
“I was sweating bullets those last five laps. I think I said some things you can’t say in an interview. Eric beers was behind me and he ran me real clean. He got outside me one time and I almost lost the race. Eric is the gentleman and I was able to hold him off.”
Steve Reed had a big night in the SKs.
And as for the proud papa...
“We decided last year to get him out a little bit to see some other racetracks. I am just very proud of him. He's a good little racecar driver. It's pretty special. The kid took to the track real quick.”
OTHER MOD NOTES....
If you thought you were seeing double at Smyrna on Thursday, well you sort of were but not. Teddy Christopher's twin brother Mike, was behind the wheel of Joe Brady's #00 back-up car as a teammate to his brother. Mike finished 11th.
Donny Lia had his second good run in a week filled with frustration. Lia won the pole with the quickest time in qualifying. After the redraw, Lia started 7tha and wound up 4th right behind Beers at the finish of the feature.
Eddie Flemke and the Roger Hill owned “Hillbilly Racing” team worked on their tore up racecar and had it ready to go after hard contact with the wall on Wednesday. Flemke finished 8th. The team will unload their other car for the big Richie Evans Memorial 100 on Friday night.