Tag Archives: Eric Goodale

The NASCAR WMT Heads to Riverhead Raceway for the Miller Lite 200

By Michael Jaworecki

After two races in the south the NASCAR WMT season heads to Long Island for its first northern race of the season at Riverhead Raceway. Thirty-three teams have entered the Miller Lite 200 at the 1/4-mile Riverhead Raceway.

The year started at the New Smyrna Speedway in February with Thirty-one teams towing over 1,200 miles south of their normal New England season opener. A successful weekend resulted in a sellout crowd and great racing. One unhappy driver that night was multi time champion Justin Bonsignore. Justin, looking to a for a strong start to the season ended up being the first car out of the race digging an early hole in the 2022 points battle.

Justin would redeem himself with a win at Richmond Raceway in April taking the Richmond is for Racing Lovers 100 over Tommy Catalano. After the disaster in Florida, his win vaulted him all the way to ninth place in the standings only twenty points back of the points lead.

Coming into the Miller Lite 200, two New Yorkers from opposite ends of the state are tied for the points lead. Eric Goodale, who will be racing in his hometown of Riverhead, and Tommy Catalano will be making the seven-hour ride from Ontario, New York. Third in the point standings is Tyler Rypkema only one point back. Unfortunately, Tyler will drop in the standings as he is not entered in the Miller Lite 200.

Long Island based teams have always been strong at Riverhead. Long Islanders have won eleven of the last fourteen Whelen Tour races. Eric Goodale, Timmy Solomito, and Justin Bonsignore have been dominant during that stretch of races. Only Doug Coby who will return for the Miller Lite 200 and last September’s Miller Lite 200 winner Patrick Emerling have broken up the hometown party.

Local Riverhead Modified regulars with be tough this Saturday. Tom Rogers Jr., Dave Brigati, Roger Turbush who finished third last September John Beatty Jr. and others should be strong runners at their home track.

Entry List for the May 14 Miller Lite 200 at Riverhead Raceway: https://www.nascar.com/news-media/2022/05/10/entry-list-miller-lite-200-at-riverhead-raceway/

We reached out to several Long Island based drivers about the upcoming race.

Timmy Solomito Natual Designs #66

How does it feel to be back in a race car?

“It feels great to be back on a more regular basis this year. After running the Islip 300 last year and the Turkey Derby at Wall I am pretty excited to get back at it. “

2. Do you believe you have a home field advantage at Riverhead?

“I don’t really feel that way any longer, the tour regulars are so good, and the local drivers are extremely competitive. The playing field has become very level, and everyone is fast these days.”

3. Will you be running more tour races this season?

“We really don’t have a schedule set in stone. We are just picking races we want to go to. With the rising gas prices, we’ll see how things go. “

4. You are in the family car for Riverhead, does that make you more comfortable?

“I never really worry about which car I’m driving; I always give it 150%. It didn’t matter if it was Eric Sanderson, Tommy Baldwin or my family car, we were there to give it all we got.”

“I would like to thank my sponsors that make all this possible Highmark Building Efficiency, Meadowbrook Collision, American Tent, Couch Racer, Natural Design and of course the support of my family.”

Eric Goodale GAF #58

  1. The early races have been so spread out is that tough?

“It’s easier for me, you have time to work on the car and focus on other things until it’s time to go back racing like family and work.”

2. You come into Riverhead the track you started your career tied for the points lead, what is that like?

“It’s good to come to Riverhead, it gives us an advantage. I started racing there with a Charger many years ago and this will be on my 12th or 13th year on the tour. We only have about a 10-minute trip to get to the track. It’s a different feeling with more family and friends coming to see us in person. Most of the races we have we have a longer commute than the other teams. Three races at Riverhead are great for the team. I love that all the races are on FloRacing. My kids can watch Dad at every race, and I can watch the replays when I get home.”

3. How does it feel to have run two races in 2022 with two top ten two top ten finishes with no damage to repair?

“It’s great, only a few hours work getting ready for the next race, and we are set. This week leading up to the race we are busy with other things, like kids’ Baseball games and Lacrosse games. On Friday we are taking the car to my kid’s school, after that we will load up and be ready to race in the Miller Lite 200.”

Justin Bonsignore Pheonix Communications #51

  1. The year started rough at New Smyrna Speedway. How much weight did the win at Richmond take off your shoulders? Does another Championship feel more in reach?

” Richmond was a great way to bounce back after such a tough start at New Smyrna. We still have a big hole to climb out of, but we are confident we can and will contend for our fourth championship.”

2. Is the spread-out earlier season schedule easy or tough, especially when you had that rough first race?

” The spread out start to the season has been a bit of both purely based on confidence and momentum. The time between New Smyrna and Richmond was a long period of time to have to think of the rough start. On the other hand, the Time since Richmond we have been able to ride the momentum of the win. During this downtime Stone and the team have been able to prep for the next stretch of races and make sure we are fully prepared.

3. Do you look forward to coming to Riverhead 3 times a year? Do you think you have any advantage?

“I always look forward to coming to Riverhead and racing in front of friends and family. We are very appreciative of Riverhead for hosting three races.”

“I feel before the re-pave I had a home track advantage, however since that we have lost that edge and we have been working hard to get back to victory lane”

4. Your fiancée Taylor, being a former Miss Motorsports, she must be a big supporter of your racing. Does that help in a long season?

” Taylor and I met through racing and she is a huge supporter of mine and the team. She comes from a racing family and is very understanding of the time and effort it takes for us to be successful, she loves being there at each race. She may be a bigger race fan than I am honestly.”

Jimmy Wilson Director of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

  1. NASCAR just published all the purse, contingency, and bonus money for the Riverhead Miller Beer 200 and its substantial.

“We wanted to highlight more of that and what we do behind the scenes. People say NASCAR doesn’t do anything for the team well that’s not that case. The winner of the race can earn over $13,000.00 if they hit all the bonus and contingency money. ” The winner bonus plan was revamped this year where $11,000.00 per race is now handed out to the top fifteen teams.”

2. This is a different year so far with new tracks and a different schedule. The season even started deep south during Speed Weeks at New Smyrna Speedway. I know it’s early but how do you see the season so far?

“It’s been a very good year so far with a lot of eyeballs on the series. To open in front of a sellout crowd was tremendous. My mouth hit the ground when I heard them announce they were done selling tickets. I grew up down here and can’t ever remember New Smyrna turning people away. It was a tremendous show, the electricity was in the air that night amongst everyone. It was a very special night to start off the season”

3. How do you like your new partnership with Floracing?

That is doing well and has been received well. It’s great to have a partner that gets it from top to bottom and is reinvesting in the sport as they have done. They put $10,000 per race to the highest twenty in addition to the purse and $25,000 to the teams that attempt to qualify for all the races. The money will be divided evenly between those teams so it definitely there is a lot of money coming back to the Modified tour.

Notes: This will be the 68th NASCAR WMT race at the historic oval. A solid field of teams will head to Long Island including several drivers making their first start in a NASCAR WMT Tour event or their first trip to Riverhead Raceway. Joey Coulter, former Camping World Truck driver will make his first appearance in a Modified at Riverhead Raceway.

Both Turbush brothers, Chris in the #81 and Roger in the #88 will attempt to make the field. Jake Johnson, normally a PASS and Open Modified competitor will be in the Boehler #3. Doug Coby, who won two WMT races at Riverhead last year will be a substitute driver in the Tommy Baldwin #7. Jimmy Blewett has withdrawn as his daughter Layla has been ill. 10 Riverhead based Modified teams are on the entry list. Total posted awards are $83,240.00

Schedule: Garage opens at 12:45 p.m. ET … Final practice from 3-4 p.m. ET … Single-car qualifying (two laps) at 6 p.m. ET … Race at 8 p.m. ET


Riverhead, NY May 6th.
By Bob Finan

Photo Noah Watts/Myracenews

In the previous 64 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races contested at Riverhead Raceway there was perhaps no more a popular winner then Eric Goodale of Riverhead when he topped the late Ted Christopher for the win June 28th, 2014. Eric who grew up roughly three miles from the historic quarter mile bullring was swarmed by family and friends after his first career WMT triumph. Saturday May 15th the 35-year old Goodale will come to the Miller Lite 200 at Riverhead as the early season WMT championship leader and is hopeful to repeat the scene from June of 2014.

For Eric Riverhead Raceway will always hold a special place in his heart as it is the track where he began his driving career in the tracks former Charger division. Then one Sunday afternoon prior to an Enduro race program Eric hopped into brother Kevin’s NASCAR WMT for some test laps and as they old saying goes, the rest is history. Eric not only started racing at the local NASCAR Home Track but he is heavily entrenched in the Riverhead community through the family business Riverhead Building Supply and also recently started coaching his son’s little league team.

After racing and prepping for 2021 at the annual World Series of Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway in February, Goodale and the Jason Sheppard led GAF Roofing team were ready for the new WMT season to get underway at the iconic Martinsville Speedway in April. What transpired in the WMT opener not even Eric could have dreamed about as a youth at the Riley Avenue Elementary school but indeed he and his father Edgar who has carefully steered and supported his driving career where coming back to Long island with a Grandfather Clock symbolic of a win at Martinsville.

Goodale backed up his opening race victory with a runner-up finish April 30th at the 2021 NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway to race winner Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, NY. Emerling trails Goodale by just six markers coming into the Miller Lite 200 Saturday. With his fast start in 2021 coupled with his vast experience at Riverhead Raceway Goodale is instantly among the odds on favorites to win the Miller Lite 200 virtually in his backyard.

Defending NASCAR WMT champion Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville may have something to say about Eric’s early season success though as Justin carries a four race WMT win streak at Riverhead into the Miller Lite 200 and he too will be heavily favored for the win at the track where he was the 2011 Advance Auto parts Weekly Series NASCAR Modified champion.

With a Miller Lite 200 entry list yet to be released it is not known who among the early season top ten in the WMT rankings will venture to Long Island. Young upstart talent Tommy Catalano of Ontario, NY along with Kyle Bonsignore a Bay Shore native who now call North Carolina look to build upon their collective good start to 2021 on the WMT. Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Ma will drive the Tommy Baldwin Racing entry while former 6-time WMT champion Doug Coby of Milford, Ct hopes to finally break into victory lane at Riverhead in the Miller Lite 200. Fellow Nutmeg state residents Ronnie Williams of Ellington and Woddy Pitkat of Stafford hope for their first Long island victory.
As always a heavy presence of teams from or with a connection to Long Island will be aiming for Miller Lite 200 success including Craig Lutz of Miller Place,  JB Fortin of Holtsville, Riverhead based Danny Watts Racing and driver Anthony Nocella of Woburn, Ma., Dave Sapienza of Riverhead, Timmy Solomito of Islip and Gary McDonald of Ronkonkoma. The Miller Lite 200 status of Ken Heagy of Riverhead remains questionable after a grinding crash at Stafford.

The Miller Lite 200 will be complimented by four divisions of racing from the Riverhead Raceway Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series with the Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds, INEX Legend Race Cars, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks in action. The Miller Lite 200 will be streamed live on NBC Sports Gold Track Pass and is scheduled to start at 8:00 pm May 15th.
Campers are welcome and are asked to park in the area to the rear of the pits along the wooded area, there are no hook-ups or a fee to camp. Additional information can be found at www.riverheadraceway.com, the track phone number remains 631-842-RACE. 

Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes: Riverhead

Michael Jaworecki Photo

Eric Goodale Heading Home With Momentum on His Side

 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 23, 2016)  It will be an extra special homecoming for Eric Goodale this weekend when the Whelen Modified Tour returns to the Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, New York for the Riverhead 200 on Saturday night.

A former Sunoco Rookie of the Year in one of the track’s support divisions, Goodale returns to Riverhead carrying the trophy from the biggest win of his career — a win in the Tour’s most recent event at Bristol Motor Speedway. Not only is Riverhead his home town, and his home track, but it’s also the site of his only other career win. The 30-year-old driver won the June race at Riverhead in 2014, the first win at the time for the driver who joined the Whelen Modified Tour full-time in 2009.

As always at Riverhead, though, Goodale won’t be the only one with a home track advantage. Nine of the last 18 races at Riverhead have been won by drivers who have ties to the unique quarter-mile bullring. Justin Bonsignore, who is currently second in the standings, has three wins at Riverhead, and Donny Lia, who is third, has four career wins there. Fourth-place Timmy Solomito won this season’s first visit to the track. All three of those drivers are from the Long Island area.

That Long Island contingent is still chasing Doug Coby, the three-time Whelen Modified Tour champion, who has a 32-point lead with six races remaining in the season. But unlike the three drivers chasing him into Riverhead, Coby has never won at the track.

Race Details
PLACE: Riverhead Raceway, Riverhead, New York
Saturday, August 28
8 p.m. ET
.25-mile asphalt oval
2015 WINNER:
Justin Bonsignore
Tom Rogers Jr.

Saturday, August 28 – Garage opens: 12 noon; Practice: 3-4 p.m.; Qualifying: 6 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 6:45 p.m.; Riverhead 200: 8 p.m.

The Race:  The Riverhead 200 is the 12th of 17 championship points events in the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. It is the second of two races this season at Riverhead. Timmy Solomito won the event at the track in June.

 The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will have secured starting positions through two-lap time trials while the remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 200 laps (50 miles). The tire change rule is zero (0) tires, any position.

The Track: A quarter-mile banked asphalt oval, Riverhead Raceway opened in 1949. The track has held a total of 57 races since the Whelen Modified Tour began in 1985, and is one of only two venues to play host to the tour in each of its 31 seasons.

 Race Winners: There have been 25 different drivers that have reached Victory Lane at Riverhead, led by Mike Ewanitsko’s 11 career wins. Justin Bonsignore swept both events there in 2015.

 Pole Winners: Thirty-four different drivers have captured a pole at Riverhead, led by Ewanitsko’s eight. Chuck Steuer set the qualifying record at 11.546 seconds (77.949 mph) in 2000. Doug Coby earned his first career Riverhead pole at the track in June.

 Riverhead 200 Notes:
Summer Shakeup: The luck was not on the side of Doug Coby’s closest championship pursuer at Bristol Motor Speedway, as Justin Bonsignore was collected in an accident early and finished 22nd. Coby’s lead atop the standings more than doubled with Bonsignore’s misfortune — from 15 points heading into the race to where it stands now at 32 points. Bonsignore remains second in the standings, eight points ahead of Donny Lia. Eric Goodale was the biggest mover after Bristol, jumping up to fifth in the standings, 22 points out of second.

 Local Flavor: There will be at least eight teams competing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified division at Riverhead entered in the Riverhead 200 on Saturday. Shawn Solomito and Dave Sapienza, who have made starts on the Tour elsewhere, will be joined in the field by Frank Vigliarolo, Jerry Solomito, Kyle Soper, Craig Lutz and John Fortin in the Whelen Modified Tour field at their home track. Shawn Solomito has four wins this season and the division point lead, while Soper has won three times and sits third in the track’s standings.

 Lia Consistent: Donny Lia doesn’t have a win yet in 2016, but the two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion has been one of the Tour’s most consistent drivers and is still within striking distance of the championship lead. The four-time Riverhead winner has eight top 10s in 11 races this season, including a podium finish last week at Bristol and a third-place run in June at Riverhead. He’s 40 points behind Coby.

 Coby’s Kryptonite: Doug Coby has three championships and 20 career wins on the Whelen Modified Tour, but one track where he’s struggled has been Riverhead. In 2013, a practice crash prevented him from starting the race, and he has only three top fives in 12 career races at the track with an average finish of 11.2. He finished third and second, respectively, in the two races at Riverhead in 2015, but he came back to finish 10th in June after winning his first career pole at the facility. If the drivers chasing him for the championship — all of whom have had success at Riverhead — are going to make up any ground, this could be their best chance.

 Winning: Doug Coby and Timmy Solomito are the only Whelen Modified Tour drivers with multiple wins this season, with three wins apiece. Ron Silk, Bobby Santos III, Jimmy Blewett and Eric Goodale won the other events on the schedule. Santos also won the non-points Whelen All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.

 NASCAR Home Tracks: Crate Modifieds Join The Riverhead 200 Bill
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will be highlighted as part of the Whelen Modified Tour Riverhead 200 program. The Riverhead 200 itself will take on a weekly racing flavor, with a number of the track’s premier tour-type Modified division teams entering the main event. In addition, crate-engine Modifieds and Legends will also be racing Saturday night.