When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule came out, Eric Goodale circled five races as dates he considered ideal for capturing his first career win.
The first race that the Riverhead native set his eyes on this season was Saturday's Hoosier Tire 200 NASCAR WMT event at Riverhead Raceway. Goodale, 27, has been on the modified tour the last four years, and despite competing in 63 races and finishing in the top 10 22 times, a win on the tour has eluded him.
Three other dates circled are July and August races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and a race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August because he believes his No. 58 Chevrolet runs well on those tracks.
Yet nothing beats the idea of winning for the first time in front of a home crowd. If it doesn't happen Saturday for Goodale, he will have another chance Sept. 14 when Riverhead hosts the Green Earth Technologies 200.
"It will always be nice to win in front of my family and friends. It will definitely be something I can cross off my list of things I want to accomplish," Goodale said.
Goodale started racing go-karts when he was 13. At 16, he began competing in the chargers division, and was named rookie of the year at Riverhead. Goodale was close to winning a WMT race in September, when he led for a career-high 35 laps in a race at Riverhead.
"I just didn't have anything left there at the end," Goodale said. "I got a little frustrated after getting moved from the lead and started over-driving the car."
He finished seventh in that race, which proved to be the highlight of 2012 for him because he encountered six motor failures during other races. Goodale said he has learned from his experiences, though, and is now more cognizant of saving his equipment and tires during races so he has enough for the end.
Goodale, who credits his wife, Amanda, for fully supporting him, developed a love for the racetrack at a young age because he comes from a racing family. His parents, Edgar and Nancy, are the owners of his vehicle and support many others. Goodale's older brother, Kevin, is also a WMT driver, but has taken the year off.
Goodale jokingly said there would be no escape from talking about racing if he were to lose Saturday because his family is so invested in the sport. If Goodale were to win, though, he wouldn't mind the conversation.
"My friends and family [would be] talking about this for weeks," Goodale said with a laugh. "There's added pressure to do well. It makes it a lot easier for my life going forward if I have a good showing at Riverhead."