A year after winning a national championship, Jacob Goede went into 2020 racing for a repeat.
While early struggles held him back from a second title, Goede was still able to get into the top five, finishing fourth in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Division I standings.
The coronavirus pandemic forced Goede away from Elko Speedway, his home track in Minnesota, for the first few months of the season. Traveling several hours away to La Crosse Speedway in Wisconsin, Goede said he didn’t run quite as well as he would have hoped to start the year.
"It threw us all for a little bit of a loop," Goede said of trying to find tracks where he could race this season. "It was a different year, that’s for sure."
Once he got back to Elko in August, though, Goede bounced back, winning five races at the track on the way to a seventh straight track title.
In all, Goede had eight wins and 24 top-5 finishes in 32 starts this season between Elko, Lacrosse, and Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin.
"Honestly the season could have went better overall. We missed out on some wins and just didn’t have the car quite good enough," Goede said.
"Overall it was a good year…can’t complain too much, but I always know there is room for improvement."
Congratulations to our 55th Season, 2020 Elko Speedway Points Champions! ?? pic.twitter.com/Q33TwwQIFJ
– Elko Speedway (@elkospeedway) October 5, 2020
Trying to repeat 2019’s success proved to Goede just how special that season was.
"2019 was super special. I didn’t ever think it would really be possible to do, so doing that, that was a really amazing year," he said. "So then trying to repeat it was like, well how do we even top that? We came close, so overall it was good but at the same time I wanted more. Yea, a top five is good, but we want to be in the top three. If we’re going to work that hard you want to try to make it pay off. We worked hard and did everything we could, but sometimes things just don’t work out.
We missed it a little bit, we weren’t quite as good as we needed to be all the time and that’s what it takes. The guys are good and they racked up an amazing season, so it’s hard to compete with that. You’ve got to be on your game and we just missed it a little bit."
Even though Goede didn’t finish in the top 3 in the nation like he hoped, he did keep an important streak alive. He won a seventh straight Minnesota NASCAR title.
Adding an eighth title to that streak is at the top of Goede’s list in 2021.
"It could end at any given time, but we’re going to enjoy the streak while we can," he said. "But at the same time I don’t want to be done yet. I don’t want the streak to be done quite yet. I would like to get to 10 and then maybe call it quits or something… We’re going to keep working hard to see if we can make it."
Goede thanked his sponsors and help for their support this season: Suburban GM Parts and Chevrolet Performance, TJ Exteriors, The Car Lot of New Prague, Getz Trucking, Northern Racing Products, Murgic Racing Engines, HEI Collision, Lefthander Chassis, and Baby Gowdy.
Other than going for a state title, Goede isn’t sure of his own plans for next season. He does, however, know the plans for the rest of his family. His 8-year-old daughter is wanting to get on the track herself, and he plans to help her in her first season racing quarter midgets.
"That’ll kind of cut into my racing a little bit, and I’m okay with that," he said. "I’m excited. Probably almost more excited than she is."
Even though he’ll be helping his daughter on Sundays, expect to see Goede at his home track of Elko Speedway on Saturdays. He has some streaks to protect.
When it comes to racing for another high finish in the national points, though, he’ll never say never.
"We get enough races at Elko. If I have a really good season there’s no reason we can’t compete for a top-3 in the country again just running closer to home," he said. "We’ll see how it plays out, and honestly once it gets down to that August time frame or late July and things are looking good maybe we’ll try to hit a few more, but we’ll kind of take it one step at a time."