"As a driver, I made a few mistakes early and that got me back in some lapped traffic," Howard said.
The final caution flew on lap 20 for Danny Johnson who slowed on the frontstretch after running in the top five.
Godown took one final shot at Howard on the restart but he was unable to complete the pass in turn 2.
Godown held on for second with Larry Wight third, Billy Decker (started 15th) fourth and Bobby Varin, fifth.
Sixth through 10th were Chad Brachman, Jerry Higbie Jr., Tim Buckwalter, Mel Schrufer and Mike Mahaney.
Frank Cozze of Wind Gap had a short return to his modified roots as the engine broke in his heat race.
Heat winners for the 26 358 modifieds went to Godown, Friesen and VonDohren. Godown set an eight-lap 358 modified heat race record with a non-stop time of 2 minutes, 39.754 seconds.
In the 12-lap roadrunner feature, Brian Johnson of Ashland held off several challenges from two-time defending roadrunner champion Bob Bussey of Northumberland to score the season-opening win. Corey Collier was third with John Schoch fourth and John Fowler rounded out the top five.
"The track was real fast and it was getting a bit rough and I was worried about a tire going down," Johnson said. "It was a long night as we finished working on the car at 5 and then the truck broke down on the way here and we had to get another truck to get the us to the speedway."
Brandon Shultz, Ricky Bender and Jeremy Kline rounded out the field.
Schoch won the heat race for the eight roadrunners on hand.