Young Driver Has Potential for Divisional and Two Track TItles
This season, 27-year-old Woody Pitkat has been one of the busiest drivers in the country. He has been racing – and winning – in some of the toughest NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series divisions, not just in the Northeast, but in the entire scope of the weekly short track world; the Sunoco Modifieds at Thompson International Speedway (CT) and the Late Model and SK Modified divisions at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT).
Pitkat already has one impressive title, the 2005 North-South Shootout SK Modified championship, but he looks to add three more to his name this weekend. (Howie Hodge Photo)
This weekend, however, a season’s worth of trophies and top-five finishes may be rewarded with the biggest prizes of them all, track championships at both tracks and the NASCAR Division IV regional title.
Pitkat heads into Thursday’s twin 20-lap features, the last races of the points season, at the 5/8-mile Thompson oval 32 points ahead of championship rival Jeff Malave. If Pitkat is able to maintain his advantage over Malave by the end of Thursday’s racing activities, he will add his name to the list of accomplished racers across the country who have earned NASCAR Weekly Racing Series point titles.
While there is a lot riding on the twin features at Thompson Thursday night, he is not losing sight of his primary objectives; he wants to finish as well as he can in both races, which is the same strategy he has brought to the track every week this season.
“The first race, you pretty much have to ride,” said Pitkat. “We got a pretty good padding last week because the guy second in points (Malave) had a problem, so we’re going there and we’re not going to change our game plan. We’re just going to do what we’ve been doing. In the meantime, we know that we have to get
through the first race if we’re going to have a car for the second race. We’ll have a backup car, but going into these last two races, we may be a little bit more cautious than we were.
“We want to win because that will help for the Regional and National points, but there’s no reason to lose a good finish just to try to win the race. We know we have to finish in the top-five and if we have an off setup in the first race, then we’ll go for a top-10 and do better in the second race. I’m not as worried as I have been the last couple weeks just because we have a little more padding, but that doesn’t mean we can go out and not race.”
By winning the Division IV Championship, which includes drivers from the premier divisions at 15 tracks from California, Minnesota, Arizona, Tennessee and more, Pitkat would be adding his name to a list of drivers that includes some of the biggest names in racing today as NASCAR Regional/Divisional champions such as Clint Bowyer, Shane Huffman and Ted Christopher.
“It would be pretty huge to win something like that. I haven’t really thought of it all year, but to be able to be named with those guys would be pretty cool. I know that Malave has been trying to win one for a long time
Pitkat's Black Dog Racing #99 that he hopes to take to the Thompson and Division IV Titles. (Adam Fohlin Photo)
too. To be able to do it in a Sunoco Modified would be great too, considering I never even thought I’d be racing them. I was given an opportunity with this ride and I want to do well with it. This is the first year that I could gel with the same team and the same cars. To be able to do what we could do this season in our second year, would be amazing.”
But even after Thursday’s events are over, if everything goes according to plan, Pitkat won’t be able to celebrate his Thompson and Divisional championships for too long. Right after the final checkered flag falls Thursday, Pitkat’s attention will focus on his Late Model effort at his hometown track, Stafford Motor Speedway and the Fall Final event. The last points race of the season takes place Sunday afternoon and Pitkat enters the 35-lap feature tied with Jim Peterson for the championship. Pitkat knows that the title race at Stafford will come down to the final lap, but a Late Model championship after several years of trying at the historic half-mile in Northeastern Connecticut would cap off a historic and memorable season.
A Late Model title at Stafford would mean a lot to Pitkat (#48), who grew up just minutes from the legendary track. (John Driscoll Photo)
“It would be icing on the cake. We’re right there and I look at it more as trying to win it for Pat and Marcie (Kretschman, car owners of Pitkat’s #48 Late Model). They’ve been trying for so long and they’ve had pretty good drivers in their car before. To be able to know that they wanted to put me in the car and they knew I could get the job done is an honor for me.
“To win the track championship at Thompson and the Divisional Championship is a huge step, but even our SK Modified at Stafford is in the top-five in points. To win two championships, the regional, and be top-five in points in three divisions at two tracks is something that not many people can do. It’d be huge.”
The final points events at Thompson International Speedway take place this Thursday, September 28th, while the 35-lap conclusion of the Late Model season at Stafford Motor Speedway takes the green flag on Sunday, October 1st. .
For more information on Woody Pitkat, contact Matt Kentfield at (704) 455-2051 and stay tuned for an all-new Woody Pitkat website coming soon.