Woody Pitkat Closes in On Whelen All-American Point Lead
Three Rides at Two Connecticut Tracks Keeps This Racer Busy
Woody Pitkat hasn’t had enough time to look at the points. Which is just fine with him, since all his free time is spent racing or working in the shop.
“I’m getting paid to do what I love to do,” Pitkat said, “which is work on race cars.”
While Pitkat hasn’t been paying attention to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings, he has been steadily climbing the ranks. A pair of runner-up finishes this past weekend moved the Stafford, Conn., driver from fifth to second in the overall standings.
“Really?” Pitkat said. “Nobody ever tells me anything. Just like last year.”
The 28-year-old Pitkat won the NASCAR Division IV championship last season under the old points format. He drives a Modified at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway and Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. He also is attempting to defend his Late Model championship at Stafford, while working on James Civali’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car during the week.
And he was tabbed as a mid-season replacement in another NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ride, finishing 10th and 14th in his first two starts.
“I’m driving so many cars right now, I don’t have any pressure,” Pitkat said.
Pitkat is second in points in the SK Modified at Stafford, trailing only 2001 national champion Ted Christopher. Pitkat is third in points in his Sunoco Modified at Thompson.
Together, Pitkat has two wins, 10 top fives and 13 top 10s in 16 races.
He has 606 points, trailing only Guy Jubinville of Autodrome St. Eustache in Quebec. Jubinville (610 points) took away first place from Jean Francois Bouvrette, also of Autodrome St. Eustache, after finishing first and fourth in twin features. Bouvrette dropped to third with 602 points.
Jamey Caudill of Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, N.C., is fourth with 584 points. Kerry Malone, Pitkat’s teammate at Stafford and who also runs at Thompson, is fifth with 570 points.
Keith Rocco, who beat Pitkat at Thompson July 5, moved up from 13th to eighth in points behind sixth-place Martin Marcoux of Autodrome St. Eustache and seventh-place Joe Kosiski of I-80 Speedway in Omaha, Neb.
Woody Pitkat has been busy in Whelen All-American Series action this year, driving the #99 Sunoco Modified at Thompson, the #48 Late Model at Stafford and the #52 SK Modified at Stafford. He also has a ride on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. (Jim DuPont Photos)
“Our Stafford program has been a lot better – if we can do what we’ve been doing there, the points will come,” said Pitkat, who wants to win the Stafford title as gratitude for all the support he’s gotten from car owner David Rowe. “You just let them keep working on it and get it as close as they can. If it’s messed up, you make up for it.
“We just need to step it up at Thompson.”
Pitkat battled Ruocco for the lead at Thompson Thursday night, and then chased Christopher for the win at Stafford Friday night. Pitkat then celebrated his birthday Saturday.
“Thursday (running against Ruocco), it was definitely the hardest driving both of us ever had,” said Pitkat, who rebounded Friday from a right rear flat with nine laps to go at Stafford to challenge for the lead. “But getting to the back bumper of Teddy and passing him are two different things.”
An SK Modified championship at Stafford would complete Pitkat’s collection. He won a Late Model title at Thompson in 2002.
The only thing that could top that would be a national championship.
Under the simplified point structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner will receive two points for every car in the event up to 25 cars. Second place will receive two fewer points, and so-on through the field. For example, if there are 25 cars, the winner receives 50 points, second gets 48 and third 46. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 30 points, second gets 28 and third 26.
Competitors will count their 18 highest point finishes through Sept. 30. The national champion will earn a reserved spot in the 2007 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway in October.