Woody Pitkat Riding High Following Two Thompson Wins in One Day
By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
THOMPSON, Conn. -- Sunday was a dream day of racing for Woody Pitkat.
The former Sunoco Modified champion at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park captured the victory in the 25-lap Late Model feature driving for Hartwell Motorsports, then, followed it up with returning to Sunoco Modified victory lane driving for Dan Avery.
It was two wins in one day for the Stafford, Connecticut, native.
“It’s really hard to win two in one day, I’ve done it before at Stafford (Motor Speedway), but you have to realize the difference in the cars and the crews,” Pitkat said. “I would have been happy with one win but winning two is special because it’s so hard to win in anything. It’s awesome. It feels really good.”
Pitkat started up at the front of the pack for the Late Model feature, and dominated the race, leading nearly all the laps in his No. 91. He was over one second ahead of second-place finisher Derek Gluchacki at the finish.
“The Late Model win definitely lit a little bit of a fire in me,” Pitkat said. “It’s been a while; I don’t know when the last time I truly won a Late Model race was here at Thompson. It’s cool to be able to win for the Hartwell family. I started racing in the early 2000s and they were racing then. Jeff gave me an opportunity and we have been good together. We were good in the ACT Tour race here (on June 15) with a different car and I took some of the notes over here and it really woke it up.”
Pitkat started outside the top five in the Sunoco Modifieds, and the beginning of the race didn’t quite go his way. He dropped back through the bottom of the top 10 and had to work his way through the field in the final laps. It was a restart with Todd Owen where Pitkat was able to slide into the top spot for good. He did have to hold off defending champion Keith Rocco on the final restart, though.
“My crew chief just started changing of the car after the heat race and I was just hoping we didn’t go too far,” Pitkat joked. “When Kyle (James) took the bottom in the lead, we got slid backwards and I was just trying to keep my composure. Keith got a good start and I know it’s tough on the bottom, and Keith is almost a master at restarts. He’s the best up here, especially at restarts. I knew I could trust him and the best I had been all day was going to be on the top. I felt like if we got going, it seemed like we were driving away.”
Double-duty isn’t anything new for Pitkat. He’s done it before, and he will continue to do it for the rest of the season. On NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour nights, Pitkat competes in three different divisions. He’s already won a race on the tour circuit at Wall Stadium Speedway in New Jersey and has finished inside the top 10 in both tour stops at Thompson.
“One of the big things for me is trying to win one race in each series I run each year,” Pitkat said. “I now can say I’ve won a Sunoco Modified race, Late Model race and a Whelen Modified Tour race. Now I just have to win a Tri Track Open Modified Series race. Hopefully I can bring some of this momentum to the tour and start running a bit better.”
Driving for both Hartwell Motorsports and Dan Avery’s team isn’t something Pitkat takes for granted. He knows competing in both of Thompson’s top divisions is a difficult task and winning takes a strong team behind him.
“I’m not giving both teams my 100 percent focus at the track because I’m going back and forth, but they know that, and the biggest thing for me is surrounding myself with people that are good with it,” Pitkat said. “Both Dan and Jeff give me just about everything I could ever ask for and they both prepare such a great car.”
“The last time we were here we basically totaled the Sunoco Modified and Dan was excited on the radio today... I’m just glad I was able to win for Dan, Jeff and all of the guys. These races are hard to win.”
Pitkat, the remainder of the Sunoco Modified and Late Model drivers, and the rest of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competitors return to competition this Sunday, August 4. Lock City Drift will also be on hand with their New England Top Drift Series on the road course.
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