Ryan Preece Declared Winner After Dust Settles On Crazy SK Mod Finish At Thompson

THOMPSON – First it looked like Ted Christopher had the win. Then it looked like Woody Pitkat was going to grab his second victory of the night.

Ryan Preece’s car is rolled into victory lane Thursday at Thompson Speedway behind Woody Pitkat’s after Pitkat was disqualified from the win

But nothing was decided even when the checkered flag was flying on the second SK Modified feature of the night Thursday at Thompson International Speedway.

In the midst of a strange post-race scene at Thompson, it was Ryan Preece of Berlin celebrating in a victory lane packed with both elated and angry crew members and family members following the second 30-lap feature of the night.

Pitkat, of Stafford took the checkered flag, on the track as the race winner and immediately went to victory lane. But as he parked in victory lane, track officials told him to back his car out of the spot and make room for Preece.

Pitkat was penalized for over aggressive driving against Ted Christopher on lap 29.

Instead of moving his car, Pitkat left his car in victory lane and climbed the grandstands to begin an animated argument in the official’s tower with race director Mike Chapman.

Preece parked his car behind Pitkat’s in victory lane and celebrated with his team while members of Pitkat’s team stood fuming around their car.

It proved a muted celebration for Preece, who took over second on the track after Pitkat made contact with Christopher on the penultimate lap.

“I’ve gotten wins taken away from me but I’ve never been given one before,” Preece said. “It takes the fun away. You’ve got be happy for your team and everybody around you, but deep inside you don’t have that feeling that you won that race and you earned it.”

Christopher, of Plainville, was declared the second place finisher immediately following the race with Pitkat, of Stafford, moved back to a third place finish. But minutes after the conclusion of the race, Christopher was disqualified from his second place finish for using his car to hit Pitkat’s car on the cool-down lap after the race.

The interesting moves began between Pitkat and Christopher on lap seven when Pitkat made a dive moving in turn one to try to and gain the top spot over Christopher.

When the caution flew on lap 28 Christopher was leading with Keith Rocco in second and Pitkat third. On the ensuing restart Rocco went by Christopher briefly for the lead, but then fell back, giving Christopher the lead again and moving Pitkat to second.

Later in the same lap, Pitkat tried to go to the high line around Christopher in turn three, but Christopher closed the door on him in turn four.

Going into turn one on lap 29, Pitkat made a daring dive low into the corner and got side-by-side, banging with Christopher through the corner. By the time they were rolling through turn two Christopher was going up the track and Pitkat was in the lead.

But it was all for naught, as Pitkat was moved back to a third place finish immediately by officials following the conclusion of the race.

“They just said that they warned me twice early in the race and that the last time was the final say,” Pitkat said. “But, I understand that they warned me twice. I had problems with the throttle, which they don’t know that. When you’re having problems with the throttle so when you’re in the center of the turn and you get into the throttle you [expletive] run into the guy. I rode the whole race. The whole entire race I never hit anybody.

“When the race comes to one or two [laps] to go you do what you’ve got to do to win the race. So, I got to the outside of Ted off of [turn] four and he did his usual, the last three weeks, just drive up like you’re not even there and he almost puts you into the fence so you have to lift [off the accelerator] or you just wreck both him and yourself. So I lifted, got a good run and into [turn] one I went to the bottom of him and crowded me in turn one.

“That’s his line when he’s leading. That’s only his line when he’s leading. He goes in on the bottom and comes off high to block the bottom and the top. If he’s in fourth he doesn’t run that line. So I got a run and went to the bottom of him and he crowded me, I’m already down on the bottom, I’ve already got all the wheel in it, where is he going to go? He’s going to go to the outside, he’s going to drive up and he’s going to be up in the marbles. I go on and win the race.”

Said Christopher: “It’s like in the beginning, he’s diving bombing and every time he’s hitting me in the left rear. I’m in my lane, I’m not blocking. I know how to run here. I run my lane. This is my lane. Don’t be a [expletive] jerk like he is. He did it to [Keith Rocco] in the first race [Thursday] and he got away with it. But you know what, he cost me a win. … But he wants to play that game, I can play it.”

Preece was just glad he didn’t have to officiate the closing laps.

“I like Teddy and I like Woody,” Preece said. “Woody had a really fast car and Teddy was doing what he had to do to try to win. Would I have done the same thing if I was in Teddy’s shoes? Yes. Would I have done the same thing if I was in Woody’s shoes? Yes. I really don’t know what to say. I’m really shocked right now.”

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