Hill Enterprises Whelen Modified Tour Team Shutting Down After Season Finale At Thompson Speedway

David Hill is looking for the answers to keep his family’s longtime NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team in operation.

Woody Pitkat's Hill Enterprises Whelen Modified Tour car

Woody Pitkat’s Hill Enterprises Whelen Modified Tour car

As of right now, he’s not finding the solutions he needs to find.

Hill told RaceDayCT Monday that his family’s Hill Enterprises Whelen Modified Tour team, affectionately known for years as Hillbilly Racing, will be shutting down operations following the Modified Tour season finale on Oct. 20 at Thompson International Speedway.

The Hillbilly Racing operation is based in Westfield, N.C. Woody Pitkat of Stafford currently drives for the team.

Hill, the longtime crew chief and manager of the operation, said his mother, team owner Sandra Hill, has decided to retire from ownership with the team. He said his mother has given him the operation, but as of right now he doesn’t have the finances to keep the team running.

“NASCAR has just basically priced us out of racing,” David Hill said. “It’s just become so expensive and my mom just doesn’t want to continue the racing part. She has blessed me with the whole racing operation. I’ll continue. I just need to find the sponsor dollars to do it. I don’t have that right now and with all that NASCAR is doing, it costs us seven or eight thousand dollars to go up the road every week and even when you’re running good like we’ve been doing, there’s no return on any money. You’re just losing a whole lot of money.”

The family’s patriarch, David’s father Roger, passed away in Jan. 2012.

“It was a very rough day when my mom told me that she was giving up the team,” David Hill said. “A whole lot of tears. I’ve made a couple visits to my dad’s gravesite and talked to him, looking for answers if that makes any sense. I’ve done this for more than 20 years. It’s a part of my life that he brought me up and raised me doing. The worst thing is, it’s getting pulled from my life when I feel like we’re running the best. Ever since Woody has been back in the car we’ve been really good. We haven’t got a win on the Tour yet together, but I think we can get that at Thompson. If that’s the way I’ve got to go out, I hope that’s it.”

The team reunited with Pitkat late in the 2012 season and they went on to win the championship at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in February at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.

“It’s unfortunate,” Pitkat said. “I know Sandra was trying really hard to keep it going and with Roger passing I know it was hard for her to take care of their business and I think a lot of people were taking advantage of her and not paying their bills and stuff and that obviously hurts them.”

Pitkat was up to fourth in the Whelen Modified Tour standings before the most recent event on Sept. 28 at Stafford Motor Speedway, but mechanical issues relegated him to 24th place finish and dropped him to eighth in the standings.

David Hill said he’ll be ready to return the team to operational as soon as he can find the backing to do it, but as of now he’s not optimistic that will happen soon.

“I’m not going to sell anything.,” he said. “Nothing is for sale. I’ve just got to become the businessman that I’ve never had to be and see if we can the help to keep things running. I hope that we can find the help to keep Woody in the car, but we if we have to go another way to keep the team going I think he understands that.

“NASCAR could help us if they wanted to, but the things they think are helping a lot of times just hurt us. They made us go to this quick-change rear end they say to save us money. I’ve lost two already this year. It’s just costing us more money. Entry fees, inspections fees, all of that stuff just keeps going up but the purse never goes up. Mom just finally got disgusted.”

Said Pitkat: “It does stink because I feel like we’ve definitely been getting better together. I feel like we’ve been a top-five, top-10 car, which was nice to see. I was hoping we were building for next year to be in contention for wins. But, the way the economy is and all, I don’t think there’s a lot of people wanting to give a bunch of money to get involved. We’ll just have to try to do the best we can at Thompson and maybe come out with a win or a good finish and then hope we can find somebody to help us and do something, or I’ll have to try to move on I guess.”

It marks the second time in three years that Pitkat could potentially lose a Whelen Modified Tour ride because of a team shutting down. Pitkat drove from 2008 to 2011 for team owner Don King before King retired from team ownership after the 2011 season.

“I guess that’s the way my luck goes,” Pitkat said.

Pitkat is hoping that maybe the one door closes and another opens philosophy could work out for him. After the 2012 season he was replaced in his regular weekly SK Modified ride at Stafford Motor Speedway with team owners Bob Hitchcock and Kelly Iverson. He ended up landing with the first year SK Modified team owned by Steve Greer and they went on to win the track championship this season, Pitkat’s first SK Modified title at Stafford.

“Everything happens for a reason I guess,” Pitkat said. “I was down in the dumps when I lost my ride last winter at Stafford. Now I just keep reminding myself that things happen for a reason and better things can happen when you think you have nothing. You see what happened last year. I hope that if I can’t do something with David next year that hopefully I showed that I can run up front and help a good team.”

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  1. That is sad…

  2. Another Great driver and great team falls to the wayside because of nascars “improvements”. I’m sure they’ve noticed every time they implement an improvement for the tour, the car count goes down… Time for everyone to either step out on there own or join the mrs

  3. Would someone like ROC or another series be able to steal the class away and cut cost?

  4. Losing yet another team because the risk now greatly outweighs the reward… NASCAR is killing the division one team at a time…

  5. Tony Leckey says

    Woody has a ton of talent and if there is a ride out there he’ll be at the top of the list for sure. Wishing the Hill family all the best. I enjoyed working with them and they are definitely one of the nicest families in the sport. It’s a sad day for the WMT in my opinion.

  6. Great team;Wishing David Hill and the team well.Fantastic opportunity to be well represented on the Nascar Whelen Modified and/or Nascar Whelen Southern Modified Tour.Contact David Hill for more info.Thank you.

  7. NASCAR is about as “good” a friend to racing as Thompson itself…..classic ending to a team that NASCAR priced out is too end at the track that sold its weekly racing out for an import road club.

  8. Dave MRS and ROC have already taken former or would be mod teams.. MRS is doing something right when 36 cars show up to Stafford and only 24 Whelen show up a couple weeks later.

  9. Race MRS , The T shirts might not be as cool but neither is dust on your hauler.

  10. roger hunt says

    As an ex official with Mrs that is really good series to be involved in.

  11. Sad. 🙁 I hope they find what they are looking for.

  12. MRS had 36 cars show up at Stafford this year with only 26 starting positions available. They ran 3 heats and 2 consis to set the field!!! I talked to Mark Arute at the turn 1 fence during one of the heats and I told him flat out “Mark, I’ll gladly pay $27.50 for this kind of show the MRS puts on…competitive “old school” qualifying and a good 12-15 cars that could win on any night, but no way i’m paying $10 more for time time trials and 26 cars of which maybe, MAYBE 6-8 could win.”

    He looked at me with that look of “Yup, heard that a lot lately.”

    No series is perfect, but MRS has a LOT going for it.

    I think in a couple more years you’ll see MRS and Granite State Pro Stock Series put together some twin bill shows that any promoter will gladly sign up for!

  13. Mare Harlow says

    This is very sad, indeed.

  14. Here we go with with the MRS is great stuff. Stafford is not the norm, Many of the Stafford regulars will run whatever event is there, including the MRS. The last race was won by the soon to be WMT Champion by the way. The MRS draws about 24 cars per week, which is very nice. I don’t see a lot of former WMT regulars in there as many people speak of.though. Rowan runs both tours, beyond that there aren’t any tour regulars in the top 15 that run the MRS on any kind of regular basis.

  15. Fact Check says

    Actually VMRS averages 29.2 cars a week (have had 32 or more for last 6 weeks) and only 5 of the 37 different attempted qualifiers at Stafford run weekly at Stafford currently…but why ruin a perfectly bad argument with facts, that’s no fun.

  16. Fact Check says

    Also, excluding Pennink, 6 different drivers with multiple WMT starts in 2013 have run VMRS races this season

  17. Thanks fact check I was trying to find a way to rebuke mark statements but you did it perfectly.

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