Woody Pitkat Revels In First SK Modified Championship At Stafford Speedway

Saturday, Woody Pitkat wore a Mike McLaughlin t-shirt to Stafford Motor Speedway.

Woody Pitkat celebrates the SK Modified championship Sunday at Stafford with his daughter Ella (Photo: Driscoll Motorsports Photography)

Woody Pitkat celebrates the SK Modified championship Sunday at Stafford with his daughter Ella (Photo: Driscoll Motorsports Photography)

A tribute to his favorite driver growing up and bringing the whole experience of the weekend full circle.

It wouldn’t have been an uncommon occurrence back in the early 1990’s to see a young Pitkat chasing drivers for autographs at Stafford Speedway sporting a McLaughlin shirt.

“My mom used to bring me to all the races and I’d come watch [McLaughlin],” the 34-year old Pitkat said Sunday. “I had his shirt on [Saturday]. Obviously you live five minutes away, once you’re old enough to drive …”

By 16 years old Pitkat was driving in the entry level DARE Stock divison at Stafford Speedway. By 2004 he was in rookie in the SK Modified division in 2004 competing for the DiPisa Brothers racing team.

“I started at a later age compared to everyone else,” Pitkat said. “I think that’s the only thing that hurt me, I think a lot more people had a lot more seat time than me because they probably started at six or seven when I was up in the cornfields driving four wheelers.”

Sunday, racing against many of those kids that were in performance Karts and Quarter Midgets when he was terrorizing the cornfields, Pitkat came out on top of the season.

In a field laden with some of the best Modified racing has to offer today, Pitkat Sunday captured a title he has long coveted, the SK Modified championship. Pitkat won the title driving for owner Steve Greer with a team they created during the offseason after Pitkat lost his ride with owners Bob Hitchcock and Kelly Iverson after the 2012 season at Stafford.

He edged Ryan Preece by two points to get the title. Preece is part of the NASCAR Next program, an initiative by NASCAR to recognize the best rising talent in motorsports in the country.

Behind them in the standings were names like Doug Coby, Rowan Pennink, Ted Christopher and Eric Berndt, like Pitkat and Preece, all regulars on the Whelen Modified Tour. Not to mention Keith Rocco, the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion and a driver considered in the top echelon of short track competitors in the country.

“This is by far the toughest division,” Pitkat said. “It’s probably tougher than being on the [Whelen Modified Tour] right now. To be able come in here with a first year team like that and go out there and watch Ryan have the season he had and be able to pull it off against that, it’s pretty sweet.”

The theater of Sunday’s victory was plenty, as Pitkat passed Rowan Pennink for third place late in the race to ensure that he was in position to edge Preece for the title. Pennink was driving Hitchcock/Iverson car that Pitkat had formerly driven.

“I think it’s more satisfying – nothing against Bob and Kelly, because they’re awesome people – but to go out there and beat their car, it makes it that much sweeter. It made me want it even more to go out there. And I think one of the reasons I won it is because I feel like I wanted it more than Ryan did.”

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