The Day After: Woody Pitkat And Ryan Preece Analyze Dramatic Stafford Speedway SK Mod Clash

SMS Logo 2015Ryan Preece said he was going for the hole he thought would take him to victory. Woody Pitkat said Preece was trying to put his car where there really was no hole.

The end result was a dramatic crash at the front of the field of Friday’s 40-lap SK Modified feature at Stafford Motor Speedway that left Preece and Pitkat each still searching for their first victory in the division in 2015.

Michael Gervais Jr. of Southbury went on to pass Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon, Valley, Pa. for the victory on a green-white-checkered finish after the Pitkat/Preece dramatics.

With just under two laps remaining, Preece, of Berlin, went under Pitkat, of Stafford, in turn one in a battle for the lead. Preece’s car then ended up flying over Pitkat’s coming out of turn two.

“He thinks that he did no wrong,” Pitkat said Saturday. “He thinks that he wants to do the bottom shot on me and I came down on him. Ok, maybe he did go to do the bottom shot, but you can’t do the bottom shot when there’s a car on the bottom. And even if there is a little bit of a hole there to get your car there, well now how are you going to turn your car. Your car is not going to turn with the angle that he’s taking.

“I kind of understand his point. I saw his point when he was jibber-jabbering in the tower [with Stafford Motor Speedway director of racing operations Tom Fox]. It’s basically that we’re both trying to win the race, but I mean for five or six laps I ran the bottom. I didn’t drive him all over the place. I didn’t drive him up like him and Keith [Rocco] do to each other. I protected the bottom the whole time and rode the bottom and gave him the whole outside. And we did that for five laps, no problem. Then when it’s two [laps] to go he decides to bottom shot me and he wrecks me. That’s what I’m mad about. I could have cleaned him out and drove him up and done whatever I wanted for five laps and never did that. And he tried one move on me and destroyed my car.

“One thing that I didn’t realize that I think probably surprised him and me is that I had got spun out early in that race and my left side nerf bar was all screwed up. I didn’t realize that. I think his intention was to get in there and kind of bounce off the nerf bar and drive away, and I think the nerf bar was already destroyed and made it more of a launching ramp for him too.”

Preece said getting into the side of Pitkat and bouncing off of him was never his intention.

“Everything happened real quick,” Preece said. “I did the move like anybody else would do. It was a cross-over. We were racing side-by-side. There was a little bit of room and I felt like I wasn’t able to make the win happen if I was on the outside the way we were running. Going into [turn] one I stepped on the brakes early and I crossed over. I know I had no intentions of whacking in the nerf bar. I was going to hold it down because I’ve made that move work before. How I ended up on his left front, I couldn’t even believe it when I was in the air and I was landing on the brakes.

“I didn’t move up. It was racing. We met, somewhere. I understand, but I feel like he would have done same thing, just like any other racer would have. It was racing. That’s hard racing.”

For Pitkat, it was a second frustrating evening in less than a week where he thought he had a winning car only to end up with issues. He lost out on a possible victory in the Valenti Modified Racing Series event at Seekonk [Mass.] Speedway on June 6.

“I’m not going to bad mouth [Preece],” Pitkat said. “I’m not here to have all that freaking drama and drawn out [stuff] because I’m getting to the point where I don’t even want to go to the races any more between what happened [last week in the Valenti Modified Racing Series at Seekonk Speedway] and last night. You can’t even go race with people. You want to go out there and race and do the best you can, ok. I have no problem if I lose, I can settle for second and get beat, fine, I’m mad, but whatever. But the last two weeks I’ve had at least a win or a second place car and my car is getting absolutely destroyed because of the actions of other people and it’s just getting annoying.

“I understand what he’s doing. We both really didn’t want to settle for second. He hasn’t won all year and he’s probably frustrated. I haven’t won with [my team] yet and our season started out like crap and we’re finally going better. I’m trying to get my first win for [car owner Adam Skowyra] and neither of us is going to give an inch. Unfortunately that’s what happened.”

Preece said if he had the chance to do it all over again he would have attempted the same move.

“When we go to a racetrack, it’s to try to win of have the best finish your car can give you,” Preece said. “And my car last night could give me a win. For [my team], they work just as hard as Woody’s team. So why shouldn’t I do everything I can to win that race? That’s what I felt like I was doing.”


  1. Great article Shawn, thanks for sharing both sides of the story. The added video is a big help for those of us not at Stafford to understand what really happened.

  2. Pitgatelady says

    Get the crying towel

  3. Just my thoughts... says

    Yes Shawn, this is a good article. Anybody want to take a guess on what car Preece will destroy tonight? Wed. at Thompson two cars, Pueleo and Thibeault, and got the black flag and the win, Friday Pitkat, no black flag, no win. Lets hope the Hat Trick was enough to satisfy him for a while.

  4. 40 laps not a lot of time to lay back and ride .2 laps to go it’s any of those two for the win .Preesce made an aggressive move his only chance to win when it works your a hero and when it doesn’t you get this.

  5. Maybe woody would like a little cheese and crackers with the whine….and he should watch the video, before, opening mouth and inserting foot

  6. Youhavenoidea says

    I think everyone should there is a rule in nascar called holding your line and woody ran the same line all race he even gave preece 3 feet of room when he ran on the outside when a car tries to force his way to your line its charging and not allowed as far as woody is in the right he held his line preece I get it we all want to win and I’m sure woody would have done the same but it’s dumb to try and pass going out of the turn uphill when if he was a smart driver knowing 2 laps common sense says shoot him into 3 you have him not try coming out when you are close to equal power only bad things can happen and woody was in the right

  7. Just my thoughts... says

    The bottom line is the Preece fans are going to side with him and the Pitkat fans are going to side with him, everyone has a right to their opinion.

  8. Andrew B. says

    Youhavenoidea – there’s this key on the keyboard, called a ‘period.’ It turns endless streams of words into what they call ‘sentences.’ It’s actually pretty cool You should look into it. 😉

  9. Mod Tour Fan says

    If you want to talk about whine sackett, if you own a scanner, have you ever tuned in to listen to Preece, if you have you would not throw the word whine around about anyone but him. He sounds like a 5 yr. old when things are not going his way and is very disrespectful to his crew on the radio and in the pits. For several years he has had a car that would go anywhere on the track and he won alot of SK races at Stafford. The Hitchcock Pool Water team did alot for him and he parted ways with them in a very disrespectful manner, I guess he thought the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. Enter the Gunsmoke Sables team of Steve Greer, things went well at the beginning of the 2014 season with Preece winning races and contending for a Championship. It is my understanding that by the time September rolled around, the demands and whine of Preece and Co. became too much of a hassel for Steve Greer, at which time he told Preece win or lose the Championship at Stafford, WE ARE DONE! Enter PPP Racing for the 2015 season, a team that had to be formed for Preece to have a ride in the SK division at Stafford! It appears that Jimmy Fuller of the Hitchcock Pool Water team and Earl Pelletier of the Gunsmoke Stable team are able to set the CD cars up better than Mike Pauquett of CD Chassis. When Preece drove those cars, he could go anywhere on the track, not the case this year! Of course they could figure it out after a while, in the meantime be prepared to hear the loudest WHINE from Preece!

  10. Steady Eddie Fan says

    My problem with Preece is his win at any cost attuitude, the last couple of weeks he has wrecked some race cars and it never seems to be his fault. I watched the video from Stafford last night and I’m no Preece fan but that was a dive bomb move with the chances of crashing pretty high but he made the move because in his words he had a car that could win. I also think Woody shares the blame for coming down on him because Preece was almost even with him . I just think these drivers don’t respect each other on the track and that is sad, the great drivers from the 60’s, 70s’ and 80’s had respect for each other and they could trust each other and respect and trust are part of being a good race car driver.

  11. Looked like Woody was edging down on Ryan and rather than lifting and accepting 2nd place, Ryan decided touching tires was better. Bad move. Sponsors don’t want their cars wrecked.
    Other angles may tell a different story. May not too.

  12. Racer178 says

    Haha. preece whining and woody whining are equally painful. Both spoiled babies, but makes for a damn good show. Love me some SKs.

  13. I don’t have a dog in this fight. Having replayed the video a bunch of times, it appears Pitkat ran the exact same line on both laps. Preece made that crossover so fast the spotter probably never had the chance to tell Woody. I’d call it a racing deal based solely on the video. With any bias for one driver or the other it would be easy to sway your opinion. Two racers giving it all they had with an unfortunate outcome.
    Easy to pick on drivers,owners or crew for whining, but as passionate as fans get with no real investment beyond the cost of a ticket, , those guys invest a lot of time and/or money and they sacrifice a lot of normal family commitments for their passion. That increases the emotional investment by a factor of a lot.

  14. Crazy in NY says

    Tough to make a clear call based off that video but it’s two guys racing hard who can, on any given night,
    use the competition up on their way to the front. What we don’t have here is the benefit of listening in on what the spotters are saying. I’d wager that was in the mix. Can the radio’s already especially for regular shows.

  15. In Preese,s case the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,they have been with how many teams now and I’m sure they are not done ,they think they are moving up,.not enough fools around for that

  16. Spotters are useless in this situation, both drivers should have been on their own at this point in the race. I’m sure they were driving by thier seat of their pants. Spotters should only be telling thier drivers if they are clear and if there is trouble ahead, not telling the driver how to block. It seemed to be a racing deal and woody did say his nerf bar was bent

  17. O man come on !this sells tickets.stafford speedway should give both drivers bonuses great stuff

  18. Just my thoughts... says

    It may sell tickets, but wait until Tuesday when the penalties are released, there will probably be a list a mile long! All this BS because Tom Fox doesn’t have a CLUE what he is doing, on Friday in the SK lite race, Tony Membrino, ( trust me Tony is no Boy Scout, he certainly does his share, but Friday he got screwed) got into the leader, the 92 of Danny Wesson, the rookie did a great job saving it and went on to win the race. Tony Membrino got black flagged, which he did not heed, so I can only assume he will be on that mile long list of penalties! Why the black flag, the 92 did not crash, did a great job saving it and won the race? In the SK race, they insist on letting that rookie Tyler Hines in the 94 start on the pole every week and every week he is causing some kind of havoc, he is probably thrilled to get a podium finish, when in reality he should be embarrassed at how he got it, he spun out and caused the BIG ONE that took out half the field, sorry buddy nothing to be proud of! Then the 6 of Preece and the 50 of Pitkat incident, everyone that views the footage has their own take on it, bottom line, Preece ran over the 50 who was the LEADER of the race, destroyed the car and NO BLACK FLAG! Preece was allowed to continue on in the race , which was 2 more laps. The 6 is lucky he did not drive right through the 50 cars window, I realize there are window nets but not sure I would trust it to protect the driver in a situation such as that. The fact that Tom Fox must have taken a restroom break during this incident is the ONLY plausible reason why we saw NO BLACK FLAG! Remember, the black flag came a 1/2 hour earlier in the SK lite race because the 44 car got into the 92 car who was the leader and got him out of shape, the 92 saved it and went onto win the race. Tom Fox felt the need to throw the black flag for that incident, but not for the much more serious incident between Preece and Pitkat in the SK feature???? The owners of the track and that so called race director, they choose to employ, have NO ONE to blame for the chaos that took place after the SK race between the two teams, BUT THEMSELVES! Take back your Race Track before it is too late, Tom Fox has no credibility, he either makes no calls or stupid ones, when people do stupid things, generally people ignore them, the black flag on Membrino was a stupid one, therefore Membrino did what most people would do, he ignored it and stayed on the track until the end of the race. I do realize he probably won’t get paid, I just wanted to make a point. The incident between Preece and Pitkat was ugly, but could have been alot uglier. It is my understanding that your security force and the local police you have on hand were kept quite busy after the SK race, what if Pitkat had gotten injured and had to be transported by ambulance, you would have had a RIOT on your hands! If you insist on employing Tom Fox as your Race Director, it may be in your best interest to add onto your security force as I see nothing but problems in your future. And if all that wasn’t enough, Tom Fox wasn’t done yet, on the green, white checker restart in the SK feature, the 22 car of Gervais clearly jumped the restart, he admitted in his interview from the winners circle, that he jumped the start, he thought it would get called back, I heard him say this with my own ears! WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS TOM FOX, perhaps hiding in case an angry party from the previous incident came a calling on him in the tower? They way I see is Tom Fox took it upon himself to decide who was going to win that race, and that is not what a race director is suppose to do. Lastly, I suggest to SMS when you are crossing Membrino off the payoff list for not heeding the black flag, you may want to consider crossing Tom Fox off your payroll for this past friday or better yet permanently, as it is clear he did not do his job!

  19. Just my thoughts: Keep something in mind… the SK lite division has been a complete disaster this season with tons of wrecked racecars. It is possible that these drivers have been warned that even minor contact will result in penalties. It is also possible that the 44 has been warned to be extra cautious for overaggressive driving (both speculations). Remember, the SK modifieds are considered the premiere division. In racing incidents, like the 50/6, a penalty is less likely to be assessed. That also goes for instances like starts and restarts. These guys are big boys and should be competent in handling themselves and their racecars. Youre entitled to your own opinion but you seem to be going a tad overboard with blaming race control and you have to recognize the division ranks the track is dealing with here.

  20. Mod Tour Fan says

    The SK lite division has been a disaster this season, yet they had 24 cars start on Friday, the SK modifieds, the so called premiere division had 19 cars, something isn’t right. The 50 car got destroyed and finished 8th sitting in the pits. . If race control, loses control, they are going to have a problem.

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