Woody Pitkat Heads To Speedbowl With Valenti Mod Series Points Lead, Trying To Leave Dispute Behind

A dejected Woody Pitkat looks on as Anthony Nocella celebrates victory in the Valenti Modified Racing Series event Saturday at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway

A dejected Woody Pitkat looks on as Anthony Nocella celebrates victory in the Valenti Modified Racing Series event Saturday at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway

Chasing his first Valenti Modified Racing Series championship, series points leader Woody Pitkat heads to the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Saturday for the division’s Wings & Wheels 100 trying to leave behind a sour taste in his mouth from the last series event.

Last Saturday at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Me., Pitkat was racing for the lead with Richard Savary on the final lap of the second segment of a Twin 50-lap bill for the division.

On the backstretch on the final lap, Pitkat got under Savary for the lead. Contact between the two sent Savary spinning in turn three. Todd Patnode drove by both cars to take the segment win. Pitkat crossed the finish line in second place on the track, which would have given him the overall over victory for the segmented event.

Instead Pitkat was penalized for the last lap incident and was scored 11th overall for the event. Anthony Nocella was awarded the overall victory for the event.

“We got knocked down a little bit last week at Beech Ridge, but that’s over and done with,” Pitkat said. “We’ve got to just move on from that. Everybody is working harder now because of that. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Pitkat, in his first season running full-time with the Valenti Modified Racing Series for team owner Peter Kulessa, takes a 24-point lead over second place Patnode to Waterford. Todd Szegedy is third in the standings, 30 points behind Pitkat.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series employs what they call an “A-B Rule,” which states that if any two drivers make contact resulting in a caution flag, both drivers are dropped to the tail end of the field on the ensuing restart.

Video replays of the incident seem to indicate Savary came down on Pitkat after Pitkat got under him.

“I understand the whole A-B rule and this and that, but you’ve got to have a little give and take there,” Pitkat said. “Our car owners are spending too much money and guys are working too hard during the week. … When it’s for a win there, when you’re battling for a win, you’ve got to have a little more common ground and kind of look at it instead of saying ‘Ok, you’re gone.’ They pretty much had me off the board before I was even stopped at the podium. They didn’t even give it a fair chance to even look it over or talk to other people about it or anything. At the end of the day I understand there’s a rule, but the same thing happened in the [consolation event], one guy got into another guy and the guy ended up stopping on the track with a flat. Nothing happened to that guy. Its just another one of those kind of inconsistency things and it’s kind of unfortunate. I know at the end of the day it’s a tough call, but another thing is the whole lack of a race director. One week it’s [series founder and owner Jack Batement] doing the race director duties and the next week it’s somebody else. They’re a little inconsistent with that too.

“I kind of feel bad because I could have pretty much just finished second and been the overall winner, but that’s Monday morning quarterbacking looking at it, and who goes to the racetrack to finish second. Nobody does that. Nobody that I know goes to the racetrack to finish second, especially when you pretty much had the fastest car the whole day. It’s unfortunate, but it’s over and done with and we’ve just got to move on and try to learn from any mistakes that happened and just know who you’re racing with and try to change the outcome the next time it happens.”

Pitkat said he will likely be more cautious with the way he runs near Savary, a longtime series veteran. Pitkat said Saturday was not the first time he’s felt Savary ran him unfair during an event this season.

“It just stinks because it just seems like I can race with anybody else out there,” Pitkat said. “I feel like if it was any of the other drivers out there and I did that same move, I feel like I would have been the winner or the guy on the outside would have held his line and kind of drag-raced me down the back straightaway into [turn] three and tried to win the race that way. I’m not trying to pick on [Savary] … but that’s the way I feel.”

The Wings & Wheels event marks the backside of a major weekend of racing for Pitkat. He also goes into Friday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Call Before You Dig 150 at Stafford as the Modified Tour points leader for his Buzz Chew Racing team.

Pitkat won the Modified Tour NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 on April 26 and followed that up with a second place in the Modified Tour’s TSI Harley-Davidson 125 on June 5 at Stafford. In his last six Whelen Modified Tour starts at Stafford Pitkat has two victories and has an average finish of 3.2.

“I’m kind of just trying to look at it as a regular normal weekend of racing really,” Pitkat said. “I don’t try to get too amped up and put too much pressure on myself. Being the point leader, it’s great that we’re there. Obviously it shows how much effort and hard work everybody has done with my race teams to get me where I’m at. And obviously we want to keep that going, keep the momentum up and the morale up and keep going and try to still be there at the end to contend for the championships.”


  1. Wouldn’t that be something if Woody won both the VMRS and WMT titles this year?

  2. I’d be REALLY impressed — and happy — if Woody won both titles, and I think it’d be a really cool accomplishment. But, man, he needs to let this Beech Ridge incident go. Just say you learned a lesson from it and move on.

    Woody, dude, I love watching you race. And I’m REALLY happy about your success on the NASCAR tour in the 98. But, you took a gamble… You tried to win a meaningless battle, and it cost you the war.

    You knew you didn’t need to win the segment to be the overall race winner. You discussed it on the radio with your team prior to the restart. You say you understand the A-B rule. Well, if you know the rule, AND you know you don’t need to win the segment to win the RACE, AND you know you’ve had trouble with the 99 this season, WHY would you try to pass him? Strategically, you made a dumb move, man.

    Also… the comment about there needing “to have a little give and take there.” Are we going to apply that just to this rule, or to all the rules? Because if we’re going to apply it to all the rules, then let’s give the 85 team their win back.

    I get that people think the tour’s officiating is inconsistent. Is there any racing tour where people *don’t* think that? (Well, maybe ACT.) But if a series has an A-B rule, and you go race in the series, you’ve agreed to accept that rule.

    Don’t like the rule? Then the drivers ought to get together and tell Bateman they want him and his officiating crew to make judgement calls on every incident. Anyone think that’s going to be better?

  3. Woody always saying it someone else’s fault. I think the a b rule is the fairest. Yes u may feel like u got the raw end of the deal but it takes out favoritism and judgement calls. Black and white is the best. Both drivers trying to win on the last lap, this time both lost. woody says who races for 2nd, then he blames the guy who tried to win???

  4. Just my thoughts... says

    It appears that the MRS Officials agree with Pitkat, Savary was docked 50 points for his part in that incident. Savary is whining that they didn’t call him and tell him, yet his Crew Chief admits he got the call, possibly MRS Officials got a look at that video that CLEARLY shows Savary turning left into Pitkat! I personally think Pitkat has brought new life and excitement to the MRS Series, if Savary decided to take a few weeks off, don’t think he would be missed by the fans or the drivers. Again, just my thoughts…

  5. Seems pretty weird to me that you’d wait nearly a week to issue a penalty like that. The chatter on the scanner Saturday night put the blame pretty much unequivocally on the 99.

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