Whelen Mod Tour Championship Day Goes Flat Early For Woody Pitkat At Thompson Speedway

Woody Pitkat (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Woody Pitkat (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

THOMPSON – Woody Pitkat came to the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing weekend at Thompson Speedway with three separate Modified championships in his sights.

He grabbed the first two with ease, but the biggest one of all got away early from the Stafford drivers.

A flat tire and penalty in the early stages of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco World Series 150 Sunday at Thompson Speedway left Pitkat rallying to fight his way back to the front.

And while Pitkat was fighting just to get back into contention Doug Coby was putting a hurting on the field in rolling to victory and his second consecutive series title and third in the last four years.

Pitkat came into the Whelen Modified Tour season finale four points behind Coby and Ryan Preece, who entered the race tied for the standings lead.

He ended up fifth. Preece was seventh. The standings closed with Preece in second, 11 points behind Coby and Pitkat third, 13 points off the lead.

Pitkat started third and went to second behind Coby in the early going, but by lap 15 he was quickly falling back through the field with a flattening right front tire.

After getting hit from behind in turn two Pitkat stopped on the track, bringing out a caution. NASCAR penalized him one lap for stopping to bring out the caution.

“You get a flat, you’ve got a tire going down, trying to just ride it out, ride it out, ride it out, hope for a caution,” Pitkat said. “Then you get run over from behind. I don’t know if the thing just popped out of the gear, at that point I just stopped. And I guess they wanted to give me a one-lap penalty for that. I’m sure it’s a tough situation. I don’t really know how that is involved. But, I mean, I don’t understand what you’re supposed to do. I guess you’re just supposed to drive around for five or six or ten laps until your right front tire blows and you just drive straight into the fence and get a one lap penalty, or instead you can leave in the ambulance.”

On lap 55 Pitkat got back on the lead lap and then began clawing his way back through the field.

“Unfortunately it’s a tough outcome,” Pitkat said. “You know what was going on and what you’re going for. It’s a big deal, you’re going for the championship just to pretty much have a bow and arrow stuck through your chest right when it started. Unfortunately we just had to battle the whole day. I never give up. I never do. I just drove my butt off the whole day.”

Despite the frustration of the day, the third place finish in the standings marked a career best for Pitkat, who had never finished better than ninth, which he had done three times before this year. He finished the season with a victory and 10 top-fives in 15 events. He finished outside the top-10 twice all season.

On Saturday Pitkat clinched his first Valenti Modified Racing Series championship, finishing second in that division’s 50-lap feature at Thompson. He finished second to Ryan Preece in Sunday’s 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature to clinch the track’s championship for that division.


  1. “I guess you’re just supposed to drive around for five or six or ten laps until your right front tire blows and you just drive straight into the fence and get a one lap penalty, or instead you can leave in the ambulance.”….. No Woody, at any level of racing when you get a flat the series wants you to get off the track and fix it for the safety of you and other competitors. It was definitely a tough break but just because you are a title contender doesn’t mean you get a special caution so you can stay on the lead lap. Now it just sounds like sour grapes even after you just won two other championships during the weekend. I mean should teams just be allowed a mulligan for a tire going flat now…. Give me a break

  2. And how would you like him to get to pit road safely when running in the top 10 just hook a left on the field and wreck everybody. He’s car was crashed he was involved in a wreck he didn’t cause the caution by stopping so get over it!

  3. Big Smoke… So every time a driver has a slow leak NASCAR should throw a yellow and bail the driver out? I’m not trying to be antagonistic, I just really would like to know how you think that should be handled. I mean they didn’t even do that for the defending cup champ harvick during the chase. That’s just not what happens

  4. The guy was in the fence wrecked
    Did you see the back of the car?
    Obviously he had an issue 10 laps prior to that but that’s o.k.
    If it was the 2 or the 6 there would of been a caution 3 laps before the 88 got run over but it’s ok he put on the show 3 times during the race so hats off the him for not giving up!

  5. I’m not asking what would have happened it it were the 2 or the 6. I am asking you if you believe NASCAR should throw yellows for cars with slow leaks… He wrecked well after he knew he had a leak

  6. I didn’t agree with the penalty. If he would have just stopped on the track with no damage to bring out the caution, okay I would expect it. However he didn’t, he got hit from behind and ended up in the wall.

    Sometimes it just isn’t your day….. but Woody certainly should not hang his head. He came from the back 3 or 4 times in a damaged racecar, and must have passed 60 cars!

  7. Sure would have liked to see Woody in a healthy car going at it with the 2. The 6 seemed to miss the setup a little bit, the 88 was pretty good.

  8. Just my thoughts... says

    RaceDayNH, Were you even at the race yesterday, or were you in NH? If you were you would have seen the 88 backing up, trying to stay out of the way and getting hit by several other cars. Do you really believe the damage to the back of the 88 car is from “a slow leak” in the tire? I cannot even begin to count the number of times in all racing series I have seen a car spin out and sit and wait for a caution, then drive away. I do believe there should be a penalty for that, but I don’t see it too often. Correct me if I am wrong, but you appear to have never seen a car with a problem try to stay on the track hoping for a yellow, I see it just about every week. You claim “he wrecked well after he knew he had a leak”, what do you consider “well” 10 or 20 laps or 2 or 3 laps? I would have to agree with Big smoke, if it had been the 2 or the 6 no penalty would have been given and the caution probably would have been a few more laps. I also would have liked to have seen a healthy 88 and the 2 go at it, but then again, the top 3 were called to the “Principal’s Office” before the race even started, Jimmy Wilson basically told them what would not be tolerated, is my understanding. I assume the 88 was not going to get away with washing up the 2 in turn three and the 6 was not going to get away with dumping the 2 in the middle of turn one and two on the last lap. If you think all competitors on the WMT are treated equally, think about it. Again, Just my thoughts…

  9. The 2 and 6 have both been penalized in the last 3 or 4 races.Doesn’t anyone here watch?

  10. Do you watch?
    What race in the last 3-4 races where the 6 and or 2 penalized. The last 4 races where riverhead, loudon,stafford and Thompson. And pitting while the pits where closed and going to the tail end of the longest line is not in my book being penalized. You need to start watching the races!

  11. Just my thoughts... says

    Art, Yes I do watch and listen, Team Owner Chris Our states that he was not thrilled with the calls made by NASCAR, they are not consistent. Do you think he is not watching? The 6 car was given a penalty at Stafford, it was tail end of longest line for having too many crew members over pit wall. NASCAR chose to overlook the fact that the 6 car pitted before pit road was open, passing the pace car which is a 1 lap penalty in the rule book. You have to watch, listen and read if you want to know what is going on. Again, just my thoughts…

  12. Some competitors are more equal than others.

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