Frantic Finish: Woody Pitkat Scores Valenti Modified Racing Series Win At NHMS

Woody Pitkat celebrates in victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after winning Saturday’s Valenti Modified Racing Series event at the New England Short Track Showdown

LOUDON, N.H. – Ted Christopher came to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend looking to make history at the track.

On Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Woody Pitkat was just hoping to make it onto the track for Saturday’s first Valenti Modified Racig Series event in Loudon.

Pitkat’s team spent Friday’s New England Short Track Showdown test day chasing down an electrical issue with their car that kept them off track for all but three laps of practice.

The team eventually found the issue and then gave Pitkat, of Stafford, a car stout enough to outduel Christopher late in the race to win the 50-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series event Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Christopher, of Plainville, was second and Steve Masse of Bellingham, Mass. third.

“It was amazing,” Pitkat said. “It was awesome. The whole race being up front like that. It’s tough because you’ve got to try to stay focused with those cautions because they can really frustrate you and take you out of your game.

“It was a lot of fun. It’s always fun running with Ted, especially here. He’s got a lot of wins here. Obviously he was trying to take [sole possession of the lead on the track’s all-time win list]. And then it was cool to see a guy like Masse here who is kind of on a shoe-string budget.”

Christopher is tied with Mike Stefanik and Eddie MacDonald at the top of the track’s all-time win list with 10 victories each. Christopher had the dominating car most of the event, but a lap 47 caution made all the difference for Pitkat.

On the restart it was Pitkat getting by Christopher for the lead. Christopher briefly fell back to third behind Steve Masse. On lap 49 Masse briefly took the lead from Pitkat in turn two, but it was Pitkat going back to the front coming to the white flag, with Christopher moving to second.

On the final lap Pitkat was able to hold off Christopher out of the final corner to take take the victory.

“When people ask me for advice, I don’t think people really realize until they’re out in the car how much stuff is going through your head on what you can do and what you can’t do,” Pitkat said.

“It’s just awesome, especially with the day we had yesterday. We chased an electrical issue that we could not find. And I feel bad for those guys because they spent a lot of money on brand new parts that weren’t fixing it. And we didn’t get any practice at all. We got three laps. And we were fortunate enough to find the issue at 5:30 last night. I’ve got to thank them for working so hard, the whole crew.”

After leading most of the early laps, Christopher pitted out of the lead on lap 12 to make adjustments. He restarted in 13th and was back to third by lap 29.

“We were just way too loose,” Christopher said. “I knew right off the bat, so I was going to pit right away. We should have gone a little bit more, but it was good, I passed a lot of cars.”

Christopher went past Pitkat for the lead on lap 39. On lap 41 Pitkat was able to get by Christopher once again for the lead a restart, but Christopher went back to the front a lap later.

But the caution flew again on lap 43 and once again Pitkat made the restart work for him, going back the front. Christopher fought back once again, going by Pitkat for the lead on lap 45 before the final caution flew on lap 47.

“The restarts were just horrible,” Christopher said. “The restart, everybody just gets to be a hero. What are you going to? I didn’t need the restart. It was very tough to get going for some reason on the restarts. For some reason with the different restrictor plate they gave me from yesterday to today.”


  1. First it is flux capacitors now it is the restrictor plate. Dareal please shed your devine expertise on the subject……..

  2. Michael O'Sullivan says

    Officials changed the hole on the restrictor plate on steel head engines on Saturday morning. Smaller from Friday practice

  3. Great race glad I went . Would have been much better with out some of the needless cautions . Goodale was a unavoidable caution looks like he might have lost a tire . But of course you have the needless ones like the load that thought he could drive on a tire that was into the nerf bar . How you making out ?

  4. Can’t imagine teams were happy about getting new plates on Saturday after practicing with different ones on Friday. Race results were as expected.

  5. Jaun Mortime says

    The hole size change surely equalized competition and maximized Ted Christopher’s whining… that’s great for modified racing!

  6. Congrats to woody ! You can Say what you want but teddy was the whole show after pitting early and driving From the back to put on a show with woody, goodale , and masse

  7. Just saw video clip. Nobody was there. Maybe 800-1000 fans? Worse than even I thought. In comparison, the old twin 125s with WMT and Busch North would fill up the place pretty good. Heat was unbearable yesterday. I will give you that.
    Loudon already planning to replace 2nd race weekend with 3 day country music festival in 2018.

  8. wmass01013 says

    I expected a small crowd with really No headline series, good short track local series but not for NHMS! ADD JULY HEAT and holiday weekend not a good date to draw
    Would stand alone race of champions type NON NASCAR open comp event paying BIG money work drawing teams form all series? even more than TRI TRACK, IS THAT possible in 2018 anymore?

  9. From the VMRS Facebook page:

    Race Summary
    New Hampshire Motor Speedway
    Loudon, NH
    Race # 5
    July 1, 2017
    Entrants: 26
    Distance: 50-laps
    Margin of Victory: 0.017
    Average Speed: 42.706
    Best Lap Time: 30.016
    Best Speed : 126.652 (Pitkat)
    Cautions: Laps- 1, 12, 40, 42, and 46
    Unofficial Order Of Finish: Pitkat (1) Christopher ( 2) Masse (3) Zeiner (4) Gernhard (5) Schneider (6) Flannery (7) Nocella (8) Lashua (9) Richardi (10) Kay (11) Fournier (12) Meservey (13) Gallup (14) Mead (15) Dolan (16) Goodale (17) Rocco (18) Rameau (19) Dauzat (20) Willis (21) Savary (22) Doucette ( 55) Shaw (24) Seidell (25)

  10. Yes I know Christopher is an icon of modified racing in the northeast and most of you love your TC or Teddy. He’s a great driver with an unequaled record of wins in many places. But just once before he retires I’d like to hear him congratulate someone that beat him and express gratitude for a good race. Race leaders always hate restarts so why mention them. And to hear Christopher you’d think he was the only one that got the new restrictor plate.

  11. Jeffrey P says

    teddy is a icon in his own mind. He is the only one to blame not winning on the new plate .He did not win because he drove like the bone head he is for all these years .HE does not pass he drives-thu cars to win .If he did not plow into masse and try to wreck him to win he might have been able to set him up for a clean pass and win . LIKE the reg. stefanik. hirshman.etc. etc. TEDDY just never learned how to really race he could have been as good as anyone if he did ….

  12. That’s harsh Jeffrey. The other top drivers say he’s got the goods and I believe them. He just has a 1980’s driver personality when drivers generally grunted out answers in interviews. He’s kept up with the technology of racing but the personality part never took root. Hey, his business is used cars, not communication. What can you expect.

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