Woody Pitkat To Drive Full-Time For Danny Watts In 2018 On Whelen Modified Tour

Woody Pitkat before running his first event for Danny Watts Racing last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor)

It was a relationship that was born of the most unfortunate of circumstances when Woody Pitkat landed behind the wheel of the Danny Watts Racing NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car.

But what was born of tragedy, will remain intact for the 2018 season.

Team owner Danny Watts confirmed to RaceDayCT Thursday that Woody Pitkat will drive full-time for his team in 2018 on the Whelen Modified Tour.

Pitkat took over the Watts owned ride following the death of short track racing legend Ted Christopher on Sept. 16 of last year. Christopher was killed in a plane crash while flying to Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway to compete for Watts in a Whelen Modified Tour event.

Pitkat ran the final three events of the 2017 season for Watts.

“Woody is going to be my driver for next year,” Watts told RaceDayCT. “We’re still working some other stuff out with crew members and stuff like that. But Woody will be my driver.

“I think he’s my best choice. After last year, changing three drivers, I had enough and I don’t want to do that no more. I think last year was probably one of the toughest seasons I’ve ever had. I just figure let’s leave what we had in place, make a few adjustments, and go ahead with it for this year.”

Said Pitkat: “It’s nice to know that I have that for next year and he’s willing to run the full tour. He’s committed to running the full season as long as everything goes good and we get along and everything, which I think we will.”

Watts ran his first full-time season on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2016 with Ron Silk. Silk got the team its first series win in 2016 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Silk left the team after three races in 2017, with Christopher replacing him with the team. Christopher made eight starts with the team in 2017 before his death.

Driving for the team exactly one week after Christopher’s death, Pitkat had an eighth place finish in his debut for the team on Sept. 23 in the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He was running in the top-10 a week later in the NAPA Fall Final 150 at Stafford when mechanical issues ended his day. He was in contention to win in the season ending Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson Speedway on Oct. 15 before settling for a seventh place finish.

“Obviously it would have been nice to be able to top it off at the World Series because we had a decent car and I felt like we could have had a shot to win there if we didn’t get spun,” Pitkat said. “… I think everything is there. Danny spends the money, he’s got good equipment. It’s just a matter of like anything, having the chemistry and having everybody work together. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be pretty good.”

In addition to running full-time on the Whelen Modified Tour, Pitkat will – as usual – have his hand in a few other rides. He will once again run full-time in the SK Modified division at Thompson for team owner Stan Mertz and also in the Late Model division at Thompson for owner Jeff Hartwell.

He also expects to run a selected schedule of Valenti Modified Racing Series events, Tri-Track Open Modified Series, the two new Open Modified events at Stafford Motor Speedway and other Open Tour Type Modified events for car owners Danny Stebbins and Steve Greer.


  1. Good, good, good, hope it’s a win/win for both parties.Good luck in 2018…

  2. darealgoodfella says

    Very good. Another decent car.

  3. Great news glad to see Woody on the tour full time have known him since he was a kid

  4. Now all he needs is an SK ride at stafford

  5. Thought Woody was the one who didn’t want to run every Fri to spend more time with family, best of luck to Danny and Woody on tour

  6. Anybody know if Woody will drive in the modified racing series?

  7. Rob. P.,
    Last paragraph of the story.

  8. John Davis says

    The only one that would have that answer is Woody himself. Guess you would have to ask him?

  9. Great stuff. Driver with a lead foot, great equipment this should be interesting. Good luck guys!

  10. My bad thanks ahawn

  11. Does anyone know if the tour cars SK and SKlights run the same tire. I know they are Hoosiers but are they the same compounds

  12. What chassis does Danny watts use?

  13. Love this guy
    Big respect and hell of a driver
    Underrated as well
    Hope you kick ass
    Great job Shawn once again.showing who you are A professional!!!
    ,peace to all and let’s go racing!!!!!!

  14. Mike ray
    Love your comment I echo that

  15. Fast Eddie says

    Excellent news!! I would bet if TC was here and had to recommend a replacement to Danny Watts, Woody would be on a very short list of candidates. More good reasons to cheer them on!! Good luck team #82!!!

  16. Rob, different compounds even though they are Hoosiers.

  17. They run troyer chassis

  18. Have helmet, will travel. Said earlier in the year he was trying to lighten the load a bit but at the time said he was not doing so well cutting back. Said Stafford SK’s on Friday was out which probably means unless a top opportunity presented itself. Best, most thoughtful and honest interviews of any driver. Here he’s honest. Good chemistry is the goal , they’ll see if the have it. Only late thirties but a well traveled driver with no illusions of where racing fits in. Balancing racing with work and a family. Man I hope he has success.
    No one knows what Stafford is doing for the two open modified shows but Stebbins and Greer know they’re in. A good sign.

  19. Woody is good in modifieds or full fender. Happy to see them continue together. I’m excited to see this team race in 2018.

  20. geoffrey doppelgänger says

    What is Woody’s real job. I heard that he works in a toy store.

  21. Now he needs to learn relationship skills. Not enough talent to be difficult to get along with.

  22. I thought he worked for NASA

  23. Ron I would like to know where you get your info

  24. geoffrey doppelgänger says

    Oh, he works for NASA. Of course, the Nocturnal Automotive Service Association!

  25. He get’s along with everyone. If you have a problem getting along with Woody then you sir shouldn’t be in the racing business!

  26. Have known Woody since he was about 10 years old. We used to sneak him into Thompson before he was old enough to get in. Started racing as a wild child but by the time he had moved up to late models he had mellowed a bit . Today he is a very polite respective person and one hell of a driver. He needs to let that wild child poke through every now and then. I have nothing but the greatest respect for him and hope for the best. He’s paid his dues. And if you see him tell him “Julio” says hi he’ll know exactly who you mean

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