Fighter: Woody Pitkat Battles To Capture Valenti Modified Racing Series Championship

Woody Pitkat celebrates the 2018 Valenti Modified Racing Series championship Saturday at the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON – It was a championship that Woody Pitkat seemed only destined to lose.

In the end it was a title that Pitkat scraped and clawed and limped to hang on to.

And Saturday night at Thompson Speedway that grasp to hang on to any chance to win paid off for the Stafford driver.

Despite getting wrecked early and limping to a 30th place finish, Pitkat celebrated the 2018 Valenti Modified Racing Series championship.

It was the second series title for Pitkat, who won his first with the series in 2015.

“It was a long weekend obviously,” Pitkat said. “Not the way that I wanted to finish it off.”

Pitkat came into Saturday’s season finale for the series leading second place Mike Willis Jr. by 15 points and third place Anthony Nocella by 47 points.

But the story of scraping together began weeks ago when Pitkat realized his former team wasn’t going to finish this season with him. With two events remaining Pitkat was without a ride.

He secured a ride with team owner Stan Mertz for the penultimate event of the season on Oct. 7 at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. Pitkat won the event and jumped from third to first in the standings.

He then was offered a ride for the season finale by fellow Valenti Modified Racing Series competitor Todd Patnode.

But then Saturday at Thompson the hope of putting it all together seemed lost five laps into the 50-lap feature when he made contact with Dylan Rock in turn four and ended up spinning to the infield wall on the frontstretch.

Pitkat’s team somehow mended the damage and Pitkat was able to limp around the track to complete seven laps of the event and secure two points for his finish.

After Pitkat’s mishap it seemed Willis was in control until he was involved in a lap 26 wreck.

When the dust settled Willis ended up gaining nine points for his 22nd place finish. Nocella used a fourth place finish to edge Willis by one point for second place in the standings with 456 points. Pitkat earned two points and ended the season with 463 points.

“I don’t know what happened because I was trying to go easy,” Pitkat said of the early crash. “It just looked like the 47 got a little bit loose and got into the side of me and that was it. Once I hit the grass I knew I was a dead duck. We just tried to look at the points and see what we needed to, get some parts and fix it. Once we saw that Mike had that misfortune we tried to get out and a get a couple laps. It’s just nice that the hard work we did over the weekend came out.

“… It’s really unbelievable to be able to piece together rides here at the end of the year to cap this off. That’s just my never give up attitude. When you think you’re down just keep digging. This is awesome.”

Richard Savary of Canton, Mass. ended up fourth in the standings. Jacob Perry of Pawcatuck finished the season fifth in the standings and won the division’s Rookie of the Year award.


  1. Sharpie Fan says

    Congrats Woody!

  2. Awsome job!

  3. Some folks may find fault with the anemic way Pitkat limped to the championship. It was bizarre for sure. I prefer to think of it as a testament to his popularity and rep in the sport.
    But hey, hey, hey how bout them VMRS modifieds. What a show. 31 cars, some drama in the race, driver changes, Owen of all people the winner and Bryan Narducci getting a 7 th place finish. Not bad for the kid aye. Appears he may be ready for prime time after all.

  4. CONGRATS to Woody on winning your second VMRS championship

  5. Sharpie Fan says

    You have to be in position in order to win!

  6. Curious George says

    Any idea what happened with Woody and the #52?

  7. Hillary 2028 says

    Think they ran out of funds.

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