Destruction Derby: Woody Pitkat Proves Survivor In Wild Whelen Mod Tour Jersey Shore 150 At Wall Stadium

Woody Pitkat celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Jersey Shore 150 Saturday at Wall Stadium (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

After more than a decade away, the return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to Wall Stadium in Wall, N.J. Satuday night proved to be a show to remember, but a night most series regulars will want to soon forget. 

When the checkered flag finally fell on an intensely destructive Jersey Shore 150 Saturday at Wall Stadium it was Woody Pitkat celebrating his first series victory since 2015. 

How chaotic was the Jersey Shore 150? It was a night when a car nearly cleared the fence in one wreck, and that probably wasn’t even one of the top-three most dramatic incidents of the night. 

Rob Summers, who finished third, crossing the line while being involved in a wild wreck, summed up the night perfectly. 

“I’ve been racing for a long time and I’ve never seen nothing like this,” Summers said. “I was up in the air sideways [at the finish]. I spent more time in the air tonight than I did on the track.” 

Pitkat passed Timmy Catalano for the lead on a lap 156 green-white-checkered restart and held on for the victory as carnage unfolded behind him at the checkered flag. 

It was the fourth career Whelen Modified Tour victory for Pitkat and his first series win since the 2015 NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Speedway. It was Pitkat’s first win with the Danny Watts Racing team. He joined the organization to replace Ted Christopher in September 2017 after Christopher’s tragic death in a plane crash. 

“We’ve been chasing this car for a long time,” Pitkat said. “We’ve battled with this thing. It’s just nice to get this thing in victory lane. … That was the big thing, getting through the carnage and keeping the wheels straight. … I just tried to be there at the end and that’s where we were.” 

It was the first event at the one-third mile high banked Wall Stadium since May 6, 2007.

After getting sideways on the final restart, Catalano fell back to third. From there he became embroiled in a fight for the position over the final lap with Dave Sapienza. The two got sideways coming off turn four and Sapienza’s car clipped a charging Summers coming to the checkered, sending Summers wildly across the line. 

“We had a great car,” Summers said. “I’m happy for the team. We’ve had a rough year so far. To finish third with no wheels and tires on the car, it’s like a win for us.” 

Sapienza’s car ended up darting to the infield and slammed head-on into an infield barrier after crossing the finish line. Sapienza walked away from the wreck dazed after being scored fifth place at the finish. 

Justin Bonsignore started on the pole with home track regular Andrew Krause second. 

Bonsignore and Krause engaged a fierce battle for the top spot from the green flag. On lap 33 contact between the two sent Bonsignore spinning out of the lead. 

By lap 55 Doug Coby had clawed from his sixth starting spot to move past Ron Silk for second place behind Krause. 

Coby went by Krause for the lead on a lap 67 restart. With about five laps left before the lap-100 break, Coby’s right rear began smoking. Under the NASCAR mandated caution his team was able to get the needed repairs to keep him up front. 

The red flag fell on the field on lap 112 when Anthony Sesely nearly cleared the turn four wall, getting half his car over the wall before riding the guardrail and coming back down on the track. 

On a lap 139 restart, Krause stayed outside of Coby fighting for the lead. Contact between the two into turn three sent Coby spinning and Krause was collected in the wreck. 

With Coby and Krause out of the way, it was Silk assuming the lead, but his time up front was short-lived. On the ensuing restart on lap 146, Catalano and Silk made contact, turn Silk spinning just after the green flag flew. Simultaneously behind Silk and Catalano, third place runner Calvin Carroll made contact with Bonsignore in fourth, sending Bonsignore into the back and back down the track, setting off another huge wreck. 

That set up the final restart with Catalano assuming the top spot and Pitkat in second. 

Silk ended up finishing eighth. Coby, the points leader coming into the event, ended up 10th

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  1. Congrats to Woody and the whole #82 team. It’s been a long time since Woody scored a win.Hopefully tonight is a big step in getting the team turned around.

  2. Well that was disappointing. Actually the cream of the crop in asphalt modified racing should be a little embarrassed at that performance I would think.
    Such a shame about Krause. It was his moment and poof…….gone.
    Big winners were Wade Cole at 11 one lap down and Melissa Fifield at 15 4 laps down who did well simply by not being competitive. Crazy!

  3. Sharpie Fan says

    Full moon racing.

    Congrats Woody!

  4. Sharpie, that’s 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣!!!!! Full moon racing!!!!! Perfect!!!!

    That was a wreckfest. The quantity of wrecked cars is just amazing. That so many were still running while being all bent up was remarkable.

    Can’t believe the 01 was only 4 laps down, looked like she was being lapped quite often.

    That track likes brakes, the rotors were glowing on some cars all around the track. Coby’s RF was shooting sparks most of the race.

    Just two weeks to get ready for Seekonk.

  5. LFR better buy a welder, too many clips for Raceworks to bail them out again, lots of damage out there last night.

  6. When the moon started peeking over the trees just before the mods came on to the track, I told my wife “this isn’t going to be a good thing”. Whenever I’ve been to Wall on a night with a full moon (there’s been quite a few over the years) it always has been this kind of insane night.

  7. Liz Cherokee says

    Congratulations Melissa on your great finish! I’ll drink to that!

  8. That was ridiculous. More of a demo derby/endure than a modified race. They ran 69 laps under caution, they were only 6 laps away from doing half under caution and they had 2 or 3 red flags to save laps. That’s 46% of the race being completed lead by the pace truck, that has to be a record for a tour race going the scheduled distance. I don’t think they had at any time more that 20 consecutive laps under green at any point. There is a lot of work to repair cars for Seekonk. Thankfully they have a few weeks.

    Congrats to Woody Pitkat for surviving the race, good to see that team get a win. I do feel bad for Krausse, he ran great and deserved better. Does anyone know what caused the smoke from Coby’s right rear before the lap 100 break? How about Summers stating something to the affect, I finished on the podium, my car has 3 tires down and it is probably going to have to be towed back to the pits. The race is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN Wednesday around 3pm. It should be interesting to see what their take is on it. I thought the Fans choice broadcast was done really well, the announcers were good had some back stories on some of the drivers, Multiple camera angles and replays were provided throughout the race.

  9. sour grapes of sheetmetal and clips says

    watched it on fans choice PHIL SMITH !!!..LOL typical short track racing (wall/riverhead) if you ask me ..the track worker next to the fence at the end literally dodged a bullet when sapienza went in hard!!!. yes slowed by cautions what short track race with a full moon isn’t ?? car didn’t win the race .. that happens sometimes…wall in my opinion may have some work to do around some potential trouble spots on the track safety wise ..the guardrail ride could have been worse if he had struck the lightpole….mid race ..pit exit narrow ??? and or course the ending on the front stretch. glad all are ok to race another day..would love to see a regular LFR front runner get in the 01 to perhaps help that team with their performance issues ..

  10. Sharpie Fan says

    How many Lucky Dogs did the 01 get?

  11. Mod Racer says

    From what I am hearing it sounds like LFR is purchasing more than a few welders.

  12. Be nice if the could service their own cars

  13. Congratulations to Woody; the artful-dodger.

  14. Crazy in NY says

    ….cream of the crop in asphalt modified racing……
    I always get chuckle when I see that written. Cream dis!!
    A friends tag line on his Internet page reads this>
    NASCAR Whelen Tour…a place where SK drivers go to wreck even more expensive equipment.

    I get a chuckle out of that too.
    Real racing will resume at Seekonk ( hopefully) so all is well.

  15. I don’t see what is so amusing or out of bounds Mr. NY.
    Clever one line mockery is fun but vague mockery encompassing the series and SK drivers as well is just hurtful with no point. Series depend and thrive when drivers and teams advance from lower divisions. The last two years some quality drivers and teams advanced as rookies in the NWMT which shows strength.
    The reality is the NWMT is the cream of the crop in asphalt modified racing.They are a group of mostly experienced, sophisticated teams with great equipment that have been doing the same thing together for a long time at different venues.
    That makes it all the more befuddling how they produced such a stinker, that had nothing to do with SK drivers. It was more like they had no idea who they were racing with or what the other drivers tendencies were.
    I don’t know if it was a grove thing or what but I’ve never seen experienced guys rubbing tires on pace laps as much as they did at Wall.
    I can’t prove it obviously but after a while my feeling was that there was no way they’d get by a first lap restart because they were so packed together and those Wall turns are so tight and banked mayhem was inevitable.

  16. Coby,Bonsignore,Silk,Solomito,Pitkat,Blewett,Tommaino were the only drivers in the field that have ever won a WMT race, Tour is full of drivers that have been there for years with 0 wins. 27 cars took the green of the remaining 20 cars 5 are legit and belong, the other 15 dont have the resume to be in the top Division, unfortunately racing is only sport where money supercedes talent level.

  17. 7 drivers is 26% of the field. That’s a big percent isn’t it?
    My view is using winning as the sole criteria for gauging a competent driver and team is too narrow.
    Racing excellence……..winning…… not a function of the drivers ability alone. It is the result of a menu of factors all of which together must be in top form to end up in the winners circle. The idea that the driver alone is responsible for all those factors where the program comes up short and therefore he or she cannot be a good driver makes no sense.
    Furthermore rather then making some vague reference to a group not having a sufficient resume why not name them. That would result in a lively and fun debate I’m sure.

  18. Crazy in NY says

    ……It was more like they had no idea who they were racing with ………..
    Chuckle now goes to full on belly laugh. WTH does that mean Dougly?
    Maybe not being there since 07 has something to do with it.
    Or a track where fast brakes are as important as (or more so) than fast motors.
    You can babble on about the “cream” all you want but by most accounts what was called
    a race there Saturday was an embarrassment. 69 of 150 laps were mustard colored so
    like the typical SK wreckfest…if the shoe fits……

  19. Brooks babble. Most people think it’s very pleasant so I’ll take that as a compliment Mr. NY.
    I will assume your ill advised comments on the SK’s are from a general lack of familiarity with them. We all tend to mock what we don’t know don’t we?
    Thompson’s SK show proved your point for sure. Fridays Stafford show was more typical. First caution came out around lap 28 or so. Three cautions total as I recall and 23 of 26 cars finished all 40 laps.That’s more typical racing for the Stafford SK’s.
    Then there is the lap speeds that are so tight in the first twenty cars. A situation where typically fast cars Like Williams, Rocco and Christopher have been having a hard time making passes on cars they should be superior to in theory. It’s all very in the weeds and I know that bore’s you so I will wish you a good day and good health.

  20. wmass01013 says

    Doug, you have to Understand that Dumb in NY hates the WMT,, as long as his boy MH shows up for tri track races and doesn’t need to run any qualifying races, just the feature ALLL IS GOOD!!, the wall race was not good racing as obviously neither was any race at Thompson sunday, I was at neither but watched the entire wall race, MH would have lapped the field 3 times at wall with his SMART driving and knowledge, if you watched the WALL race u saw the inside guy try the MOVE UP the outside guy all night long and it just didn’t work with the wall banking and then guys coming out of 4 down the front stretch were also putting guys up in the wall, anytime the WMT has a BAD race Dumb will be here to add his less than .02 cents. Maybe MH will be at Seekonk and ALLL WE BE WELL WITH THE WMT AGAIN

  21. Crazy in NY says

    Dumb here. Wrongo there Chick-oh-pee. I don’t hate any Modified racing that is why unlike you or Dougless or the great Dareel you’ll find me at the Tour, ROC, TTOM (this Sun ,,can’t wait) . I’ll be at the AMT when that starts and the Bullring Bash. btw the ROC event this past Sat was plagued by the same full moon with too many SK (slash that.. don’t mean to demean DaDoug) ah..Sportmod type driving and if you’ll look on RacedayCT for the report from Riverhead they had full moon fever as well. The point? All series have their days..good and bad. but the idea that the cream of the crop is on a single tour is bullhockey in my eyes. Will the 60 be at Seekonk? Buy a ticket and find out for yourself.

  22. Folks, Crazy in NY has a serious case of envy. Many eons ago, NY used to be THE hot bed of modified racing. The greats like Evans, Bodine, Spencer, Leaty, Kent, etc. were the regulars out that way. I lived out that way, I saw it, enjoyed it. No more. ROC is the equivalent of the VMRS, a loosely organized open series. Even MH doesn’t run for a ROC championship, he cherry picks events. The champion is the car that runs the most races. The ROC teams can’t compete with the NWMT teams. Yeah, Crazy will go nuts and cite how MH did at his regular itty bitty ROC bullrings when the NWMT visited… BFD. MH better do well on tracks that he runs regularly against teams with little experience on those tracks. If MH was that good, he would have been driving in the NWMT for years and years already.

  23. Dan on LI says

    First things first. It was a great crowd at Wall for this race. Really into it from where I sat. In fact, anyone who says single car qualifying sucks, wasnt there to see how much the crowd was into qualifying. In fact, I never saw so many people watching modified practice at any race I’ve ever been to. While the race, in a way, was disappointing compared to the pre-race excitement, the problem isnt with the drivers nor the track or the guard rails. It’s Nascar. No way they should let a race be run with that many caution laps. I’ve seen them do it plenty of times at other tracks. Cant blame the track or the drivers for that. Was it a wreck fest? Yeah, it eventually became one. Was that due to inexperience and poor set ups? I’m sure. Maybe if they had two races a year, I am sure the racing would be a hell of a lot better, so give it time.

    The only pet peeve I have, is Melissa Fifield. To see her out there, lap after lap, get in the way of the leaders is ridiculous. She’s awful. She couldn’t keep up with the field. Maybe she should go to SK’s or SK Lites. She doesn’t belong out there. Believe me (or don’t) I have nothing against women in racing and if she kept up with the field, and she could exhibit her driving skill I would have nothing to say about it. The whole field was lapping her, not once… but many, many times. Doesn’t make for good racing watching someone go in reverse. I want to watch the cars race, not check up every two laps because she is down low, putting around the track. She is far more dangerous than the guard rails around the track. Several of the wrecks can be traced back to her. Sorry, I just have to speak the truth as I saw it.

    Anyway, it was a decent race, certainly not the best, or comparable to any Turkey Derby, but decent. Looking forward to the Tour coming to Riverhead. Turn four was fixed and some new asphalt put down, leading to some track record times so far this season. Should be interesting.

  24. Crazy in NY says

    If MH was that good, he would have been driving in the NWMT for years and years already

    Looks like I scored a hat trick as the third member of the Triad has piped in. Mr.Oswego is a bullring himself. Nice of you to take a respite from your Waterford hate to enlighten us with your brilliance. years and years? Like when he finished 2nd in points? waaaaaay back in 2008?
    joining Wade, Woodie, Jamie and maybe a couple of more from that year. But as you say he’s not
    that good because he’s not full time on the Tour.. Sure..let’s go with that.
    ( the laughter continues…..)

  25. Just to be clear Sportsman Modifieds generally refer to mods with crate engines. That’s not SK’s at all. SK’s have built,highly evolved, expensive power engineered to maximize power around the 2 barrel that some say has gotten out of control. SK’s can be found mostly in and are unique to Ct and do not cross over to other tracks as far as I know. So if you are seeing some kind of Mod in NY or PA enjoy but it’s not an SK.
    On occasion in this forum a few travelers have trashed the SK’s for whatever reason. Mostly they do it because any division that is in front of what they want to see is an impediment to their enjoyment. One caution will rile those folks.It’s understandable given the length of Staffords shows sometimes.
    I don’t need to marginalize any mod series to say the NWMT is the cream of the crop. Aside from the equipment that is simply the best the ticket prices are the highest of any series and they consistently get the biggest crowds. Top chassis builders like Troyer and LFR work hand in hand with NWMT teams and roll out new equipment targeted at the series first. The series is older then the Cup series and in spite of NASCAR’s diminished reputation it is NASCAR. What more proof do you need. That clinker at Wall notwithstanding this season promises to be one of the most competitive and unpredictable in a long time.
    Enjoy whatever series you like but geeze Louise give credit where credit is due.

  26. Fast Eddie says

    When I first started getting deep into short track racing, I prioritized the tour events.However, anywhere I went that also had SK’s running usually put on a really good race as well. Occasionally a track would hold a longer distant race with extra $$ and there were some great “regular vs. invader” battles. One of these days I have to get to the SK 5K at Stafford…

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