Craig Lutz Aims To Finally Score With Whelen Mod Tour At Stafford NAPA Fall Final 150

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Craig Lutz (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

He just wants to win.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season has definitely been a success for Miller Place, New York, native Craig Lutz, as he sits fourth in the championship standings with two races remaining.

But for him, the mark he’s looking for is his first career win. In 66 career starts, he’s winless so far, but feels like the annual NAPA Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway this weekend could be the place he gets the job done.

RACING-REFERENCE: Craig Lutz 2019 Season Stats

“Obviously the No. 2 and the No. 51 are the guys to beat everywhere,” Lutz said. “It’s hard to take the spotlight from them, but I think it’s been an awesome year for us. The whole team has grown together, putting together top-five finishes. It’s time to get a win.”

In his last eight Stafford starts, Lutz has finished inside top 10, a number that includes back-to-back second-place efforts. In last year’s NAPA Fall Final 150, Lutz’s pit strategy put him in position, but he couldn’t quite hang on in the final laps. In this year’s NAPA Spring Sizzler, Lutz led five laps late, but got passed by Coby for the win.

In August, he finished fifth after running inside the top seven for the duration of the race.

“I think we need to qualify better, our average starting spot is a lot further back than some of the top five guys,” Lutz said. “It seems to come down to pit strategy. Last year in the Fall Final, the last 20 or 30 laps, I feel like I was the car to beat. It’s a gamble.”

The gamble on pit strategy is because teams are only allowed to take one tire per stop during caution flag periods at Stafford, which dices things up. He’s finished inside the top 10 in the last nine races this season and scored eight top five finishes in the first 14. His top-five count has more than doubled from his best season previously.

“My crew chief Doug prepares an awesome car, the setups are always very close when we get to the track,” Lutz said. “Stafford is my favorite track and that definitely helps. We’ve been running consistent all year.”

“Our season compared to last year, the competition level just stepped up,” Lutz said. “If this was last year, I’d be second in points right now. Running on the tour is probably the toughest competition you will ever race against. We want to win races, and with two races to go, and two tracks where I feel like we have a good shot at it, we are going to take some chances. We have nothing to lose.”

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes:

  • Woody Pitkat, a former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champion at Stafford, returns to his home track with a new team for the first time. In his first outing with Eddie Harvey Racing in the Musket 250 presented by Whelen at NHMS, Pitkat lost multiple laps, but was able to rebound and score a 12th-place finish. In 2018, Pitkat finished second at Stafford once in Whelen Modified Tour action — but he also has two of his four career wins at the half-mile.
  • Joey Cipriano III, a current competitor in Stafford’s SK Modified division, will make his third career start at the NAPA Fall Final. Cipriano was running inside the top 10 when a motor blew during the Stafford 150 in August, drawing the only caution of the event. He’s DNFed out of both races at the Connecticut oval this season, but has shown plenty of speed.
  • After a motor issue in Jamie Tomaino’s No. 99 at New Hampshire, Chase Dowling has withdrawn from that entry — but filed to sit behind the wheel of the No. 82 Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet for Danny Watts. Dowling drove the car at Oswego Speedway earlier in the month, and finished ninth.

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  1. Dowling in the 82 for round 2. Can he make that car better. Does he add setup knowledge in addition to his driving ability?
    Coby, Silk and Lutz are the guys to beat at Stafford.

  2. What does Dowling in the 82 have to do with Lutz? The article is about Craig Lutz. Unbelievable!

  3. I do enjoy your passion Earl. Those of us that post a lot end up with persona’s good of bad. Or they can be good or bad for different people. Mine clearly annoys you and others as well.. I can say virtually anything of any length and it ticks you off, It’s just part of the game here in the trenches.
    Right now there are numerous interesting stories with no comments. You could chose to get the ball rolling like I tried to here with an innocent and SHORT entry. Didn’t trash anyone, didn’t mock or provoke or in any way reflect badly on anyone. But it ticked you off. A lot of people that post need to be outraged in some way before they post. I’m guessing because it’s easier to be pissed off then to do a little homework, say something insightful and do it respectfully.
    I don’t get it but if you need to get ticked off to join the conversation and if I can be your catalyst then so much the better. It would be nice though if you could say something about motor sports while I’m ticking you off. I can say when I’m not in your cross hairs I enjoy some of your insights.

  4. 82 is noncompetitive on big tracks. Lutz is soooooo due for a win. Maybe Sunday.

  5. I can’t wait for the #46 team to get its break through win. I’m hoping it’s this weekend while i’m there!!

  6. Craig has paid his dues. Hopefully the stars align, and he gets that break through win before the end of the season. I think his best shot will be this weekend at Stafford, only because of Bonsignore’s record at Thompson. Doug Coby also needs a strong performance at Stafford for the same reason if he hopes to de-throne Bonsignore. Good Luck to all the teams.

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