Quenching: Woody Pitkat Wins Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 At Stafford

Woody Pitkat celebrates victory in the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Modified racing veteran Woody Pitkat doesn’t hide the fact that when it comes to enjoying an adult beverage, Twisted Tea is usually his drink of choice. 

Friday at Stafford Speedway Pitkat got the chance to celebrate that fact with a trophy. 

Pitkat, of Stafford, held off the final lap charge of Eric Goodale to win the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

“Everybody knows how much I like Twisted Tea’s, so to be able to come here and win the Twisted Tea 80, I’m sure we were probably written off here, but man I had such a great car,”Pitkat said. “I can’t thank [team owner Stan Mertz] enough.” 

Goodale, of Riverhead, N.Y., was second and Joey Cipriano III of Waterbury third. 

For Pitkat, a trip to victory lane at the historic half-mile was a homecoming. It was the 78thcareer victory all-time at the track for Pitkat, who had run full-time at the facility for more than a decade. He sits second on the track’s all-time win list behind the late Ted Christopher, who has 131 wins. Pitkat’s last win at Stafford was in 2016. 

“This is unbelievable,” Pitkat said. “I still can’t believe it. I know it’s been a long time. [Track operator] Paul Arute has been saying ‘Oh you’ve got a four or five year winless streak down here.’ Well it’s like, I don’t race here weekly so you can’t really count that.” 

The race saw some early fireworks when Craig Lutz spun Keith Rocco out of the lead in turn three on lap 38. Lutz was black-flagged for the move. 

Todd Owen moved past Matt Galko for the lead on lap 43 with Pitkat getting by Galko for second on lap 60. Pitkat used the outside lane to get by Owen for the lead on a lap 64 restart with Ronnie Williams following him to second. 

Williams got by Pitkat for the lead on lap 66, but Pitkat came right back to go to the front on lap 71. 

Goodale moved to third on a lap 78 restart then got by Cipriano for second a lap later. Goodale gave Pitkat a tap to the bumper in turn three on a final lap then tried to get under him for the lead out of turn four coming to the checkered flag. 


  1. CONGRATS Woody for the Twisted Tea Open 80 win. Great job.

  2. How come they never post the full finishing order.lame

  3. The unofficial top-10 is always posted on this page immediately following events at the results page. Full results are always published on the Stafford Speedway page after they are made official. Sorry you think the site/coverage is lame.

  4. Hot damn, there is a results page?!?! All these years I never knew.

    As word spreads today, anyone at Star last night witnessed the greatest 20 laps in motorsports history. Joey Pole and Derek Griffith went door to door, wheel to wheel, side by side for the last 20 laps of the GSPSS 100 race. Photo finish at the end. They never touched. Absolutely outstanding. One for the history books. Congrats to both those young men. Joey Pole was the winner by inches.

  5. Randy, You can get the unofficial finish or how they crossed the line on race monitor. You can get info updated live as the event unfolds or after the fact just search results for Stafford. If there is any penalties after the fact the results will be incorrect. Congrats to woody and his team. It sounds like it was a good race from the write up.

  6. WOW that was an 80 lap 26 car ENDURO with modified’s seems like all 26 cars made contact with all the other 25 during the race whoever said Stafford was boring and u cant pass should watch a tape of this Race Congrats to WOODY and how excited he was in Victory Lane the 1 Open race i picked not to attend this yr and watch online was THE BEST OPEN race Stafford has had and Meg Fuller with the win while Robinson and Hydar drag racing her to the finish wowwwww, THANK YOU STAFFORD!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Agree great night of racing at Stafford Kudos to Stafford for starting the show early enough to get the fans out at a decent time on a cool night. Open show was good with lots of racing battles though
    out the field and comers and goers at the front, bit Woody had the best long run car and it showed. More open shows in 2021 with a track champion and point fund etc? Would the competitors support it? Would it dilute the sk and lite fields? Just a thought..

  8. Congratulations Woody! Great job.

  9. The 63 car was testing before the gates opened. Is Bobby Santos running the tour race? I saw a small TFR trailer. Assuming it was the 63 trailer. Was Doug Coby driving that car? Looked like his helmet.

  10. Roll the tape:
    -best race other then Pitkat….Goodale. Lap 16 car not going at all, almost a lap down, goes in the pits and catches a break as caution flies soon after. Sitting dejected, crew in no rush, gloves coming off then off camera something happens, they do something and get him out just in time. 15 with 9 to go. 14 with 7 to go. 13 with 6 to go. 6th with three to go and then more good fortune. On the restart Lutz 4th goes three wide messing up Galko and Goodale shoots to 3nd then makes quick work of Joey Brass. Two taps in turn three to the 6’s back bumper, Pitkat goes a little wide and it’s race to the checkers. Two more laps the 58 would have won.
    -when did the outside lane become the preferred starting spot on restarts for some at Stafford? When did the outside lane become so consistently effective to pass?
    -Lap leaders Dowling, Rocco, Owen, Williams, Pitkat
    -cautions 43 to go, 16 to go, 17 to go, 7 to go, 7 to go, 5 to go, 3 to go.
    -Does Lutz hate Stafford regulars. Took out Rocco lap 43 and Williams lap 5.
    – all day practice did not pay of for the 50. 16 to go, Williams is in second and licking his chops as a repeat looks likely. What happened? Two cautions on lap 7 and the 50 was terrible on the restart. Sucking wind big time. Slips back to 5th with 6 to go then Lutz turns him with 5 to go. Proving once again that drivers cannot perform miracles if the car isn’t right and luck isn’t on your side. Williams not the next best thing just a good driver..
    -you think Pitkat was good in victory lane check out Facebook for his pit interview. Catch the guy in a good mood and he is a self interview providing so much rapid fire information in a short period of time you have to listen to it twice.
    -SK engine blown, credit Steve Greer/Gunsmoke Stables who loaned the 6 a motor. Pitkat did a lot of the setup based on old notes and voila. As well as Stan Mertz obviously for one of the unlikeliest of wins from a group of local race who’s who.
    -LM whomever that is called the long shot picking Pitkat and wins the unsung fan award. And unlike some of the regulars that claim to be right when not always the case was actually right.
    -Swanson also a heart break hotel. Moving up, flat tire, moved up again and got turned.
    -Really, Dowling and Rocco in the front to start and who would have thought what happened would happen. The Lutzcracker whatever that is may have saved a boring race by taking out Rocco.

    Final thoughts:
    Why are opens so popular? Unpredictability and movement. It’s never over til it’s over
    Why is Pitkat one of the most successful traveling shoes? He’s a relationship accumulator that gives loyalty and gets it in return. Loyalty to a great owner Mertz traveling hither and yon with an under powered 6 always the underdog. Motor expires and a relationship spanning the better part of a decade or more nets a motor. Producing a second at White Mountain and a win here. When is losing a motor ever a good thing? Apparently the season of the pandemic.

  11. Barry,
    I don’t think Santos is running Stafford. And yes it was Doug driving.

  12. R.I.P. Notorious R.B.G. You made a profound difference in the lives of so many people, and have set the bar high for those who follow.

  13. The outside lane became the preferred land after the stickum was added to it , I think a couple weeks ago

  14. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Yes. RIP to the notorious RBG. I was at Stafford watching the races when I heard the news. I had to leave early because I was so distraught. I only wish I didn’t check my phone until the races were finished.

  15. Really 2020??????

  16. Is that a fact that they put something down to help the outside groove? An actual fact?

  17. Earl, RBG was one of the most respected people on the Supreme Court. Her actions both as a Supreme Court jurist, as well as cases she argued before the court before being on it, changed many many lives for the better. You may not have liked her, but at the very least you should respect her. It’s sad to say, but we may never see another jurist as unbiased as RBG, she looked at cases at face value with respect to the law, and without political or social motive. We we’re lucky to have a jurist like her, she set the bar high for those who will follow.

  18. Great question re: traction compound in the outside lane at Stafford. The outside worked for Rufrano and Rocco in earlier Open 80s, but the leader always chose the inside for restarts. On Friday, the outside was the preferred lane on several restarts. The outside has also been put to good use at the Bowl this year.

  19. Original Barry says

    I miss one weekend at the track and a new Barry shows up… ;^)

    Did the track add traction compound again? I know they’ve tried it in the past. Are they doing it again this weekend?

  20. Rob p, not challenging RBG’s credentials or her accomplishments and I have the utmost respect for her however, with all due respect the only person I would leave a race for in the case of a death or serious injury would be a family member.

    But I guess to each his own!

  21. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Ok, well I didn’t think I’d have to say it out loud but. I was not being serious about leaving Stafford early. I came here to read about Woody’s win. I could care less about any comments about a supreme court jurist. 🤣🤣. On the other hand, when I was at Waterford Saturday and the pizza truck ran out of pizza, I flipped out and had to leave.

  22. I got it 2020. Knew you were provoking trouble at the outset by mocking the woman. What I don’t get is that after you do it, get the responses you clearly were looking for now say you could care less.
    You did it again. Brought a partisan topic that we all see now has exploded in the news and is very emotional to this forum then walk away smiling………who me? Did I do that?
    I too know I’ve heard references to the treatment of the outer groove at Stafford on more then one occasion but can’t locate anything in writing.
    If you go to Staffordspeedway.tv and click on the Bottom Shot Podcast with Lisa Arute and go to about the 20 minute mark there are a few interesting comments on the surface. Ms Arute is an engineer by trade and was instrumental in the last paving of the track. It is possible that as the track wears and fines erode the groove can change. I suppose it could be changing now but still think a treatment was put down. In either case it sure makes for good racing.

  23. 2020, your bad, but I knew you were joking. I can also understand your lack of care. I just wanted to acknowledge an astonishing figure in what will be american history.
    The political battle going on is…foolish… A bunch of grown men and women acting like children. Makes it easy to give up on the system that makes this country great. The rich will always be rich, the poor always poor, and in the end, we are all just a number

  24. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Yeah what’s foolish is bringing up Ginsberg in a story about Pitkat. Who brought it up to begin with Doug?

  25. That’s where we are. A brief, simple remembrance called “foolish”, the woman labeled “notorious” and mocked. The mere mention of her an offense.

  26. No 2020, it was actually Rob p the started the RPG convo, lets not throw Doug under the bus.

  27. I brought it up 2020. Foolish? No. Allot of people still don’t understand, what’s happening in politics, and decisions being made, do directly affect racers and race fans.
    This pandemic, do you really think things will be back to normal by April 2021? The answer is no, they won’t be anywhere near that. Some experts are saying possibly by the 3rd quarter of 2021 vaccinations will be available for the masses, and that’s only a maybe, and only if these vaccines actually work. Had the right decisions been made back in February, things would be allot better now as far as the numbers go, and all these restrictions wouldn’t be as restrictive, and although the virus would still be here, we’d have some control over it. Instead the administration walked away, and some governors failed to act, and BOOM, we are where we are now. Trump has recently said very few people were affected by the virus. Tell that to the families of the 200,000+ who died from this, and the many many more who went through hell on earth sick with it. And we don’t even know what the long term effects will be.
    Now look at the Supreme Court playing out. Look at all the Senators who said in 2016 that a pick shouldn’t be made till after the election, only to flip flop now, how do you trust that they are doing things in the best interest of us? Sad thing is they refuse to negotiate a relief package large enough to actually help the country in a time of great need.
    When you step back and look at everything, it’s sickening, our health and well being are being used as political pawns. Like I said, in the end we’re all just a number, and we’ll stay that, until things change, and if people stop caring change will never come.

  28. And, I’m sorry for the political rant. It’s just sickening these people stand there and outright lie, and the ignorance people have allows them to do it time after time.
    If they actually did their job and put country before party, on both sides, they wouldn’t have to worry about getting re elected, because people would say ” hey, he actually did make a difference” the lies have to stop. Politicians need to realize they are there to work for us, not to advance their personal agenda.

  29. See that 2020. That’s all you. You show a little self control and it never happens.

  30. Any info re: traction compound at Stafford? Shawn?

  31. Rafter,
    I don’t have any info on where they’ve been putting it down.

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