Winds Of Change: Woody Pitkat Looking At Slowing Down While Staying Up To Speed

Woody Pitkat (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

The 2022 racing season will have a very different feel than years past for veteran Woody Pitkat.

The 42-year old Stafford native has long been a driver known for having a diverse and overflowing racing schedule. From the Whelen Modified Tour to Tri-Track Open Modified Series events to Tour Type Open Modified racing to the American-Canadian Tour to Late Models at Thompson. If there’s a seat with a team owner wanting Pitkat in it, he’s usually ready to jump in.

But the schedule will have a noticeably lighter load in 2022 for Pitkat.

It was announced last week that he will no longer run for the Tour Type Open Modified team owned by Stan Mertz. And after spending the last 13 years running full-time or close to full-time on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Pitkat will not be running regularly with the division in 2022.

Pitkat will race in 2022 for new team owner Doug Dunleavy, who purchased the former Whelen Modified Tour operation previously owned by Eddie Harvey. The team will focus primarily on Tour Type Open Modified events at Stafford Speedway while mixing in some other selected events on the schedule for 2022.

It’s a break from the grind that Pitkat has been saying for years was coming.

“I’ve got two boys and a daughter, a family and things change when you start growing up, unfortunately,” Pitkat said this week during an appearance on the Unmuffled podcast. “Not that it’s a bad thing, but the priorities should change. And I feel like every year I say it … I say that I’m going to slow down in racing, and I feel like I don’t. Really, my priority should be my family and my kids and I’m still racing. I’m fortunate enough to have a great wife that was involved in racing. Growing up in racing she raced herself. Her brother and her father raced and her grandfather raced. She knows the stuff I deal with. Even she stopped racing and got a great job and her priority is our kids and I understand that.

“Things change. So it comes to a point where you need to kind of slow down and really think that. I know that I missed some stuff with my daughter when she was growing up that I don’t want to miss with my boys growing up. There’s a time where you need to cut back and spend valuable time with your family. The racing will always be there. … You don’t want to take substantial years off and try to go back to racing, but there’s no reason why I can’t slow down.”

To hear plenty more from Pitkat about all the changes taking place in his racing career listen in on episode 112 of Unmuffled.


  1. Goodness the accolades for being a good family man are starting to pour in on social media.
    Reality check if you please.
    Racing on the weekend and being a good mom or dad during racing season is almost impossible the demands are just to great. Compromises are made and the spouses are the ones that make it all possible. It’s unfair but that’s the way it is and if someone tells you otherwise they’re a diehard race fan that isn’t being realistic.
    The deal with Dunleavy is perfect for this time in Pitkat’s life. The winners being the Pitkat clan and we fans that love the guy and love seeing him prioritizing Stafford first.
    If you’re a Stafford fan the new Dunleavy 88 team has to be one of the top stories to look forward to for 2022. They’ll have a new car and will be racing the spec engine kind of a new thing at Stafford opens. Cam McDermott a bright new light in racing setups will be the crew chief and expectations must be high with so much focus locally.
    The Dodge/Dowling combo focused with a compact schedule and it’s worked out pretty well.
    Dunleavy/Pitkat may do better.

  2. Liz Cherokee says

    Woody is a popular guy. He was always amongst the competition that we had to overcome for Melissa to win three consecutive Whelen Modified Most Popular Driver Awards.

    Congratulations to Hailie Deegan for winning the Most Popular Driver Award in the Truck Series.


  3. I’ve known Woody since he was about 10 years old. The first day I met him he was jumping over his grandma’s pool on a quad. Here we are 32 years later, and he’s finally ready to slow down. It’s a good thing, yet somewhat sad at the same time, but I totally understand his reasoning. Wish him the best in the coming year, hope he gets to spend allot of quality time with his family.

  4. Take a break stay home Woody. Let wifey stay in again!

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