Woody Pitkat Commits To Remainder Of ’22 Monaco Modified Tri-Track Schedule With Owner Doug Dunleavy

Woody Pitkat (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

When Doug Dunleavy took over ownership of the former Eddie Harvey Racing NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team following the 2021 season the biggest question many had was if he would keep driver Woody Pitkat behind the wheel.

Dunleavy made it clear almost immediately that his plans centered around keeping Pitkat as the driver and Cam McDermott as the crew chief.

The next biggest question was where the team would be racing for the 2022 season. For most of the offseason following the 2021 season Dunleavy kept options open, emphasizing that the only focus for the team would be running Tour Type Modified events at Stafford Speedway.

Along the way though Pitkat was pushing for hard for the team to have a presence with the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series.

And while the program may have missed the first two races of the season for the series, Pitkat will not get his wish.

The Dunleavy owned team has filed entry for the final five Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series events and will be on the track at Open Wheel Wednesday next week Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway.

“When we had talked over the winter our goal was to run the Open Stafford races,” Pitkat said. “… With Stafford, Doug has been a huge supporter of Stafford. … He has a great relationship with the [the track operators]. So that was the main objective was to to go there. Then we were going to start Tri-Track, but [Dunleavy] was getting hip surgery done and we missed [the Tri-Track season opener at Monadnock Speedway on April 30].

Pitkat said one of the foundations of the Dunleavy operation is that the team unit is together as a part of all events, which was a factor that hindered the team from going to Monadnock and the second Tri-Track Series event on May 29 at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vt.

“[Dunleavy is] big into that he wants to go together,” Pitkat said. “If we can’t go with me, [McDermott] and him together, then we’re not going to go. He wasn’t going to be able to make Monadnock, so we didn’t go. That Thunder Road deal, we were going to do that and Cam had a wedding that night. Cam was going to get the car ready and let us go and Doug said ‘Nope.’ We ride together, we die together type thing. And we didn’t go to Thunder Road.”

With a focus on keeping the team unit together for all events, being able to run shows that don’t require off days from regular jobs and nights away from home, the Tri-Track Series fit the bill for the organization.

And it’s a series that Pitkat sees overall as being the most competitive for Tour Type Modified competition.

“I think they’re in a really good place,” Pitkat said. “I think they’re probably, out of all the Touring series’ … one of the one’s with the higher car counts. I think the competition is the hardest on that series out of all the Open Modified series’. Obviously the [Whelen Modified Tour] is very hard, but you look at the last few years – until this year – it’s been really two or three guys that have been on top that you’re trying to beat. With the Tri-Track – obviously besides Matt Hirschman because he’s just unbelievable everywhere he goes – but besides him you’ve got people coming from all over the place. You’ve got so many different engine packages and chassis packages. … It’s so diverse, but all the packages work so well together for the tracks they go to, the competition is at an all-time high.

“I think they’re in a great spot. Wayne Darling has been a supporter of mine. They’ve got a great group of people over there. Ed Bennett, Greg Felton – who I’ve had as a crew chief in the past – and then just the group of people that they have. When you look at them it’s people that we’ve raced with before that are racers. … It’s a group of racing people that have been there for years.”

In addition to the Seekonk event on Wednesday, the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series also has events reamining at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. (July 23), the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Aug. 6), Stafford Speedway (Sept. 24) and Seekonk (Oct. 22).

Pitkat, who has competed with the Tri-Track Series for a number of years with team owner Stan Mertz, is looking forward to introducing the series to Dunleavy.

“Doug has never done that,” Pitkat said. “He’s never done a Tri-Track race. I think once he gets his foot in the door and sees how they run. How it’s laid back, not as much pressure as the [Whelen Modified Tour]. I think it’s kind of like [the Stafford Open Modified 80’s]. I think he’s going to like it and I think he’s going to have a lot of fun. And hopefully we can have some success.”

Pitkat is hoping to carry momentum from a string of recent positive runs for the Dunleavy team into Seekonk.

Woody Pitkat (left) and Doug Dunleavy (right) celebrate after winning the Bud Light Open 80 at Stafford Speedway on June 10 (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Pitkat was second to Ronnie Williams in the CBYD Open Modified 81 on May 20 at Stafford. He got Dunleavy his first victory as a Tour Type Modified team owner in the Bug Light Open Modified 80 at Stafford on June 10.

Pitkat is still looking for his first victory behind the wheel of a Tour Type Modified at the Seekonk bullring.

“It’s a track where I’ve had some success,” Pitkat said. “It’s a place where I like to run. I know some people don’t like to go there. But it’s all about what you have. … I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t really won in a big Modified [race] there. I’ve been close.”

To hear Pitkat talk more about the development of the Doug Dunleavy owned program, on his place in Stafford Speedway history, the importance he puts on his family and much more listen to the latest edition of Unmuffled

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