Woody Pitkat Returning To Whelen Modified Tour For 2023

Woody Pitkat (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

One of the Modified racing’s fan favorites is returning to the Whelen Modified Tour for the 2023 season with an owner new to the series.

Woody Pitkat will run a part-time schedule for team owner Stan Mertz on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2023. 

It will mark a return to the series for Pitkat, but a new endeavor for Mertz, who has never competed as a car owner with the division. 

“Stan has always had these bucket list dreams and one of the one’s he was talking about this past year was that he wanted to run some [Whelen Modified] Tour races,” Pitkat said. “He wanted to be a [Whelen Modified] Tour car owner. He said this will be it for him after this year. … He wanted to go out as a [Whelen Modified] Tour car owner.” 

When Mertz stepped away from competing as a driver in the Sunoco Modified division at Thompson he put Pitkat in his car. They won a championship together in the division in 2015. They’ve also had success together running in Tour Type Modified competition with the Modified Racing Series, Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series and Open Modified events at Stafford Speedway. 

“We won some [Modified Racing Series] races,” Pitkat said. We weren’t able to get a [Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series] win, but we got a big win at Stafford [in 2020]. We’ve accomplished a lot together. I think he just wanted to have me back in the car to finish out his racing career. I want to do it for him to help him go out the way he wants to go out. He’s been more than just a car owner, we have a really good relationship.” 

Pitkat said the team expects to run seven of the 19 events on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2023. 

The team will run both events at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. (May 6, Sept. 9) along with the races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 15) and Thompson Speedway (Aug. 16). They will also run the event on May 27 (expected to be at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H) and the event on July 29 (expected to be at Claremont (N.H.) Motorsports Park). Pitkat said the team is still deciding between running at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, N.C. (Sept. 30) or Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (Oct. 26) for their final race of the season.

at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. (May 27), at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 15), at Claremont (N.H.) Speedway (July 29) and at Thompson Speedway (Aug. 16). He said they are still deciding between running at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, N.C. (Sept. 30) or Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (Oct. 26). 

“I don’t think we’re setting our expectations too high or setting crazy goals,” Pitkat said. “We just want to go there and have fun and get back together. … It’s another kind of new opening in the chapter for him so I think it will be pretty cool.” 

Pitkat has four Whelen Modified Tour victories, 30 top-five’s and 87 top-10’s over 181 series starts since 2007.

Pitkat will also run for a Tour Type Modified in 2023 for team owner Doug Dunleavy. The Dunleavy operation will run full-time with the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series and run the Open Modified events at Stafford Speedway. Pitkat won three of the five Open Modified events at Stafford in 2022. He finished sixth in the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series standings in 2022 despite only running six of seven events. 

“I really think we would have been right there at the end for the points there if we had run all the races,” Pitkat said.  


  1. Great to see Woody in a tour car again.

  2. Could have knocked me over with a feather reading this news.
    A few years ago a video was done of the Mertz operation. A small stand alone garage. Mertz and Pitkat leading a talented group of volunteers and after an engine expires has to borrow one in order to continue. A really nice story at the time, the epitome of what a small operation can do with more brain power then money.
    The Dunleavy operation scheduled to get it’s feet wet last season then maybe consider Tour racing in 2023. This news the reverse of what seemed most likely.
    Good luck to the Mertz/Pitkat NWMT gambit it’s going to be a tall order to get good finishes going up against all those well funded, experienced teams. It is nice to see the Dunleavy/Pitkat operation focusing on Stafford where they excelled and now have a great shot at challenging the 60 in the MMTTS.

  3. great news,, love to see more faces on the tour.. looks to be running in their back-yard with 1 road trip,,pretty much like last year..

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