Schooling The Field: Woody Pitkat Wins Lincoln Tech Open Modified 80 At Stafford 

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

STAFFORD – When it comes to Open Modified events at Stafford Speedway, Woody Pitkat has established himself as the man to beat over the last two seasons at the historic half-mile. 

Friday night at Stafford in the Lincoln Tech Open Modified 80 it was Pitkat offering another master class in winning. 

Pitkat, of Stafford, won the race off pit road and then drove away over the closing laps to win the Lincoln Tech Open Modified 80 at Stafford. 

It was Pitkat’s second consecutive Open Modified win at Stafford and his fifth in the last nine Open Modified events at the track. He won three of the last four Open Modified events in 2022 at Stafford. 

“It’s all [crew chief] Cam McDermott right here,” Pitkat said. “This car was absolutely on rails today. Without him, none of this is possible. Doug Dunleavy, the best car owner in town. He almost didn’t come tonight because he was so busy at work, letting us do what we want to do, come here and race and take care of his family. I just can’t thank these guys enough. This thing was stout.” 

Glen Reen of Wilbraham, Mass. was second and Teddy Hodgdon IV of Danbury third. 

It was Pitkat’s 83rd career feature victory at Stafford, moving him into sole possession of second place on the list. He had been tied with Tom Fearn. The late Ted Christopher leads the all-time list with 131 wins. 

Over his career at Stafford Pitkat has 40 Late Model wins, 30 SK Modified wins, six Open Modified victories, three Street Stock wins, two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins and two Modified Racing Series wins. 

Pitkat and Reen earned guaranteed front row starting spots for the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series Fall Final at Stafford on Sept. 23. Each of them must qualify for the event through their respective heat races at the event to get the front row starting spots. 

Hodgdon dominated the most of the first half of the race. But on lap 54 Pitkat got by him for the top spot and checked out. 

“I was a little nervous early there,” Pitkat said. “I let a couple guys go by, I was just kind of riding around, seeing how the outside would be. I didn’t want to get too far back. And then I thought it was going to stay green there and maybe go green-to-checkered. So I kind of pushed it a little bit just to get closer to [Hodgdon] and I could see he was struggling there before we got to lapped traffic, so I wanted to get by him instead of following him through lapped traffic. I wanted to set my own pace through lapped traffic.”

Pitkat had checked out to a second and half lead over Hodgdon by the time caution flew on lap 64. When the caution flew Pitkat was leading with Hodgdon in second, Joey Cipriano in third, Anthony Bello fourth, Stephen Kopcik fifth and Mike Christopher Jr. sixth. 

The leaders all headed to pit road under caution with Pitkat winning the race off pit road and Christopher getting the biggest jump, going from sixth to second. Reen, who went to pit road in eighth came off third. 

Pitkat got the jump on the restart. On lap 65 Reen got by Christopher for second with Cipriano following to third. 

By lap 75 Pitkat had built a half second lead over Reen with Hodgdon having clawed back to third. As Pitkat checked out over the final three laps, Reen deftly defended numerous challenges from Hodgdon. 


  1. #LFR Chassis I believe. Nice run!!! Congrats Cam and Wood man.

  2. LFR indeed it says it in Stafford’s team roster. Dunleavy a devotee of the RYR engine as well.
    Everyone would like to be Woody. A cool cat and pure driver. He can win for Dunleavy or get the absolute best for his old buddy Stan Mertz in a tour race knowing full well going in the car will not likely be top 5 quality let alone compete for a win. But Woody races what he has not what he wishes he had.

    If you’re old enough think back to what you found attractive about modifieds. It might have been their unique minimalist appearance combined with raw power. Modified with all the extraneous body parts removed and what was left? A brutally powerful, bare bones race machine with huge tires. Barely a skin on it, brisling with bars exposed, radiator as well. Like a big guy wearing a small sized tee shirt only partially successful covering is big frame. Distinctive because every team stripped and modified the cars differently and used different coupe configurations. Later on there were Gremlin, Vega and Pinto bodies each still having their own personality and attraction. Granny had a Gremlin you didn’t need to know a thing about modifieds you rooted for the Gremlin.
    How did we get to where we are now? Essentially only one body configuration. Everything neatly wrapped in plastic with only the bare essentials exposed like air filter, bars and exhaust. They even have the nerve to introduce a half fender on the left rear. The paint scheme literally the only thing that differentiates the cars and even that’s been watered down with graphics. So busy and confusing with so many designs and colors involved you can’t even read the number in many cases.
    Enough already with the sleek professionalism and cookie cutter design.
    Some track, somewhere might consider returning modifieds to what made them popular in the first place. Take off all the extraneous plastic. That means all the molded crap in front of the driver and the perfectly molded skirting right down to the ground. Expose everything in front of the driver including the radiator, go to mini skirts exposing more of the frame. The perfectly molded hood and front scoop replaced with a simple, basic hood like they used to be. As for the bare bones body parts bring back coupes, Pinto’s, Vega’s and Gremlin’s they’re plastic anyway except for the roof. While you’re at it ban wraps by rule. Paint only, distinctive design and make numbers clear and distinct.
    “Chevrolet Corvette”, “Chevrolet Camaro” the team rosters say. You’re killing me man just say what it is….”Generic, Boring”.
    SK Lights, sportsman modifieds would be perfect at smaller tracks. An older chassis, crate engine and all the safety gear no change but allow them to add their own personality. Yupper’s that’s what the real problem is with modifieds they erased the statements the cars made. Now we have only the announcer droning on about what a “good guy” or “young talent” the driver is. Sure if you say say so but what car is that exactly they all look the same?
    Mom and dad take the kids to a race for the first time and what are they looking at? Let’s see they’re all loud, they’re all fast, they all look the same so I’ll take the one with the red, blue, orange, purple graphics that I think is 36 but can’t really be sure.
    Woody would look great in an old school modified wouldn’t he?

  3. I Call BS on that spec engine. How does a engine with a 15 pound heavier rotating assembly and when legit is around 20 horse less then the built 18 or
    23 with shorten boosters etc . Oh not to mention spec engine torque and acceleration .. is way less. Every restart it’s drag race … all power and acceleration. 95 % time it wins that race as well and sounds much different then your normal spec . Let’s be honest . Tri track .. stafford how come we have no tools to check cam or heads on these engines ? It’s been 5 years now and there NO tech . Nascar is only division that checks engines. Seems absurd . Some of The best teams in NE won’t even run stafford cause its knife to gun fight with your “SPEC “ 🤨🤨🤨🤨

  4. Does anyone know the teams that run a built engine in the Stafford Open shows? Does Mertz or any other team for that matter run the 18 degree engine in the tour races? How long since a built engine won a race on the Whelen tour? NU$CAR definitely does tech. Boy do they ever;right down to the last flat washer that has to be encrypted with an approved RYR branding. (used to be Wagner until Yates became the pimp). NU$CAR is kinda like the government when they make a new rule to save you money it winds up costing more and hurts small businesses. Initially when they shoved the SPAC engines down the racers throats (first with Winston West/Busch North, then Modifieds and finally ARCA )in all cases they said it would help save the series by making it more affordable to compete,thereby bigger car counts. As was mentioned in another post, how has that worked out? The only ones it has helped is to line the pockets of people that implemented the poison pill like Wes Lesterfield, Bert Bodeen, Little Chad and probably Jerry Cook.I know I’m leaving out some.but Ive made my point. I haven’t kept up in a long time but how are the car counts in those other three series these days compared to pre-SPAC engine times?

  5. Great analogy of the current open wheel modified Doug. (Asphalt or Dirt ) Let’s not forget about the old school airbrushed number’s and lettering.

  6. Silk, Reen, and Goodale all have won at Stafford with built motors this year.

  7. Are we absolutely sure no engines RYR or built are not pulled and tested on a dyno to see if they exceed their intended HP ratings.
    Talking engines is a pandora’s box of misinformation and assumptions.
    There really is no way there should be any engine controversy in this day and age. Down south the Super Late Models are all in on spec engines. The McGunegill Engine Performance spec for one. Preece tried it at Stafford last year and Cipriano has it now. I believe it’s half the cost of a RYR or built engine and it’s competitive.
    SK’s, Late Models could all go to some type of spec engine that’s more affordable.
    Near as I can figure engines are what they are in these here parts simply because that’s the way the pie is divided. RYR in the Tour corner. A group of really good engine builders provided great power that’s reliable in another with all kinds of variations. That can last for seasons with refreshing while RYR aluminum blocks have limitations. A lot of jobs in play so if people buy the engines and there are sufficient cars competing why mess with what’s working.
    Woody say it ain’t so. A guy here is accusing you of winning with a RYR cheater.

  8. The sultan of Stafford says

    I mean you tell me Doug. You are my car owner and the one buying these ryr spec engines. I mean the engine sounds different because are mufflers are different than the wmt spec engine mufflers. I won 2 races this year and I’m cheating? Matt hirschman has won 25 races this year and he’s all good. Of course the driver, crew chief or team should get no credit what so ever just got to be cheating. George Bessette was clearly the better car in the July event with. Ryr spec engine guess he’s cheated up as well.
    I been racing at Stafford sense 1996. That couldn’t have anything to do with it. If your when you got to be cheating. Makes sense.
    #peoplegetyourfactsstraightbeforeyourunyourmouth. 👍🫶

  9. No, it can’t be. Pinch me is that really Woody. I love you man have you not read my sycophantic drooling about everything you mean to local racing? Here I’m embarrassing myself for you, make one clearly facetious aside referring to a guy that did imply the RYR engines were cheated up and raise the ire of the one driver I consistently root for. I’m telling you man I’m innocent of all charges.
    But seriously my point is that we here in the peanut gallery speculate about things all the time engines included. It’s called sports talk like you do with the Pat’s and Hurricanes. Facetiousness aside I’ve never suggested anyone cheated up an engine because how can I know what’s going on behind the scenes. Nope, I’m Sargent Schulz when it comes to engines that look like they’re on Viagra I know nothing. I do have an intense interest in trends in the tour mods but I guess now would not be a good time to ask while you’re pissed. My advice to you young man is to take a breath, consider the source and not get so worked up over nothing you have bigger fish to fry.
    Zappe huh. Really that’s your guy? Short, slow, meh arm, basically Mac Jones light. Think Malik Cunningham or someone like him to bring the Pat’s into the current era.
    So what do you think big guy how do you think the Pat’s will do this season? Just between you and me.

  10. I really appreciate the evolution of the modified body and aero work, the innovation over time, but Doug, I think you’re onto something here. Many of the cars these days have similar body graphics that make many a car indistinguishable from the next – which is a pain for the fan in the seats..

    There’s something to be said for a simple color scheme and numbering.. I always loved the Art Barry silver 21 Mike drove, sharp looking.. even though I hated when he was winning 2-3 races a week in ‘78/‘79, dare I say The Big Red Machine…

  11. The sultan of Stafford says

    I appreciate you man and love your support. I’m not pissed at all I love the haters. Brings more motivation plus people can say what they want it’s America.
    As for the patriots and probably gonna be another lack luster season maybe 9-10 wins if they’re lucky. They should have signed Lamar Jackson if they really wanted to change up the offense. I guess time will tell. Zappe is not Crappe! Lol
    Have a good week sir!

  12. There, that’s my Woody. What a relief.
    Hope you’re right on the Pat’s but thinking with that schedule they’ll perform more competently and still only win 8 at best.
    Cheers mate!

  13. Gotta love racedayct.
    Where else could you glean information, about why one modified can sound so much different than another? I am a simple fan, and that explains it. Thank you guys for that exchange.
    Shout out to crazy as well, (and doug) for straightening me out on Matts mount at thompson last Wednesday. Hope Matt is recovering well, have not heard anything since last week.
    Side note,
    Prayers to all that are dealing with a terrible disease. Stay strong.

  14. Matt Hirschman Racing, Facebook, 22 hours ago:

    “Monday update: Matt is home recovering after a successful surgery this morning! Thank you for all the continued support and Well wishes!”

  15. Thx Doug.
    Im not a facebook guy, so I appreciate that update!

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing