One of the most popular drivers in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competition has found a full-time ride for 2017. After running part-time in 2016, Woody Pitkat will be full-time with Goodie Motorsports for the upcoming year.
With Pitkat moving into that ride, that means someone is stepping out. That someone is the 23-year-old team owner, Jeff Goodale. Goodale, the cousin of fellow NWMT driver Eric Goodale, said the decision to step out of the car was something that needed to be done.
“It’s been a tough decision,” Goodale told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I work pretty far away from my house. I’m there a long part of the day. So this really stemmed from me not having enough time to be in the shop during the day. I don’t really have enough time to hang out with the guys and discuss racing in general. They were in that shop all day and all night giving it 100-percent and I couldn’t reciprocate that. It got to the point that I just felt bad. They work really hard and they deserve to have a driver that is 100-percent just like they are.”
Goodale said that he and his team had a meeting shortly after the season finale at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park a month ago and discussed all options. Eventually the team settled on Pitkat.
“I came up with the idea to throw somebody else in the car,” said Goodale. “I wanted a devoted, dedicated driver. We started throwing names around and someone said, ‘What about Woody?’ I didn’t really know what his plans were, but I texted him and he took it.”
For Pitkat, this is a chance to make up for lost time in 2016. Pitkat was a championship contender with Buzz Chew Racing before that team decided to end its NWMT program to go Dirt Modified racing. When that decision was made, Pitkat was unable to find a full-time ride for 2016, and ended up running part-time for Kevin Stuart.
It’s almost like history is repeating itself for Pitkat as well. When he stepped into the Buzz Chew ride, Bryon Chew had shown flashes of strength with a few top fives, top 10’s, and some strong qualifying efforts. Goodale has done the same in his short NWMT career to date.
“I think you hit the nail on the head with that right there,” Pitkat said. “It does look exactly the same way. It’s kind of funny too that they’re both Long Island teams. It looks like everything is there and they’re just missing one or two pieces to the puzzle. Hopefully I can be that major piece of the puzzle to get up there and contend for wins and hopefully run for the championship. I’m looking forward to this. The car is well maintained and well equipped. I’m hoping that I can help this team run up front.”
Whether or not Pitkat can replicate his Buzz Chew success with Goodie Motorsports remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, Pitkat is just thrilled to be back full time.
“I’m really excited. It’s hard to find a ride on the Tour. They seem to be few and far between now. I am really grateful that Jeff called me. They seem to be a great group of guys. I know them from parking next to them at the track. I can’t thank Jeff and his family enough for giving me the opportunity to get behind the wheel of their car. I’m looking forward to racing for them and going back to a few tracks that I didn’t get to go to last year. I’m really excited. I obviously want to thank Kevin and Kenny Stuart too because without them I probably wouldn’t have a ride this year. I learned a lot with them and can’t thank them enough.”
The 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule has yet to be released.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo