DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Stafford Motor Speedway has been a place of great personal triumph for Woody Pitkat through the years, but it was a win that took place one year ago this week that took his career to the next level.
Pitkat, from Stafford, Connecticut, earned his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory in last year’s Call Before You Dig 150 in his 86th career start. A flood of success has come with that breakthrough win as he’s visited Victory Lane twice more since with seven top-five finishes in 13 races. He had a total of 10 top fives in his career prior to that first Stafford win.
And those numbers don’t even include his victory last month in the non-points All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
This Friday, in what will be his 100th career Whelen Modified Tour start, Pitkat returns to defend his Call Before You Dig 150 victory and build on a bid to take his career to yet another level – a championship.
Pitkat took the points lead for the first time in his Whelen Modified Tour career following a second Stafford victory in this April’s NAPA Spring Sizzler 200, but that was just Race No. 2 of the season. After regaining the lead last time out at Monadnock Speedway, this is the first time he’s entered the second half of a campaign as a title contender.
RACE: Call Before You Dig 150
PLACE: Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway
DATE: Friday, Aug. 7
TIME: 9:15 p.m. ET (approx.)
TRACK LAYOUT: .5-mile, semi-banked asphalt oval
2014 WINNER: Woody Pitkat
2014 POLESITTER: Bobby Santos
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 3-4 p.m., Qualifying 6 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 7:30 p.m.
TRACK TWITTER: @StaffordSpeedwy
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #CBYD150
The Race: The 25th Annual Call Before You Dig 150 will be the ninth of 15 points races during the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s 30th Anniversary season, and the third of four events at Stafford Motor Speedway.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field per the official entry blank is 31 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (75 miles) and is an impound race with three change tires allowed for the event.
The Track: A half-mile, slightly-banked oval, Stafford originated as a horse racing track in the 1870s. After seven decades as a horse track, the dirt oval started holding automobile races following World War II. Stafford became a NASCAR-sanctioned track in 1959 and was paved for the first time in 1967. Stafford’s 116 Whelen Modified Tour races are second all-time.
Race Winners: There have been 32 different race winners at Stafford all-time, led by Mike Stefanik’s 20 victories. Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece have combined to win the last four events at the track.
Pole Winners: There have been 42 different pole winners at Stafford, led by Stefanik’s 17. Ryan Preece holds the tour’s track qualifying record at 17.924 seconds (100.424 mph), set during the 2012 Spring Sizzler.
Call Before You Dig 150 Notes:
Compact Calendar, Part II: Earlier this season the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour contested three races in a 12-day span as it visited each of the three Connecticut ovals. This Friday’s Call Before You Dig 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway will launch a nearly-identical stretch of compact events, this time with three contests in 13 days. The tour will move on to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the Budweiser King of Beers 150 on Aug. 12 and then conclude the stretch at Bristol Motor Speedway with the Bush’s Beans 150 on Aug. 19.
Title Contenders Succeed at Stafford: Having passed the halfway point of the season last time out at Monadnock Speedway, it’s currently shaping up to be a four-horse race for the Whelen Modified Tour title in 2015, and all four have a history of success at Stafford. Current leaders Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece have combined to win the last four events at the track, and Preece has four total wins there. Defending tour titlist Doug Coby has registered six Stafford wins, including five of the last 14 events, while fourth place Todd Szegedy has four wins to his credit at the historic half-mile as well. All four have also have wins in the Call Before You Dig 150.
Swanson Set to Make Historic Debut: Should he take the green flag Friday, Matt Swanson would become the youngest competitor in the Whelen Modified Tour’s 31-year history. A native of Acton, Massachusetts, Swanson will be 15 years, five months and 22 days old on Friday, which would lower the current mark set by Spencer Davis in 2014 when his debut came at the age of 15 years, six months and 23 days. Swanson won a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Light Modified feature earlier this year at Stafford.
Rookie Race Stays Hot: Stafford Whelen All-American Series alum Chase Dowling has moved into the lead in the closely-contested race for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. Dowling leads another Stafford alum, Troy Talman, by just two tallies while Max Zachem and Dave Sapienza are tied for third, four points out of the lead.
Home Tracks: Pennink on Top
Rowan Pennink maintains the lead in Stafford Motor Speedway’s SK Modified division after 14 of 23 scheduled NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events. Pennink holds a 10-point lead on Ryan Preece while national points leader Keith Rocco sits third, 52 tallies out of first. Pennink leads the division with five wins while Ronnie Williams has four with three for Rocco.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release
-Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com