Woody Pitkat added another major achievement to his resume at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) on a cold, windy night in Connecticut on Friday. Pitkat, who calls Stafford, Connecticut home, held off Keith Rocco on a late race restart to score his first career Valenti Modified Racing Series win in his 15th try. The win also completed the Modified trifecta for Pitkat, which includes wins in the SK Modified division, Valenti Modified Racing Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at his home track.
“They just keep clicking,” Pitkat told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the race. “I hope that doesn’t show that’s the only place I can win, but it’s showing that I’m in top notch equipment and I have great people backing me, great supporting cast and great, great fans that have been through the ups and downs with my Tour career until pretty much last year when I turned it up with Buzz and those guys.”
Pitkat took the lead from Rocco on lap 68 of the 80-lap VMRS feature but would not be able to pull away. Rocco stayed glued to Pitkat’s back bumper until the final caution of the night waved with six laps remaining. That wouldn’t be enough to stop Pitkat, however. The driver of the black and blue No. 42 would get a great restart, allowing him to pull away from Rocco and never look back.
“Obviously it’s huge, especially to win here,” said Pitkat. “I really felt like we were going to have a really good car and have a good opportunity. We were so good at Monadnock and we maybe started a little bit too good at Lee and I maybe used it up.
“It’s just awesome to be able to win now, obviously to be able to win on MRS. I really wanted to do that.”
In addition to completing the Modified trifecta at Stafford, Pitkat accomplished another goal on Friday night by scoring his first win in a SPAFCO chassis driving for car owner Peter Kulessa. The opportunity to drive Kulessa’s No. 42 presented itself last year when SPAFCO owner Ken Berry sent a Facebook message to Pitkat.
“Kenny and those guys are really cool,” Pitkat stated. “He sent me a message on Facebook last year saying that they were looking for a driver, so if I was interested to drive let (crew chief) Greg (Felton) know and he’d contact me. I can’t thank him enough for putting my name out there. There are other people they could have put in the car and it’s just awesome.”
Since joining forces during a July VMRS event at Stafford one year ago, Pitkat and the Kulessa-owned team have made steady progress on and off the race track. Pitkat recorded three podium finishes with the team in 2014 before opening the 2015 season with a runner-up finish at Monadnock and a win on Friday night.
“We’re starting to click and everybody knows what we like with each other,” Pitkat said. “We put a good notebook together last year. I feel now that we’re coming back to these tracks that we have a good notebook and we’ll try to keep the momentum rolling.
Pitkat’s strong start to the 2015 season with both the Valenti Modified Racing Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has given him a new attitude when he shows up to the race track. He’s confident, he’s comfortable and his focus is solely on driving the race car.
“It’s nice to be able to show up to these places with a good attitude and be able to just go out there and focus on giving them your best feedback,” said Pitkat. “It all starts at the shop. They give me unbelievable cars right from when we unload. Your confidence is up and you go out there and give them the best feedback that you can.”
A full lap-by-lap replay of Friday night’s VMRS 80 from Stafford Motor Speedway can be viewed here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
VMRS 80 Unofficial Results
Stafford Motor Speedway – May 22, 2015
|8||45||Dan Meservey, Jr.||80|