How a race is viewed is often a matter of perspective, this is especially true among drivers and officials. This can lead to very strong opinions both during and after races. That was the case this past Saturday night at Seekonk Speedway (MA), the site for race number three of the 2015 Valenti Modified Racing Series season, a 100-Lap event on the 1/3-mile oval just east of Providence.
Woody Pitkat of Stafford Springs, Connecticut was the early favorite coming into the night, fresh off his first career MRS victory at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) six nights earlier. The driver of the Peter Kulessa-owned No. 42 on the Modified Racing Series and the Buzz Chew Racing No. 88 on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has been one of the toughest drivers to beat in Tour-Type Modified racing in New England during the early stages of the 2015 season.
After starting 12th in the feature and methodically moving up to second by lap 52, Pitkat set his sights on veteran Richard Savary, the Canton, Massachusetts driver who started third and took over the top spot from Dylan Kopec on lap 44.
A lap 58 caution and restart would set up the showdown between the two, with Pitkat being patient at first, but not for long. Pitkat would power past Savary on the inside nine laps later; however, the caution would come out moments later. Despite Pitkat crossing the finish line as the leader, MRS officials declared that the lap Pitkat led was incomplete per the MRS rulebook, which determines that a lap is not complete until the majority of lead lap cars complete the lap. The decision made by series officials would put Savary back in command for the upcoming restart.
Following the restart on lap 67, the racing was hard and aggressive with Savary braking hard on Pitkat to control the racing line, and Pitkat trying to muscle to the inside. The two drivers would make contact with each other on multiple occasions while battling for the lead before the caution flag waved again on lap 89 for an incident behind the leaders.
That would allow Todd Patnode to jump into the mix up front, but he would get into Pitkat’s left rear on the restart sending Pitkat sliding through the infield. Pitkat managed to get back on the track before the yellow was displayed for a reaction wreck behind him with no laps being completed. Patnode would be penalized for over aggression, while Pitkat would be scored eighth as an accident car.
In the end, Savary would hold off Todd Szegedy for his first win of 2015 and his sixth career Valenti Modified Racing Series triumph.
“At the end of the race the car was tight, so I just covered the bottom, did what you do at Seekonk,” Savary told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “If you’re going to beat me pass on the outside, but nobody was going out there. He (Pitkat) was a little aggressive, so I was aggressive back. I don’t have any problem with Woody at all. I feel like if he wants to race that way with me, I’ll race him that way too. That’s all. I don’t think there was any problem.”
Pitkat, after a lengthy meeting with series officials, was not as accepting of Savary’s driving or the calls made by series officials.
“Never spun out. I went to the infield, but I never spun out,” said Pitkat. “I went through the grass, I got sideways, I got hit one time and I got hit again then got back in line.
“I want to know how many laps I got to lead, and then the caution comes out and I get put back. They did the same thing to me at Monadnock, here today same thing. I set him (Savary) up, I get underneath him going down the back straightway and he just turns into the right-front, kills the right-front, knocks the toe in. I lead to the start/finish line, lead halfway down the back straightaway, caution comes out and they put me back to second. After that it is what it is,” Pitkat said in his recollection of battling Savary for the race lead.
“He (Savary) should be very proud, I’d be proud… actually I wouldn’t be proud if I had to win like that.”
Pitkat would finish sixth and would fall behind second-place finisher Todd Szegedy in the points. Szegedy unofficially takes sole possession of the points lead heading into the next VMRS event, a pair of twin 50-lap features at Lee USA Speedway on Friday, June 19.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
VMRS Unofficial Results – Seekonk Speedway (MA)
|20||50||Carl Medieros Jr||89|
|23||45||Dan Meservey Jr||65|
|24||38||Mike Willis Jr||31|