While the first installment of the Whelen All-Star Shootout for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was full of controversy one year ago, the second installment had none of that. Instead it featured wild sling-shot passes and a three-wide move into the final corner with Woody Pitkat prevailing at the checkered flag.
“That was pretty awesome,” Pitkat told Speed51.com powered by JEGS in victory lane. “It was an amazing run. My hat’s off to Whelen for putting on this race. It’s just awesome.”
Pitkat was fast all Friday long at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as he was near the top in Friday morning’s two-hour practice session, and also in the 35-lap exhibition race.
Hear what winner Woody Pitkat had to say here: http://speed51.com/racing-videos/
While the short race saw quite a few different players at the front like Eric Goodale and Bobby Santos early on, and then Ryan Preece and Donny Lia late in the going, the only constant near the front was Pitkat’s blue and white No. 88 Camaro.
Pitkat fought hard for the first 20 laps with his brother-in-law, Santos, to be the leader at the end of the first 20-lap segment.
The starting lineup for the final 15-lap segment was determined by the spin of a wheel. When the wheel stopped spinning it showed that the top six cars would be inverted, so Pitkat had to pass a few cars to get back to the top spot.
Pitkat quickly worked his way back to the front of the field and then the battle was on between Pitkat, Lia and Preece.
The three drivers swapped the lead back and forth numerous times over the course of the final laps before the trio came to the money lap.
Preece threw a big block on Pitkat at the start/finish line, which gave Pitkat the outside line off of turn two. Pitkat drove to the outside of Preece into turn three as Lia dove under Preece.
“I got a good run on the outside of (Preece),” Pitkat explained. “He gave me plenty of room on the outside and I thank him for that. Donny went with me down the back and gave a bit of a boost down the backstraightaway. Then he made it three-wide so I kind of lifted early in case they got collected.”
But they didn’t get collected, as Pitkat thought they may. Instead, Pitkat was able to clear Preece in the center of the corner, as was Lia. The pair came off the final corner door-to-door and made contact. Lia started to slide towards the inside wall, but was able to save the car before hitting the barrier.
Meanwhile, Pitkat held off one final charge from Preece as they came to the line to win the All-Star Shootout.
Preece, Lia, Justin Bonsignore, and Santos completed the top five.
The win is the second in a row at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Pitkat. He took down the victory the last time the Tour was at the Magic Mile in September.
“Hopefully we can repeat tomorrow,” Pitkat said. “It’s a different car tomorrow, but I think we learned a lot of things that we can bring to tomorrow. I think we’ll be really good.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is back in action on Saturday morning at the Magic Mile at 9 a.m. ET for qualifying. The Andy Blacksmith 100 will go green at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon.
To relive today’s action, an on-demand replay of our Race Central Live coverage is available here: http://hometracks.nascar.com/nwmt_race-central_NHMS_071815
Highlights of the Whelen All-Star Shootout will be available in the coming days on the 51 Network on Speed51.com.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Whelen All-Star Shootout
New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, New Hampshire