Will Run Whelen Modified Slate In 2009
As one of the two participants in what was dubbed the “Don King Gong Show,” Woody Pitkat had something to prove in the second half of the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. His hard work behind the wheel – and in the garage – proved to be worthwhile as he has been hired by the veteran Modified owner to drive full-time this coming year.
After King – owner of the No. 28 Modified team – and driver James Civali parted ways following the seventh race of the 2008 campaign, King set out to use the remaining nine races of the year to lay the groundwork for 2009. Pitkat and Doug Coby completed the season by alternating in the No. 28 and, on two occasions, the team’s second entry, the No. 88.
While Coby’s work behind the wheel was admirable with three top fives in five starts, Pitkat’s experience with team in addition to his racing skills were a big factor in what sold King on the Stafford, Conn., driver. In addition to his aggressive weekly racing schedule, Pitkat has worked with the King team full-time the last two years.
“Woody works on the car full-time, so that’s a big plus,” King said. “He knows the car inside and out since he maintains the car, so that’s a big help.”
Pitkat has made a name for himself in New England as one of the more successful drivers in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. It started with his first Late Model win at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway on his 21st birthday in 2000 and even greater success has followed in the Modified ranks. He earned the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Region IV crown in 2006 and won the Connecticut state title en route to finishing second in the nation the following year.
In six starts with King in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2008, Pitkat recorded three top 10s.
“I like him a lot as a driver,” King said. “One thing that we’re going to have to work on, and as the year goes on it will help a lot, will be [to improve] time trialing. He hasn’t time trialed that much, and I think that was were we struggled a little bit when he drove last year. His racing is fine, he does a good job. He’s aggressive, but not over-aggressive and he gives real good feedback.”
He will enter his first season chasing a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship with seven top 10s in 17 career starts in the series. His best finish was third at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park in 2007.
The 25th Anniversary season of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will begin with the Icebreaker at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on Sunday, April 5.
Sources: Jason Cunningham/NASCAR WMT PR