STAFFORD, Conn. — Woody Pitkat completed a picture perfect homecoming Sunday afternoon.
The 35-year-old Stafford, Connecticut, driver powered to victory in the NAPA Spring Sizzler 200, the traditional season-opening event for Stafford Motor Speedway. In the process, the driver of the No. 88 Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Elbow East Chevrolet became the first hometown driver to win the prestigious NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.
It was Pitkat’s third career tour win. He scored his first career win last year in the August event at Stafford before following it up with a win a month later at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“To have a car that’s that good – and it’s been that good since I’ve been with these guys – it’s just unreal,” Pitkat said. “I never thought at 16 years old racing a DARE Stock that one day I’d come here and win a tour race, especially the Spring Sizzler with how big it is.”
Sunday, Pitkat led the last 40 laps after muscling his way past Todd Szegedy through the bottom of Turn 3. It was the last of 11 lead changes.
Szegedy held onto the runner-up spot, followed by Ryan Preece. Preece won the Coors Light Pole Award in Saturday’s qualifying, just edging Pitkat for the top spot.
Eric Goodale and Donny Lia were fourth and fifth, respectively, in Sunday’s race.
“I would say that Woody just won the race of his life,” said Szegedy. “To win at his home track, to win the Spring Sizzler, that has to be amazing. He’s mastered this track and he’s come a long way.”
Doug Coby, Rowan Pennink, Patrick Emerling, Jamie Tomaino and Sunoco Rookie of the Race Brandon Bock rounded out the top 10.
Pitkat assumed the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship points lead for the first time in his career, three points ahead of Coby and seven over Preece. Szegedy and Goodale are both 12 points behind Pitkat.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to the track Saturday, May 30 with the Mr. Rooter 161 at Connecticut’s New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
|1||88||Woody Pitkat||Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Elbow East||200|
|2||4||Todd Szegedy||Mystic Missile Racing||200||2.616|
|3||6||Ryan Preece||TS Haulers/East West Marine||200||3.984|
|4||58||Eric Goodale||GAF Roofing/Supreme Skylights||200||8.059|
|5||8||Donny Lia||Sypher Construction/Bardahl||200||9.529|
|6||2||Doug Coby||Dunleavy’s Repair/HEX Performance||200||12.364|
|7||93||Rowan Pennink||Van Wickle Auto Supply||200||14.292|
|8||07||Patrick Emerling||Buffalo Auto Auction||200||16.091|
|9||99||Jamie Tomaino||Dunleavy Truck Repair/Atlantic Sprinkler||200||17.196|
|10||29||Brandon Bock*||Pro-Systems Brakes||200||17.426|
|11||44||Bobby Santos||Curb Records/Tinio Corp./Dan Kelley||200||18.670|
|12||22||Keith Rocco||Canto Paving/Milton Caterpillar||199||1 Lap|
|13||77||Gary Putnam||Curb Records||199||1 Lap|
|14||3||Troy Talman*||Cape Cod Copper/DCU/NAPA||199||1 Lap|
|15||18||Ken Heagy||Buoy One Seafood||199||1 Lap|
|16||16||Timmy Solomito||Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises||199||1 Lap|
|17||75||Shawn Solomito||Eastport Feeds/Axel Anderson Inc.||199||1 Lap|
|18||36||David Sapienza*||Frankie’s Towing/Wine Country||197||3 Laps|
|19||33||Johnny Bush||Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan’s||197||3 Laps|
|20||51||Justin Bonsignore||M3 Technology||197||3 Laps|
|21||14||Max Zachem*||Lu-Mac’s Package Store/Broadbrook||196||4 Laps|
|22||19||Brandon Oltra*||K&K Racing/Ruby’s Inn||196||4 Laps|
|23||46||Jeff Goodale*||Riverhead Building Supply||193||7 Laps|
|24||13||Ted Christopher||Mr. Rooter/Cape Cod Aggregates||190||10 Laps|
|25||31||Steve Masse*||El Gee Products/R.Brien Paving||183||17 Laps|
|26||64||Anthony Nocella*||Nocella Relamation/Complete Const.||179||21 Laps|
|27||37||Dave Salzarulo||Brickenmore Bricks||146||54 Laps|
|28||26||Gary McDonald||Lakeland Landscaping Supply/TRC Electric||140||60 Laps|
|29||01||Melissa Fifield||Big Moose RV||104||96 Laps|
|30||79||Spencer Davis||Hillbilly Racing/Coors 21 Means 21||89||111 Laps|
|31||63||Tom Rogers, Jr.||East End Statuary||79||121 Laps|
|32||9||Chase Dowling*||S&S Asphalt Paving/Dunleavy’s Repair||55||145 Laps|
|33||17||Kyle Ellwood*||Riverhead Building Supply||26||174 Laps|
Time of Race: 1 hour 28 minutes 35 seconds
Margin of Victory: 2.616 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: R.Preece (100.223 mph, 17.96 seconds)
Caution Flags: 8 for 41 laps.
Lead Changes: 11 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: R. Preece 1-21; W. Pitkat 22; J. Bonsignore 23; W. Pitkat 24-30; J. Bonsignore 31-68; R. Preece 69-98; W. Pitkat 99; R. Preece 100-116; T. Szegedy 117-138; R. Preece 139; T. Szegedy 140-160; W. Pitkat 161-200.
Standings: 1. W. Pitkat, 89; 2. D. Coby, 86; 3. R. Preece, 82; 4. T. Szegedy, 77; 5. E. Goodale, 77; 6. D. Lia, 75; 7. B. Santos, 74; 8. P. Emerling, 69; 9. R. Pennink, 68; 10. T. Solomito, 66.