(Stafford Springs, CT) — Last season at Stafford Speedway, Woody Pitkat was the man to beat when the Valenti Modified Racing Series came to town, winning 2 of the 3 races and finishing second in the third event. Pitkat’s stellar Stafford record propelled him to the 2015 VMRS championship. Fast forward a year later and Pitkat is with a new team and car, taking the reigns of the #50 Patterson Farms car owned by Dan Stebbins that last season was the #05 driven by Todd Patnode. The new combination ran well in the VMRS season opening race at Monadnock Speedway and Pitkat is looking forward to returning to his home track for the VMRS 80 on May 20th and defending his VMRS 80 title from last season.
“A couple of guys came over from the 42 team with me to Dan Stebbins’ team,” said Pitkat. “I think we missed the setup a little bit at Monadnock but the driving characteristics between the two cars are pretty much the same. Danny’s guys all did an incredible job putting the car together, the car looked like it belonged at a Whelen Modified Tour race. I was a little disappointed with our finish at Monadnock but I’ll obviously be looking forward to going back to my home track and trying to make up for the finish. With all the laps I have at Stafford and everything on Danny’s team being top-notch, there’s really no reason why we shouldn’t be good at Stafford again. We had a little different engine combination in the car at Monadnock and we’re going back to the combination I was familiar with last season, so we should be able to pick up right where we left off at Stafford and get a good top-3 or top-5 finish and hopefully contend for the win.”
In preparation of making the move to a new car and team, Pitkat and the #52 team came to the open practice session at Stafford back on April 16 and Pitkat says that the team was very happy with how the car performed.
“We went to the open practice and everyone was really happy with the car,” said Pitkat. “It’s a SPAFCO car and it’s pretty much a carbon copy of the #42 car from last year. The car wasn’t really set up for Stafford but it was close and we were really happy with everything. I think we should be in good shape when we get to Stafford for the race. I’m sure Rowan [Pennink] and Keith [Rocco] will be there and I’m not sure if Teddy [Christopher] will be there or not, so it should be some good competition.”
Pitkat will also be looking to drive into NAPA Victory Lane in the SK Modified® ranks on the same night. Pitkat’s SK car is the #42 car that he drove last season to the VMRS title and ran 2nd in the SK Modified race at the 2016 NAPA Spring Sizzler®. With how well the car performed at the Sizzler® combined with the VMRS success of last season, Pitkat is hopeful of notching several wins this season.
“I think if the race had stayed green at the end, I felt like I had found something that I was catching Rowan [Pennink],” said Pitkat. “We were pretty equal but catching Rowan is one thing and passing him would have been another. To finish on the podium in our first race with a new car and some new stuff going on, it was really encouraging. We actually found a couple of things that were slowing us down a little, so I think we’ll be even better as the season goes along and we figure out what the car wants. It was great for the team and it was great to be working with Steve Greer again, who helped me win my SK Modified® championship in 2013. I haven’t had the best of seasons the last couple of years at Stafford and we’re all excited to get back at it. If we can get the car as good as it was for the VMRS races last year, we should be pretty good.”
The May 20th VMRS 80 will be the first of three Valenti Modified Racing Series events to be held at Stafford during the 2016 season. The VMRS returns to Stafford June 24th and September 2nd. Tickets for all three VMRS events are available and on sale now. Tickets for the May 20 VMRS 80 are priced at $27.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Reserved seating is $30.00 for all ages. For the 26th consecutive season the month of May is Youth Organization Month at Stafford Speedway. All children 14 and under are admitted FREE when wearing a youth organization team shirt or uniform and accompanied by a paying adult.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.