(Stafford Springs, CT)—Open Modified cars returned to Stafford Motor Speedway for their fifth and final visit of the 2023 season on Friday, August 18th for the Lincoln Tech Open 80. Woody Pitkat led early from pole position before giving way to Teddy Hodgdon. Hodgdon led for the middle stage of the Lincoln Tech 80 but Pitkat moved back into the lead on lap-54 and he never relinquished the lead with his pit crew getting him off pit road first after a late race caution that saw the entire lead lap come to pit road. The Lincoln Tech 80 victory is Pitkat’s second consecutive open modified victory at Stafford. By virtue of their 1-2 finish, Pitkat and Glen Reen earned front row starting positions for the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series NAPA Fall Final event at Stafford on Saturday, September 23rd. Both Pitkat and Reen must qualify for the NAPA Fall Final through their respective heat races in order to claim the front row starting position on September 23rd.
The Lincoln Tech 80 took the green flag with Woody Pitkat setting the early pace ahead of Matt Galko, Teddy Hodgdon, and the side by side duo of Glen Reen and George Bessette, Jr. Vinny Anglace spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Pitkat powered into the lead on the restart with Hodgdon taking second. Galko was able to take third with Reen and Bessette side by side for fourth place. Bessette took fourth on lap-6 and his move opened the door for Joey Cipriano to move into fifth and drop Reen back to sixth place. Hodgdon moved into the lead on lap-11 with Pitkat holding second just in front of Galko. Galko moved to the inside of Pitkat on lap-13 and he took second on lap-14. Now Cipriano was on the inside of Pitkat fighting for third place with Bessette in fifth. Austin Bessette brought the caution out with 17 laps complete with a spin coming out of turn 2.
Hodgdon took the lead on the restart with Cipriano taking second. Pitkat was third with Galko fourth and Bessette fifth when the caution came back out with 20 laps complete for Andrew Charron, who came to a stop against the turn 3 wall.
Hodgdon was back out front on the restart with Cipriano and Pitkat behind him. Bessette was fourth with Michael Christopher, Jr. moving into fifth. Anthony Bello worked his way around Christopher to move into fifth and Stephen Kopcik took sixth on lap-28 to drop Christopher back to seventh place. Hodgdon was starting to pull away from Pitkat in second while Bello moved into fourth and Kopcik took fifth on lap-30 to drop Bessette from fourth back to sixth in line. At the halfway point of the race, the order was still Hodgdon in command with Pitkat, Cipriano, Bello, and Kopcik giving chase. Bessette was sixth followed by Christopher, Reen, Ronnie Williams, and Galko.
Pitkat slowly closed down the gap to Hodgdon and he retook the lead on lap-54. Cipriano was still third with Bello and Kopcik making up the top-5. Frank L’Etoile, Jr. got out of shape coming out of turn 2 and took a trip through the backstretch grass to bring the caution back out with 63 laps complete. Under the caution, all the lead lap cars came to pit road for 2 tires and adjustments. Pitkat just beat Christopher off of pit road with Reen third, Cipriano fourth, Kopcik fifth, Chris Pasteryak sixth, Hodgdon seventh, Williams eighth, Eric Goodale ninth, and Kopcik tenth.
Pitkat took the lead on the restart with Christopher right on his bumper in second. Reen went by Christopher to take over second on lap-65 with Cipriano pulling alongside Christopher in the fight for third. Cipriano took the spot on lap-66 with Hodgdon back up to fifth behind Christopher. Hodgdon took fourth place from Christopher on lap-70 while Reen and Cipriano were still trying to chase down Pitkat at the front of the pack.
With 5 laps to go it was Pitkat followed by Reen, Hodgdon, Cipriano, and Bessette. No one could get close enough to Pitkat as Pitkat scored his second consecutive Open 80 victory at Stafford. Reen finished second with Hodgdon, Bessette, and Cipriano rounding out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.