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||2||88||Woody Pitkat||Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Elbow East Chevrolet||200||47||4||Running|
|2||9||4||Todd Szegedy||Mystic Missile Racing Dodge||200||43||1||Running|
|3||1||6||Ryan Preece||TS Haulers/East West Marine Chevrolet||200||43||2||Running|
|4||15||58||Eric Goodale||GAF Roofing/Supreme Skylights Chevrolet||200||40||Running|
|5||4||8||Donny Lia||Sypher Construction/Bardahl Chevrolet||200||39||Running|
|6||11||2||Doug Coby||Dunleavy’s Repair/HEX Performance Chevrolet||200||38||Running|
|7||3||93||Rowan Pennink||Van Wickle Auto Supply Chevrolet||200||37||Running|
|8||12||07||Patrick Emerling||Buffalo Auto Auction Chevrolet||200||36||Running|
|9||24||99||Jamie Tomaino||Dunleavy’s Repair/Atlantic Sprinkler Chevrolet||200||35||Running|
|10||18||29||Brendon Bock *||Pro-System Brakes Ford||200||34||Running|
|11||7||44||Bobby Santos||Tinio Corp./Dan Kelley/Curb Records Chevrolet||200||33||Running|
|12||10||22||Keith Rocco||Canto Paving/Milton Caterpillar Chevrolet||199||32||Running|
|13||33||77||Gary Putnam||Curb Records Chevrolet||199||31||Running|
|14||13||3||Troy Talman *||Cape Cod Copper/DCU/NAPA Chevrolet||199||30||Running|
|15||23||18||Ken Heagy||Buoy One Seafood Chevrolet||199||29||Running|
|16||8||16||Timmy Solomito||Diversified Metals /R.B. Enterprises Chevrolet||199||28||Running|
|17||27||75||Shawn Solomito||Eastport Feeds/Axel Anderson Inc. Chevrolet||199||27||Running|
|18||25||36||Dave Sapienza *||Frankie’s Towing/Wine Country Chevrolet||197||26||Running|
|19||29||33||Johnny Bush||Performance Engines/Kendall Oil Chevrolet||197||25||Running|
|20||5||51||Justin Bonsignore||M3 Technology Chevrolet||197||25||1||Running|
|21||19||14||Max Zachem *||Lu-Mac’s Package Store/Broadbrook Chevrolet||196||23||Running|
|22||28||19||Brandon Oltra *||K&K Racing/Ruby’s Inn Chevrolet||196||22||Running|
|23||22||46||Jeff Goodale *||Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet||193||21||Running|
|24||6||13||Ted Christopher||Mr. Rooter/Cape Cod Aggregates Chevrolet||190||20||Running|
|25||16||31||Steve Masse *||El Gee Products Chevrolet||183||19||Steering|
|26||21||64||Anthony Nocella *||Nocella Reclamation/Complete Const. Chevrolet||179||18||Running|
|27||31||37||Dave Salzarulo||Brickenmore Bricks Chevrolet||146||17||Accident|
|28||30||26||Gary McDonald||Lakeland Landscape/TRC Electric Pontiac||140||16||Accident|
|29||32||01||Melissa Fifield||Big Moose RV Chevrolet||104||15||Handling|
|30||26||79||Spencer Davis||Hillbilly Racing/Coors 21 Means 21 Pontiac||89||14||Running|
|31||14||63||Tom Rogers, Jr.||East End Statuary Chevrolet||79||13||Alternator|
|32||17||9||Chase Dowling *||S&S Asphalt Paving/Dunleavy’s Repair Chevrolet||55||12||Steering|
|33||20||17||Kyle Ellwood *||Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet||26||11||Steering|
* Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender
Fastest Qualifier: Ryan Preece, Time: 17.96 Seconds, Speed: 100.223 mph
Time of Race: 1 hrs., 28 mins, 35 secs
Average Speed: 67.733 mph
Margin of Victory: 2.616 Seconds
Caution Flags: [Beneficiary] Laps 19-22 (Car #19 stalled (Frontstretch ); 29-32 (Car #37 spinout (Turn 2) [none]); 34-39 (Cars #3 & 79 accident (Turn 4) ); 66-71 (Car #26 spin (Turn 2), #13 accident ); 97-102 (Cars #07, 13, 58 spinout (Turn 4) ); 111-115 (Car #16 & 46 spinout (Turn 2) ); 137-142 (Car #37 spinout (Turn 4) [none]); 144-147 (Car #44 accident (Turn 4) ). 8 for 41 laps.
Lap Leaders: Ryan Preece 1-21, Woody Pitkat 22, Justin Bonsignore 23, Woody Pitkat 24-30, Justin Bonsignore 31-68, Ryan Preece 69-98, Woody Pitkat 99, Ryan Preece 100-116, Todd Szegedy 117-138, Ryan Preece 139, Todd Szegedy 140-160, Woody Pitkat 161-200.
Total Laps Led: Ryan Preece 69, Woody Pitkat 49, Todd Szegedy 43, Justin Bonsignore 39. 11 changes involving 4 drivers.
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.