Woody Pitkat will be heading into a busy 2019 season.
He will be driving for Stan Mertz on the Tri-Track Open Modified Series along with the Bullring Bash. He will be stepping away from the Sunoco Modified division at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Pitkat told 22News that he is looking to do less on his schedule as he will be traveling a little bit more.
Pitkat started off running with Mertz in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series. He will be running in the Late Model division for the Hartwell brothers at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. He will also be returning to drive for Danny Watts on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Pitkat is looking forward to returning to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this season for Watts. Watts purchased a new car.
Pitkat is planning to scale back when asked if he would be running any Valenti Modified Racing Series events as he focusing on racing in the other divisions. Pitkat’s kids are growing up and he moved into a new house last summer.
“It’s a big deal. A lot going on. It’s tough to tell everybody. They see us at the track and racing and stuff like that but they don’t see us outside of the race track. It’s crazy. I’ve been doing it already over 20 years. I started when I was 16. I’ll be 40 in July. Every year I have been saying it this is going to be the year I scale back and try to spend some more time with my family and do stuff with my kids. This year I think is going to have to be that year. I am still going to be busy,” said Pitkat.
Over the years, we’ve seen race car drivers cut back on their schedules and sometimes it tough for them to do it because it’s a passion they have. Pitkat told 22News it’s weird for him.
“I’ve always felt like I always had to be at the race track. Even if I wasn’t racing and there was a race going on. I wanted to be at the races, going to a race. I never thought I’d be that person that would really change and look at stuff outside of racing. I remember being that guy on a Friday night when Stafford would rain out early or something and I would tell myself why did they cancel so early. I felt like towards the last year I raced there when there was a rainout I was kind of happy about it and was like alright I got the week off to do stuff and not have to rush down there and spend time with the kids. I don’t know if it’s more of doing it so much and you get tired of it or you just grow up and you see that’s there more to life than just being at the race track 24/7,” said Pitkat.
Pitkat believes the Bullring Bash is going to be pretty cool.
“The way Josh (Vanada) has done it with what he’s putting together with the two or three races. It’s not conflicting. It’s on a Sunday which I like because it’s an afternoon even though it’s a little bit of travel. You can get there and get back at a reasonable hour and you can get your family in there. He knows just like me. He’s got a young boy and I told him some nights you get frustrated at Thompson when your racing on a Wednesday night and you’re running the Modified Tour and then the Late Model race or the SK (Sunoco) race is after that and that’s not going to be til 10:00 at night on a Wednesday night and it’s like my kid is not going to be able to see me race and I know he understands that. It’s cool to see him pursuing it and still wanting to stay involved with the racing and the people he was involved with. It’s really cool to see,” said Pitkat.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be heading back to two new tracks this season with South Boston Speedway in Virginia and Wall Stadium in New Jersey.
The Musket 250 will be returning to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this fall. It will be the longest race of the season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Pitkat told 22News he didn’t think physically it wasn’t bad.
“It was more of a bigger track. You got long straightaways and just big wide corners. I didn’t think it was physically too challenging. If it was maybe the year before where it was really hot that September that it could’ve been bad. It could’ve been more engine failures, overheating and then being put more of a toll on us because it could be real hot. I think that it worked out to our advantage. I don’t know if it was maybe the weekend we had. We were a little frustrated and couldn’t get the handles of the track prep that they’ve put on the track but I almost thought the race was kind of boring and it was more like a NASCAR race where you don’t watch the first 200 laps and you tune in to watch the last 40 or 50 laps but me saying that could’ve been It worked out to their advantage so they probably had a little bit of a better day than I did,” said Pitkat.
Pitkat will also run in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series. Pitkat believes it’s one of the hardest series if not the hardest series.
“You’ve got guys from everywhere coming to run that series and you got the low buck guys that you don’t see. or some of the guys that are sometimes running the MRS. It’s really cool to see that. Obviously, the first thing you think of is Matt Hirschman and the dominance he had and his ability to be able to go in like he does at each race track and find a way to be up front there in the last five or ten laps of the race. It’s definitely challenging and obviously, they added a couple of new races there in the mix. Hopefully, there will be some other winners and other people up front that you wouldn’t see. That’s one of the reasons I like that series is because you see a guy like Mike Willis. He’s ran good but he hasn’t had that last effort to get into victory lane and he was able to score a win at Claremont,” said Pitkat.
Pitkat’s goals for the 2019 season are to get back into victory lane. Pitkat won one race in 2018. He would like to take baby steps with the 82 team on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and start looking at running top five, top ten week in and week out. He wants to start running better everywhere he goes and be in contention to win some more races and try to get together and work better as a team and gel better as a team.
Pitkat finished in 19th in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opener on Saturday at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will head to South Boston Speedway in South Boston, VA on Saturday, March 30.