All the Pieces Fit for Pitkat; Earns NASCAR Whelen Mod Tour Ride NASCAR Champion Headed to Whelen Mod Tour with Hillbilly Racing In Prestigious ...
All the Pieces Fit for Pitkat; Earns NASCAR Whelen Mod Tour Ride
NASCAR Champion Headed to Whelen Mod Tour with Hillbilly Racing In Prestigious #79
STAFFORD, CT (June 13, 2007) -- Woody Pitkat has been a hard-working driver over the last few seasons. He has been grooming himself for that one chance to showcase his talent in front of a major NASCAR touring division crowd by busting his hump in the race shop and driving three or four different racecars on a given weekend at tracks throughout the Northeast. He's been led down roads towards big-time rides, but the last pieces of the puzzle never came together for Pitkat to make the move up.
The hard work over the years did, however, lead to the pinnacle of Pitkat's on-track career thus far, when Pitkat scored the Sunoco Modified division track championship at Thompson International Speedway (CT), the Late Model crown at his home track of Stafford Motor Speedway, plus the lucrative NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Divisional championship in 2006.
Finally, all of the puzzle pieces fit perfectly. Pitkat's diligence in the shop and behind the wheel have earned the young Connecticut driver one of the most sought-after rides in all of short track racing, the #79 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ride with Hillbilly Racing.
"David Hill called me last night just to tell me pretty much that I had the ride," said Pitkat. "I had talked to them over the last couple days or so. Every time he called, I just answered the questions that he asked and sent him the emails that he wanted.
"You get the types of people that always get you full of high expectations and always give you this big line, but at the end when you think something's going to happen, they fold up. I told David last night that everything he said he was going to do, he's done. He's stuck to everything. I told him that made me even happier to work with him because of his honesty. He really appreciated that, and I really appreciate him and his family giving me this opportunity."
Hillbilly Racing, owned by Roger and Sandra Hill of North Carolina (their son David is the crew chief on the #79), is one of the elite teams in NASCAR's oldest division, the Whelen Modified Tour. In recent seasons, Modified veterans Ed Flemke, Jr., Ted Christopher and Chuck Hossfeld have brought the #79 to plenty of success in both the NASCAR Whelen Tour and its sister series based in the Southeast, but when the team parted ways with its most recent driver Hossfeld, Pitkat wanted to be the next driver to put the Hills' #79 into victory lane.
"To be fortunate enough to get thrown into a situation with a good team like that is unbelievable," added Pitkat. "It's a championship-caliber team. They've got all the right stuff. It's going to be big shoes to fill with all the great drivers that they've had. But David just told me there was no added pressure on me and not to be nervous. Just go out there and do what I can do. I know once I get in the car, though, it will be just like anything I've ever done. I'm just going to go out and do the best I can just like always."
Pitkat's first Whelen Tour event on June 21st at Thompson may be his debut in the #79 car, but it will be in a very familiar setting. Not only is he a track champion at Thompson and a veteran of the weekly racing at the 5/8-mile track, but Pitkat has also been grooming himself for the Whelen Tour ranks by turning wrenches for several teams in recent years.
"I've been working on the Tour over the last couple years, starting with Doug Coby, and this year with James Civali and the King Racing team. I've been getting to know people and getting familiar with the cars and the way everything's run.
"This deal in the #79 is like a dream come true for me. This year I've been working with the King team, and they have RaceWorks chassis cars. The True Value Modified Series car I run sometimes is a RaceWorks car, and I'm going to be running a RaceWorks car now on the Tour. I think with me working with teams that run those kinds of cars is just going to speed up the learning process a lot and should get us going a lot quicker at Thompson."
Pitkat's jump to the Whelen Modified Tour does not mean that he will leave his weekly rides at both Stafford and Thompson. Pitkat still plans to compete in the Sunoco Modifieds at Thompson and the SK and Late Model divisions at Stafford Friday nights in addition to every Whelen Mod Tour race for the remainder of the year.
"If it wasn't for The Davidson Company, the guys who own my cars and my crews, and them leading me to the championships and the Regional points championship, my phone probably would've never rung for this opportunity. I don't want to just throw them to the curb because they've been so good to me. I'm going to finish the year and still do the best that we can with them."
Pitkat's first Whelen Modified Tour race with the Hillbilly Racing team comes June 21st at Thompson. He will next be back behind the wheel of the #99 Sunoco Modified at Thompson on Thursday, June 14th, before hitting Stafford with his #52 SK Modified and #48 Late Model on Friday the 15th.