LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — Woody Pitkat is back in the championship fight on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
After a part-time schedule with Kevin Stuart Motorsports in 2016, Pitkat is going back full-time racing for the 2017 season, driving for Jeff Goodale and Goodie Motorsports. Goodale announced the decision to step away from behind the wheel earlier this month via Facebook, where he also announced Pitkat as the driver.
“Many have heard that I might take a break from racing during the 2017 season. It’s safe to say that those rumors are true,” Goodale said in the Facebook post. “My priorities for next year are devoted to my family business. A business that has given me so much and has given me a life I am forever thankful for. I am so happy to finally give back and make a name for myself within the company.”
Though Goodale’s decision was mostly a business-based one, he also is hoping to spend some more time with his family, something that is hard to do when putting in the long hours at the track and in the shop that it takes to run up front.
“Aside from work, I wanted to devote more time to my personal life,” Goodale said in the post. “There is so much to enjoy and so many things in life aside from the racing scene that I would like to experience. I know I’ll miss being behind the wheel, but I feel it is in my best interest that missing it is the healthiest thing I can do for myself right now.”
Pitkat has expressed he is thankful for the opportunity that Goodale is giving him to go back full-time racing, after a year of part-time action with Stuart and a near-miss in the Tour points standings the season before in 2015.
“Jeff contacted me when I was on vacation in Florida and I’m very thankful that Jeff called me,” Pitkat told Race Chaser Online. “He had a meeting with his crew guys and I was their first pick. I was thankful and happy because there are other drivers out there that he could have called.”
The relationship between Pitkat and Stuart will still remain intact, although Pitkat will not be driving for him. Pitkat is extremely thankful for being able to get the opportunity to drive for Stuart and the two have also built a strong friendship together.
“The opportunity Kevin (Stuart) gave me this year was unbelievable,” Pitkat said. “We had a motor break at the Sizzler and we had a pretty bad accident at Waterford and had to put a front clip on it and then we got wrecked again and had to put another front clip on it and realistically he could have closed the doors anytime he wanted to but he didn’t. It was very difficult to call him and let him know that I had an opportunity that I had a full-time car for next year just because he had been so good to me this year and I wanted to let him know I appreciated everything he did for me. He is just an unbelievable person.”
For Pitkat, the situation that lies ahead of him and the team is much like the one he dealt with at the beginning of the 2016 season. He will have to get acclimated to a brand new group of team members and will also have to work with the team while they try to figure out his driving style and exactly what he needs in the modified to be successful.
“I think we will have a really good year and I know it may take a while to get on the same page but we are looking to run some races down in Florida to try and get on the same page,” Pitkat said. “Hopefully those races will help us build some momentum so we can be firing on all cylinders quickly.”
Goodale added that he is 100 percent behind Pitkat and his team in their run for the championship in 2017.
“I wanna thank everyone that has supported me in seasons past and in this decision. It has not been an easy one,” Goodale said. “I ask that you join me in wishing Woody the best of luck in the number 46, Riverhead Building Supply modified. Excited for this new chapter.”
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for both the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
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