Woody? He Sure Did
Pitkat Goes Three Wide for Modified Victory
Pressure from Donny Lia and Justin Bonsignore couldn't stop Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece from battling each other for the winner's spot in Friday afternoon's Modified All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In the end, the four-car battle on the final turn left only one victor as Pitkat picked up his second career win at the Magic Mile.
"When you come here you have to be at a higher level. You need to outthink the next guy," said Pitkat, who won last September's F.W. Webb 100. "There was lots of chaos on that last lap; lots of stuff happening. It was a great battle."
There were plenty of obstacles in the 35-lap, two-segment race: an early accident involving Doug Coby's No. 2 car along the frontstretch and the planned top-six car inversion with 15 laps to go.
After the inversion, Timmy Solomito took first, followed by Preece, Rowan Pennink, Bobby Santos III, and Pitkat in sixth. After only one lap, Pitkat made his way back up to third and what appeared to be a head-to-head race between Preece and Donny Lia turned into a three-way battle between Preece, Pitkat and Lia.
In the final lap of the race, Lia made moves along with backstretch to try to join in the fun for a first, effectively blocking Preece from trying to pass for the lead. But Pitkat, who took first place with only three laps to go, ended the fight once and for all, pulling away out of Turn 4.
"Hats off to Ryan, I know he wants to win here really bad," said Pitkat. "I respect him as a driver and we had an awesome battle out there. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings."
Preece, who has never won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and finished sixth in last year's All-Star race, still has a chance to win in tomorrow's modified race.
"I'm happy that the car is in one piece and that we have a really great chance to pull this one out tomorrow," said Preece, referencing Saturday's 2 p.m. Andy Blacksmith 100 presented by Donate Life New England.
Lia, Bonsignore and Santos round out the top-five behind Pitkat and Preece. Last year's winner, Ryan Newman, finished ninth.