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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour


Now With Two Consecutive Wins Can He Make It Three For Three?  by Denise DuPont

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) drivers came to New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) to participate in a thirty-five lap chase for the coveted All-Star trophy. The field was capped at twenty drivers for the non-points event. Selection of the driver that would compete was based on current and past champions, 2013 rookies, drivers with the most wins from 2005 through June 20th, 2014 and any other tiebreakers were outlined on the entry form until the field was filled.

The starting field was then based on a random draw and no pit stops were allowed during the race. The first segment was 20 laps after which a competition yellow was thrown. The field was then inverted based on a spin of a wheel with 4 to 10 positions defined for the starting positions. After the re-alignment of the field, it was back to racing with only 15 laps left for a shootout.

Eric Goodale started on the pole with Woody Pitkat on his outside. Pitkat quickly took the lead but the field’s hard charge to the front was stopped when a caution was thrown on lap 3. Defending champion Doug Coby made contact with the front stretch wall just after four. His car continued to scrape the outside wall until it came to rest in turn one. It appeared that the accident began when Rowan Pennink made a move on the bottom to pass on the inside. His run was a little high on the track which brought Coby up into the marbles. The incident sidelined Coby out of the competition early in the race.

The race continued with Pitkat and Bobby Santos swapping the lead back and forth until their forward momentum was stopped with the planned competition caution on lap 20. Pitkat crossed the line first holding Santos in second to take the yellow flag. The position wheel was then spun. The number six now determined the invert order and potential fate of the field. So the top six drivers were inverted for the final 15 lap run for the win. Pitkat dropped back to sixth while Eric Goodale took the lead followed by Donny Lia, Ryan Preece, Rowan Pennink, Bobby Santos, Woody Pitkat, Justin Bonsignore, Ted Christopher, and Ryan Newman for the top ten on the restart.

Starting in the third row, Pitkat wasted no time getting back to the front. He quickly moved his way back into lead contention. With three laps to go a three-way battle developed between Preece, Lia and Pitkat. Preece definitely had the top position at the white flag. But on the final circuit, Pitkat was the NWMT’s All-Star Shootout victor. Preece crossed the finish line second and Lia took third. Justin Bonsignore followed in fourth with Bobby Santos fifth. Ted Christopher, Eric Goodale, Ron Silk, Ryan Newman and Andy Seuss rounded off the top 10.

This is the second victory in a row the NHMS “Magic Mile” for Pitkat. He took home the win last September at the tour’s F.W. Webb 100 event.

With only 35 laps in the shootout, teams went into the race with a short track weekly race strategy. Pitkat has a lot of experience with weekly at local tracks so he planned with his crew how to approach the race. “We talked about how we were going to run before the race and we took the adjustments that we would do for a 100 lap and cut it in half,” explained Pitkat after the race. “Because it was 35 laps and you are going to drive it as hard as you can.”

The pressure was really on the competitors because of the dash like format of the All-Star Shootout. There were fourteen official lead changes in just 35 laps.

The All-Star Shootout will premiere on NBCSN on July 23 at 4:30 p.m.

Notes from New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

Woody Pitkat

Competing weekly at Stafford Motor Speedway in an SK Modified, Pitkat is used to the hard charging get to the front to win format. “It was basically like a 35 lap SK modified race with the mentality that you drive it for what it is worth. For the first 20 laps I cruised a little bit and there was more give and take especially because it was Bobby (Santos). We were just having fun racing.” And fun the two drivers did as they drafted and swapped the top position several times. Then after the competition yellow the mindset of driver’s changes. They were now going for the win “After the caution it was different,” confessed Pitkat. “It got a little aggressive with Ryan as he tried to protect the lead on the front straightaway at the end. I went to the outside and I thought that he would give some room. He gave me the room and I thank him for that. He was then right there with me until it was three wide. I tried to get away from them (Preece and Lia) just in case they collected. I just wanted to bring it home. I went down to protect Ryan on the bottom and when I saw Donnie down there but it was too late. I apologize to Donnie for coming into him there.” On the last lap Lia made a charge on the bottom hoping to slide to the lead while Pitkat and Preece were busy running one-two. Not realizing Lia moved into position, Pitkat tried to protect his space on the bottom to prevent Preece from a sling shot move to the front. He came down into Lia making contact but the three were able to

In the All-Star Shootout NWMT drivers drove hard for the win, tomorrow what is the plan?

Woody Pitkat

Depending on where you start you may have to drive as hard. We need to come out of qualifying with a good top five finish so you can put yourself up there without racing hard. Usually if you start in the top five or top ten you do not have to race hard. But if you put yourself in fifteen or worst you have to race hard to go forward before the half way break. Then you have to come in and make adjustments to position yourself you have to definitely go out there and qualify. Looking at the weather if we have to go out based on points we will being doing good. But if it does come to qualifying I am going to give it all that it is worth. Then we will see what happens in the first fifty laps. To give feedback to make the right adjustments to be there after the last fifty laps. So depending on where you put yourself during qualifying you will not have to run as hard as we did today.
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: July 17, 2015

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