–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
LOUDON, N.H. — Woody Pitkat came out on top of a caution-filled, darkness shortened ACT Invitational on Saturday evening at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“Unfortunately, you don’t want to win a race like that,” Pitkat said. “It was very frustrating.
“I know it was probably frustrating for the fans. I hate to see it like that.”
The Stafford, Conn. native ran from a 19th place starting position and, after a trio of early race cautions, had moved up to the 11th position by the end of the first lap. From there, Pitkat then made a three lap charge from 11th to third.
Pitkat would move past second place Kyle Welch and race leader Adam Gray into turn one after they completed lap five, which handed Pitkat the lead on lap six. He was then forced to keep Welch at bay after he made his own move into the second position over Gray. A lap 12 caution flag put Welch to Pitkat’s outside and the duo would then challenge each other over the next few laps for the race lead.
With Pitkat and Welch out front, Hebert had dashed his way to the front of the field from a 28th place starting position. Hebert had taken the lead from Pitkat as the field raced to complete lap 19 before a caution flag erased that lead change. Two ensuing caution flags, including a red flag for track cleanup, allowed darkness to set in and the race ended after just 18 laps.
“I tried to get to the front as early as I can and set my own pace,” Pitkat said. “I had some good lines and got up through there and got to the lead. The cautions were cautions breeds cautions. Unfortunately, it’s tough.
“You don’t want to win the race like that. But I honestly think the way it was going and the way the darkness was rolling in, it was coming to benefit me.”
The win for was a special one for Pitkat and paid tribute to the late Ted Christopher.
“I wanted to win for Teddy (Christopher) today, Pitkat said. “I had the opportunity to drive his (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) car today. Like I tried to tell everybody, no one was replacing Teddy Christopher. Teddy can never be replaced. I was here in honor of Teddy and it was an honor.
“I honestly think that Teddy was up there looking down on me saying ‘I’m going to help you out.’ It’s awesome to be able to win for Teddy.”
Pitkat piloted a car that only sees the race track twice a year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that is prepared by veteran chassis builder Bob Fill.
“I can’t thank Bob Fill enough,” Pitkat said. “We’ve had an awesome relationship. I’ve been with him for a long time. He’s almost like a father to me
“To be able to win for Bob Fill is really cool.”
Hebert, of Williamstown, Vt., was forced to settle for a second place finish while Welch, who was involved in the second lap 18 incident that ripped most of the front end off the car, was awarded third place after all attempts to run lap 19 were not completed and scoring reverted back to the lap 18 running order.
Whatey, Mass. driver Joel Monahan finished fourth while Aaron Fellows of Croydon, N.H. completed the top-five finishers.
Josh Masterson finished sixth while Eddie MacDonald was awarded a seventh place finish after being involved in the same uncompleted lap 19 incident. Bucky Demers, early race leader Gray, and Tom Carey Jr. completed the top-ten finishers.
The race was called with 18 laps complete after one hour and 54 minutes which saw eight caution flags and two red flag periods, including a lengthy one after track crews were forced to repair the pit road barrier.
VtMotorMag.com will have more from the ACT Invitational soon.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — ACT Invitational
New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
1. (19) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn.
2. (27) Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, Vt.
3. (8) Kyle Welch, Newport, N.H.
4. (16) Joel Monahan, Whately, Mass.
5. (17) Aaron Fellows, Croydon, N.H.
6. (18) Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
7. (26) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
8. (11) Bucky Demers, Cornish, N.H.
9. (2) Adam Gray, Granby, Mass.
10. (14) Tom Carey Jr., New Salem, Mass.
11. (21) Ray Parent, Tiverton, R.I.
12. (29) Dillon Moltz, Waterford, Conn.
13. (28) Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, Que.
14. (25) Dany Trepanier, St-Edouard, Que.
15. (20) Tom Carey III, New Salem, Mass.
16. (4) Rich Dubeau, Lebanon, N.H.
17. (36) Seth Bridge, Mendon, Vt.
18. (10) Jeff Marshall, Lunenburg, Vt.
19. (13) Patrick Cliche, Levis, Que.
20. (12) Chris Riendeau, Ascutney, Vt.
21. (31) Mathieu Kingsbury, Blainville, Que.
22. (24) Michael Lavoie, Saguenay, Que.
23. (38) Stephen Donahue, Graniteville, Vt.
24. (37) Scott MacMichael, Newbury, N.H.
25. (5) Rowland Robinson Jr., Steuben, Maine
26. (30) Ricky Roberts, Washington, Vt.
27. (3) Matt Anderson, Franklin, N.H.
28. (6) Ray Christian III, Norwich, Conn.
29. (34) Allen Fellows, Croydon, N.H.
30. (35) Jimmy Linardy, Somerville, Mass.
31. (39) James Capps III, Penacook, N.H.
32. (40) Mark Hudson, Norton, Mass.
33. (1) Mike Ziter, Barre, Vt.
34. (7) John Donahue, Graniteville, Vt.
35. (9) Brian Tagg, Oxford, Mass.
36. (23) Jonathan Bouvrette, Blainville, Que.
37. (33) Gaetan Gaudreault, Quebec, Que.
38. (15) Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H.
39. (22) Jean-Francois Dery, Quebec, Que.
40. (32) Mark Jenison, Warwick, R.I.
PHOTO: Woody Pitkat celebrates his ACT Invitational win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday evening. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)