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NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series News
Pitkat Prevails as Division IV Champion
Oct 6, 2006 - updated Oct 6th, 2006 10:35pm
Web posted by Jeremy Davidson
Daytona Beach, Fla. --
Arizona’s Knill Takes on California’s Super Late Model Stars; Takes Third in Division IV Points
(Oct. 5, 2006) – Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway has long been the site of many memorable NASCAR races and championships. Classic NASCAR Modified battles between Richie Evans and Jeff Fuller, Jimmy Spencer and Mike McLaughlin, and Mike Stefanik and Reggie Ruggiero are part of the track’s history and New England racing lore.
To win at Thompson is a career-defining achievement. Ted Christopher, of Plainville, Conn., won the 2001 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship there and this season, Stafford Conn.’s Woody Pitkat claimed the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division IV championship after a close, back-and-forth points race with rival Jeff Malave.
The latest chapter in Thompson’s history began early this season, as Malave and Pitkat established themselves as the drivers to beat on this 5/8-mile oval. Four weeks into the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series season, Pitkat led the NASCAR point standings at Thompson – while also competing full-time on Friday nights at nearby Stafford Motor Speedway in his hometown. Initially, Pitkat was ranked eighth in the NDWS Division IV standings.
By June 20, Massachusetts’ Tommy Cravenho had temporarily taken over the NASCAR points lead at Thompson after recording his third top-five finish of the season. Malave moved ahead of both Cravenho and Pitkat the following week and was ranked sixth in the NDWS Division IV standings. For the next few weeks, Malave maintained control of the NASCAR point standings at Thompson and inched closer to the overall NDWS Division IV points lead – then held by defending Division IV champion Donny Reuvers, of Dundas, Minn.
On July 25, Malave broke through and took over the top spot on the NDWS Division IV leaderboard, only to lose the overall lead to Pitkat the following week.
Falling behind provided all the motivation that Malave needed. The Manchester, Conn., driver returned to the NDWS Division IV lead on August 8, after finishing second at Thompson while Pitkat placed fifth. At this point, Malave and Pitkat were separated by just four markers in the NASCAR point standings at Thompson, the equivalent of just two positions on the race track.
Malave held off Pitkat – and held the NDWS Division IV lead – for a few more weeks, but in the end he could not stop the 27-year-old Pitkat from taking over the top spot. Pitkat returned to the NDWS Division IV lead for good on August 29, after a decisive victory at Thompson. Pitkat prevailed after posting six top-five finishes in his last eight races at Thompson and Stafford – including another victory on Sept. 10 at Thompson.
Staying up front over the final races of the season was a key, Pitkat says, to winning the title.
“It was pretty close throughout the whole year,” said Pitkat. “You had to be on top of your game all the way to the very end of the season.”
Pitkat is set to receive a $25,000 point fund award and he’ll be honored at the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet, Nov. 11 in Las Vegas.
Knill Improves to Third in NDWS Division IV Standings … Arizona native Van Knill took on one of the nation’s best asphalt Super Late Model fields this season, at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. The challenge paid off for Knill, who jumped into third place in the final NDWS Division IV standings after posting a third- and a 10th-place finish in Irwindale’s final twin feature races last week. Knill finished the year with three wins and 12 top-five finishes. He’ll collect $12,500 from the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series point fund, for finishing third in the standings.
Final NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division IV standings (best 16 finishes)
Pos Driver Name Home Track Starts Wins T-5 T-10 Points
1. Woody Pitkat Thompson Speedway 16 5 16 16 1,070
2. Bill Leighton Jr I-80 Spdy At Nebraska 16 3 14 16 1,022
3. Van Knill Irwindale Speedway 16 3 12 15 990
4. Guy Caron Twin State Speedway 16 0 16 16 986
5. Donny Reuvers Elko Speedway 16 9 16 16 982
6. Donny Reuvers Raceway Park 16 9 16 16 982
7. Frank Ruocco Stafford Motor Speedway 16 2 10 13 966
8. Willie Allen Music City Motorplex 16 4 13 16 950
9. Dennis Gada Waterford Speedbowl 16 1 14 16 950
10. Andy Eckrich Farley Speedway 15 4 12 13 914
11. Todd Patnode Monadnock Speedway 16 1 13 16 880
12. Mitch Wendell Star Speedway 16 4 16 16 820
13. Richard Mitchell Motordrome Speedway 14 7 12 12 722
14. Mark Smith Jennerstown Speedway 13 1 11 13 694
15. Ron Norman Tucson Raceway Park 9 6 8 9 444
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