Story By: Scott Running/Stafford Speedway
Photo Courtesy of Stafford Speedway
(Stafford Springs, CT)—Open Modified cars returned to Stafford Motor Speedway for their fifth and final visit of the 2022 season on Friday, August 19th for the Lincoln Tech 80. Woody Pitkat held off a furious challenge from Ryan Preece over the final 5 laps of the race to win the Lincoln Tech 80, his third consecutive Open Modified win at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Ryan Preece led the field to the green flag and he had to hold off an immediate challenge from Michael Christopher, Jr. at the start to hold the lead. Christopher worked his way around Preece on lap-4 to take over the lead. Woody Pitkat was third in line followed by Max Zachem and Todd Owen when the caution flag flew for the first time with 5 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Craig Lutz.
Christopher’s car didn’t come up to speed on the restart, which bottled up the field behind him and Anthony Flannery spun with several other cars involved in turn 2 to bring the caution flag back out.
Pitkat streaked into the lead on the outside of Preece on the restart with Owen taking to the outside lane to take third from Zachem. Matt Galko was up to fifth while Preece worked his way back to the inside of Pitkat on lap-10 to take the lead by a nose at the line. Preece cleared Pitkat on lap-11 while Ronnie Williams moved by Jake Johnson to move up to sixth place on lap-12. Mark Bakaj spun in turn 2 to bring the caution flag out with 19 laps complete.
Preece took the lead on the lap-20 restart with Pitkat slotting into second behind Preece. Zachem was third in line with Owen fourth and Williams fifth. The caution came back out with 22 laps complete for a spin in turn 3 by Tom Martino, Jr.
Preece again took the lead with Pitkat right behind him on the lap-23 restart. Williams moved up to third with Zachem fourth and Teddy Hodgdon making his first appearance of the night in the top-5. Williams made a move to the inside of Pitkat to move into second place on lap-36 while Preece was starting to slowly stretch out his lead. Zachem was still fourth with Hodgdon in fifth. Galko was sixth in line followed by Matt Gallo, Matt Swanson, George Bessette, Jr., and Dana DiMatteo.
The caution flew with 58 laps complete for Chase Dowling, who took a slide through the infield grass on the frontstretch with the top-5 still made up of Preece, Williams, Pitkat, Zachem, and Hodgdon. Under the caution all but 2 cars came to pit road for adjustments and two new tires. Williams won the race off pit road with Pitkat, Zachem, Galko, Preece, Swanson, Hodgdon, DiMatteo, Lutz, and Chris Pasteryak making up the top-10 cars for the restart.
Williams took the lead on the restart with Pitkat right behind him in second. Galko and Zachem were wheel to wheel for third with Preece in fifth. Just behind Preece, Hodgdon and Swanson were wheel to wheel for the sixth position. Preece nearly went 3-wide with Zachem and Galko on lap-61 but he backed out of the move. Preece got by Galko for fourth place on lap-64 and he took third from Zachem on lap-66. Zachem’s car dropped off the pace on lap-67 and it came to a stop just before he could get onto pit road and the caution came out with 67 laps to set up a 13 lap sprint to the finish.
Williams and Pitkat ran wheel to hweel for a lap and a half before Williams got clear into thelead on lap-69. Preece was third behind the two leaders with Hodgdon taking fourth from Galko. Jeff Gallup brought the caution back out with 71 laps complete as Preece was applying heavy pressure to Pitkat for second place.
A multi-car crash broke out on the restart in turn 1 to bring the caution flag right back out. The next restart saw Pitkat take the lead with Hodgdon taking second. Williams was third with Swanson and Preece behind him. Hodgdon made a move to take the lead from Pitkat on lap-74 but Pitkat came right back on the same lap and retook the lead. Preece was able to take second from Hodgdon on lap-75 with Williams moving into third to drop Hodgdon back to fourth with 4 laps to go. Preece was all over the back bumper of Pitkat looking for a way to get by. Preece could only get close to Pitkat’s back bumper as Pitkat held Preece off over the final 5 laps to pick up his third consecutive open modified victory at Stafford. Williams finished third with Hodgdon and Swanson rounding out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.