Woody Pitkat Returns to Stan Mertz Racing at Claremont
May 25, 2022
Making a major transition from Mini Stocks to Modifieds from 2020 on, New Hampshire driver Matt Kimball has shown that he belongs among the ranks of Ground Pounder pilots. The 2019 Northeast Mini Stock Tour champion has become a stalwart in Modified racing throughout the Granite State.
He has risen to become a champion driver in NHSTRA-rules Modifieds at Claremont Motorsports Park 2021, along with winning races at Monadnock Speedway and Hudson Speedway. He even placed eighth in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national points last year.
Kimball has also started finding ground in Open/Tour-type Modified competition as well, with Claremont seeing his best results. After going head-to-head and placing runner-up to Matt Hirschman in an open race in 2020; Kimball tasted his first win with the Modified Racing Series in September 2021. This Friday night, he will have his next chance in the Racers Honoring Racers 100 which boasts a $15,000 winner’s check from The Racing Guys.
“The last Tour-type race was the MRS race last year and we won it. Claremont is one of my favorite tracks, we always run well there. It helps coming off a fourth place in Tri-Track at Monadnock, and that was in our NHSTRA car. We won the championship at Claremont last year in NHSTRA. We got a lot of confidence, this will be our first race with our Open car back so we should be ready to take home some money,” Kimball told Racing America.
Sporting a shape like no other oval, Kimball sees the 1/3-mile Claremont Motorsports Park as a track that offers great home advantage to any home track driver that has a competitive racecar. It is an opinion he believes in so strongly that it has increased his excitement for making his second career start on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour later in the summer.
“Absolutely, that’s why I’m so excited for this Friday and running the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in July in Steve Mendoza’s 59. A lot of people don’t know how to get around the track. If you miss your marks a few times a lap it destroys the whole lap itself. Home court is a big advantage for sure.”
This Friday night is bringing a great mix of ‘Mod Squad’ members, such as Matt Hirschman and Doug Coby, thanks in no small part to Claremont’s own management and The Racing Guys with long time promoter Dick Williams.
“We’re super thankful for what Dick Williams and all The Racing Guys are putting on. Dick, whatever race we run he comes over and talks; we’re blessed for what he and his guys do for all us racers, whatever they have giving it back to us.”
This Memorial Day Weekend is going to be extra busy for Kimball and a number of other Modified teams who will make the trip Northwest for Sunday’s debut of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series at Vermont’s Thunder Road. While a hefty purse also awaits on Sunday afternoon, Kimball’s focus is not wavering as he looks to press an advantage he will not have up in Barre, VT.
“That’s the plan, we’ll be there Sunday. But, we got to get through Friday; that’s our main focus. If we can get through in one piece, we’ll turn it around Saturday and head up Sunday. See if we can’t make some money at Thunder Road.”
Despite his confidence, Kimball is not prepared to “call his shot” when it comes to taking the check and trophy on Friday, as his major goal remains the same as it has been the past two years with his Open Modified. Do well, but be able to come back to race another day.
“Hopefully. We got high hopes heading into the race with the first last year and second two years ago. We’ve done well against a lot of these guys. But, big goal is to bring her home in one piece and get ready for the next one.”