The Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes on Speed51.com is something that short track drivers and teams look forward to every single year. However, the Short Track Draft can be a bit of an eye-opener, especially for those drivers nearing their 25thbirthday, or worse, their 26thbirthday.
This year, a big-name in the Northeast aged out of Short Track Draft eligibility. That driver is Timmy Solomito, otherwise known as “The Natural.” Solomito turned 26 years old on December 3rdof 2017, making him no longer eligible to be drafted.
However, the five time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner in 2017 is still eligible to participate in a different way, this time as a voter. Solomito joins a panel of more than 60 Short Track Racing experts who will be voting on more than 260 drivers.
The first time Solomito’s name appeared in the Top 51 was in 2014. Solomito was drafted 39thoverall that year. Since then, it was a steady climb through the draft rankings for the second-generation Modified driver. Solomito was selected 34thin 2015, 27thin 2016, and 11thlast year.
After scoring five wins, leading 410 laps and finishing second in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points standings last year, Solomito could have been a contender for a top five overall pick had his age not gotten in the way.
However, Solomito isn’t letting his age stop him from continuing to try to climb the ladder like fellow Modified racer, Ryan Preece, who now has scored two NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at 27 years old.
“It is awesome to see what Preece is doing at his age,” Solomito said. “It makes you dig deep, and shows it’s never too late to make it happen.”
Solomito is racing against plenty of young guns on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour such as Chase Dowling, Ronnie Williams and Craig Lutz. Because of who he races against, perhaps there may be a bit of a Modified bias in Solomito’s draft selections?
“I’ve always kept up on other series and tracks. I am an open-wheel Modified guy so I keep up with those drivers the most, but I always check out other series and have kept an eye on up-and-coming drivers. From starting in WKA (World Karting Association), you don’t realize how many people you got to know or watch come up through the ranks. I’ll probably always favor the Northeast guys a bit because they are the ones I always watch weekly.”
Birthdays are supposed to be a happy occasion as one gets to celebrate another year of life on Earth. However, it sounds like December 3rd, 2017 wasn’t a particularly happy one for Solomito. As a result, he said there might be one change to the Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes that he might make if he were in charge.
“The Short Track Draft is an awesome deal. It showcases talent throughout Short Track Racing. It is a sad day when you become too old. Maybe you guys should make an ‘Over the Hill Short Track Draft’ for the guys that are older than the requirement. There are guys that are still kicking butt at 30 to 35 years old.”
Perhaps we’ll consider that idea, Mr. Solomito. But for now, we appreciate you being on our esteemed panel of voters.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com