On Saturday night, Mother Nature ran its course at Monadnock Speedway (NH) and forced the postponement of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event. But on Sunday afternoon, it was “The Natural” Timmy Solomito shining the brightest in a dominating 200-lap effort.
Solomito started on the pole and led all 200 laps to win the Dunleavy’s 200 and score his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory of the 2016 season. The driver from Islip, New York has dominated many races at his native Riverhead Raceway, but had never dominated a race like he did on Sunday.
“Never qualified on the pole and led every lap, never. This is a first for me. This just goes to show how good my team is. They gave me a great car today,” Solomito told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We really had to use it on those late-race restarts and really run it hard throughout the whole race. To be able to come away with a victory is huge, just happy I could do it for these guys. I’m very thankful for the opportunity that Eric Sanderson has given me. He gives us nothing but the best, I’ve got the best in business on the pit crew. Hopefully we keep this momentum going and bring home a few more before the end of the year.”
Solomito was chased by points leader Doug Coby for much of the race, but a caution at lap 152 brought Rowan Pennink, who charged up from the back half of the top 10, into the mix. After taking second from Coby on the restart, Pennink was in a position to strike in his “Ol’ Blue” No. 3 ride.
“They were telling me on the radio ‘3’s coming, 3’s coming.’ I was just hoping that he kind of burned it up getting there,” Solomito recalled. “Just happy I hit the lap cars when I did and I was able to stretch away a little bit, get a little cushion with a few laps to go.”
A second caution took the wind out of Pennink’s sails and he would have to settle for a season’s best second-place finish.
“We had a heck of a car. Took our time moving up through the field there. I think we had the better car before that caution came out, the way the tires heat cycled. Then I think the 16 (Solomito) had a little bit of an advantage,” Pennink told Speed51.com after the race. “Who knows what would’ve happened, I would’ve liked to see it without that caution. Came up one short.”
Although Solomito’s home track of Riverhead is a quarter-mile like Monadnock, his luck has not carried over to the high banks. This week he received help from Les Hinckley, a six-time Monadnock winner in the Valenti Modified Racing Series.
“I struggled at this track here for a while. I called Les Hinckley this week and even talked to him last night. He gave me about an hour of his time, can’t thank him enough. He really helped us with our line, it really showed today. Hats off to him.”
After starting off 2016 still looking for his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory, Solomito now holds three, tying Doug Coby for the most victories on the season.
“It’s pretty wild. You dream of winning one. To win two more in a season and make it three is pretty incredible. Such a great feeling, hope we can keep it rolling.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on Friday, August 5 for 150 laps of racing at Stafford Motor Speedway.
For on-demand coverage of Sunday’s race, visit NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com