The days since the Bristol race have been stressful for the Flamingo Motorsports NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team and driver Timmy Solomito. After the 25-lap in-race penalty that was handed down by NASCAR for working on their car under red flag conditions after allegedly being told by an official that they were allowed to, Flamingo Motorsports’ owner Eric Sanderson has been contemplating not going to the next race at Riverhead Raceway (NY) this Saturday.
Now that Sanderson and crew chief Sly Szaban have had over a week to think things over, Szaban told Speed51.com powered by JEGS that Sanderson has made a decision.
“Eric is still upset,” said Szaban in a text conversation on Thursday morning. “But he said we’re going back for Timmy. Tim is a great kid and he’s doing a great job for us. We figured Timmy would end up on the short end of the stick on the whole thing.”
Solomito is in his second year of driving for the Flamingo Motorsports team. He currently sits fourth in the points standings with three wins, which is tied for the series lead with defending champion Doug Coby.
Solomito was caught up in a crash in the early stages of Wednesday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. During the red flag for rain, Szaban said that he was told by a NASCAR official that he could fix the damaged area of his car, which is normally against NASCAR rules. Szaban said he was told he could make the repairs without penalty. When the race resumed, Solomito was brought down pit road and stopped for 25 laps for working on the car under red flag conditions.
On Saturday, Szaban informed Speed51.com that the team might not be headed to the next series race as Sanderson continued to think over what the next course of action should be for the team that won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.
“It was touch and go there for a little while on whether we would be (at Riverhead),” said Szaban.
Szaban said that as of now the plan is to continue on for the remainder of the 2016 season and then re-evaluate things after the season is over.
“Eric is a man of his word,” Szaban said. “He made a commitment to Timmy for a year. He’s going to follow through on it.”
Solomito won the first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race this season at Riverhead, his home race track. Now that he knows he’ll be racing with the No. 16 car this Saturday, Solomito said he’s really looking forward to battling at the bullring.
“The 16 is locked and loaded.” Solomito said. “I’m hoping to rock and roll on Saturday night.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo/Rick Ibsen