While the 2016 offseason for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour saw a number of changes, one group that stayed intact over the winter was the No. 16 Flamingo Motorsports team. The team will return for a full campaign this upcoming season with Long Island’s Timmy Solomito once again behind the wheel of the Eric Sanderson-owned team.
After earning NWMT Rookie of the Year driving for Wayne Anderson in 2014, Solomito filled the empty seat for the Flamingo team during the 2015 offseason. Although the team was unable to secure a victory in their first season together, the overall performance improved after a few midseason struggles.
The newly married Solomito ended the year with back-to-back third-place finishes at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) before finishing the year sixth in the points standings. He is hopeful that the team can carry that momentum directly into 2016.
“We had a real strong finish to the end of last year and we are looking to continue where we left off,” Solomito told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Hopefully we’ll be able to go out there, have some strong runs, and put some good races in the books early to have something to fall back on halfway through the year if we have to.”
Solomito believes that one of the biggest advantages he will have over some of his competitors is familiarity. The team will enter the year with a full season of experience working together, while other drivers and mechanics are still getting used to new surroundings.
“I think we will be strong out of the box this year,” Solomito said confidently. “A lot of guys are changing teams and changing crew chiefs. I’m happy to be back here with Flamingo for a second year and we’re going to make the most of it.”
Solomito also carries confidence going into the Icebreaker with both a brand new race car and a proven setup that has propelled the Flamingo team to strong runs at Thompson throughout the last few seasons. Flamingo Motorsports was the last team to win at Thompson prior to the current four-race winning streak set by Doug Coby and the No. 2 squad in 2015.
“Flamingo has got a base setup they come to Thompson with every year that leads us from there,” explained Solomito. “So we didn’t want to chase it too much since the track will be different race day.”
In addition to a full 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with Flamingo Motorsports, “The Natural” will also be back in his family owned Tour-Type Modified at his home track of Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. He also plans to take his family car on the road to chase some of the big money races.
“I’m going to run my family car at three or four Tri-Track (Open Modified Series) events this year and mess around with that a little bit. We will also go back to Riverhead for opening night and a couple of extra distance shows.”
Solomito and the rest of the field on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour return to action in less than two weeks with the 42nd Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park April 9-10.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, LI, MA) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com