It looked as though Doug Coby was going to put on another clinic in the return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to Seekonk Speedway (MA) on Saturday night. The three-time Tour champion dominated on the long runs, but a number of cautions and a hard-charging Timmy Solomito changed the dynamic of the AnytimeRealty.com 150.
Solomito pulled even with Coby on a lap 77 restart, running to Coby’s outside until Coby ran Solomito high off turn four, with Solomito unable to get inside on a crossover try. On the next restart on lap 113, Coby gave Solomito room on the high side with Solomito edging Coby at the line. The next lap Solomito got behind and made his move inside going into turn one.
From there, the driver of the Flamingo Motorsports No. 16 pulled away to pick up the victory at the Cement Palace.
“I knew my only chance was going to get by him on the restart,” Solomito told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Once he got out in front he set his own pace. I knew I had to do everything I could. On the one restart he ran me a little high. I knew if he could give me the breathing room to duck in behind and cross him over, I knew I had a good enough car to do it up off the corner.”
The move nearly ended in disaster for both drivers as the 16 (Solomito) and 2 (Coby) rubbed nerf bars. The contact forced Solomito to stick his left side tires into the grass, and slide up into Coby with both drivers making saves and maintaining positions.
“I’m not sure he knew I was down there or not, but it was time to go, thirty-something laps to go. We race on a tight track, this is pretty much what I grew up doing every week. I got down in the grass there, got a little sideways, and we were able to sneak by him. That’s all that mattered at the end,” Solomito said.
Justin Bonsignore, who was third at the time, made sure to give Solomito and Coby a little extra room thinking that the two might go around.
“It looked like it for a second,” Bonsignore said with a chuckle. “They ran each other pretty wide on the restarts and neither one of them appreciated what the other one was doing. I was kind of laying back, probably should have filled the gap a little quicker and tried to pressure them. But I thought they were going to wreck; they were down there in the dirt, but they’re great drivers and were able to save it.”
Bonsignore blew by Coby on a late restart and held on to finish second. After the race Coby was only upset with not being able to add to his win total for the year, which included a $10,000 check that he won at Seekonk back in June in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series.
“It’s a little circle bullring. If there’s going to be contact, it’s just unfortunate I think. We had a really good car, best car on a long run,” Coby remarked. “You get a caution and the guys get a free shot at you. You’re clear by three (car lengths) every time you come to a caution, they get three laps to knock you around a little bit. It is what it is. I’m not upset with anything, good third-place finish for us.”
Unlike Coby who has plenty of experience at the “Cement Palace”, Solomito had never driven Seekonk in a Modified until the first practice session earlier in the day.
“It was the same going to Oswego last week, I said going to Oswego it was going to be tough,” Solomito stated. “Came here and I struggled in practice, I feel like I didn’t have the line down. We had a few hiccups in practice, lost two tires there and it wasn’t looking too good of a day there, but we turned it around. I’m not too much of a finesse driver, this really isn’t my type of track. I knew I had to be patient, set a pace and be there in the end. Just happy we were able to do that.”
Behind the trio of Solomito, Bonsignore, and Coby, Matt Hirschman capped off a solid night in his brand new car from the new Pee Dee Motorsports team with a fourth-place finish. Bobby Santos used a miraculous turn around after missing both practice sessions to switch out a sour motor and completed the top five.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for its next event on September 24.
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-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Unofficial Results
Seekonk Speedway – September 10, 2016