While the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has been a season of triumph for few, it has been one of frustration for a number of drivers, including those who have tasted success the last few years. One such driver has been that of Timmy Solomito, who after a year of settling in with the No. 16 Flamingo Motorsports bunch in 2015, took the Mod Squad by storm, winning nine races over 2016 and 2017.
Despite maintaining consistency in the points standings, the Islip, NY driver has not visited victory lane in the first 15 races of 2018 on the Tour. Now, with one race remaining during the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT), Solomito’s already high desire to win has been notched up even greater.
“It’s always high, I never let my guns down; I’m always trying to win,” Solomito told Speed51.com. “But going so far this year without a win certainly motivates you to get one, we don’t have too much else to lose as far as the points battle. (The) Championship’s already decided, so it’s just down to who wins the last one. We’re going to give it everything we got.”
Garnering the nickname “The Natural” from his days racing weekly at his home track Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, it’s rare to see Solomito out of victory lane. At the same time, he knows that the sport will humble any racecar driver at any time. This season, has been one of those times.
“Absolutely, racing is a humbling sport to begin with, and that’s what’s great about the sport, you can be on top one race and then be right back on the bottom. Even back when I raced Riverhead full-time and won all those races, we had a year where we didn’t win much of anything and just struggled. It happens. This is a growing year with our backs up against the wall, just got to do our best to end strong and move on to next year.”
On the other hand, there are opportunities for drivers and teams to wrestle back their own destiny. Thompson has been a track that has treated Solomito well since he started driving off of Long Island. In fact, it is just such a venue that he feels that he can get that winning mojo back at.
“Thompson has always been one of my favorite tracks from day one. I got my first start on the Tour with Eddie Whalen there. It’s been awesome from the first time we ever tested there. I just like the high banks and the speed that you can drive the car into the corner. I’m not really sure what clicked, my family has always been going there for years to the World Series and the Icebreaker before we even started racing, I always wanted to win there. The vibe that place gives off is always incredible.”
For Solomito, the vibe of World Series Weekend is one of kind, combining the fall weather, the mystique of “The Big T”, 400 racecars across 17 divisions, plus the end of season all into one grand spectacular event.
“The last two races of the year are always the best to me, between the Fall Final at Stafford and the World Series. There’s something special about the World Series, pulling in there and seeing all of those campers parked there. Feeling the weather, how everybody hangs out night after night; that’s what racing is all about, the people you are there with.”
As it turns out, last year’s World Series was the setting of Solomito’s latest win on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. It was a victory that came under different, but also difficult circumstances, culminating in a career day for “The Natural”. This weekend, he hopes to work that same magic once more.
“Winning last year is probably one of my biggest wins for me, especially with how we ended up getting crashed with four minutes to go in final practice and rolled out the backup car. Going straight to qualifying and then winning the race with that backup car was amazing. It’s a weekend I’ll never forget. I’m not sure we can top it, but winning again this weekend would be a good way to start.”
Speed51.com will have coverage of all three days of the 56th Sunoco World Series this weekend across multiple divisions of racing. Including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, ISMA Supermodifieds, American-Canadian Tour Late Models, Valenti Modified Racing Series, Granite State Pro Stock Series, and more.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos