2016 served as a career year for Timmy Solomito. After 35 attempts at reaching NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory lane, Solomito achieved his goal during the first race of the season at Thompson (CT) and proceeded to win three more times across the Northeast at Monadnock (NH), Seekonk (MA), and at his home track of Riverhead (NY). Now “The Natural” plans to get a head start on the new racing season by checking another item off his bucket list.
Solomito has entered the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway and will compete in all five nights of Tour-type Modified racing. He will make his first attempt at the event driving a family-owned car that will be renumbered to the Flamingo Motorsports No. 16. The Flamingo Motorsports crew will be with Solomito at the track as they prepare for the upcoming NWMT season.
Solomito hopes to score his first Speedweeks victory and leave New Smyrna Beach, Florida with a championship if everything works out right.
“This will be the first year, hopefully we’ll be able to learn a few things before the year starts and have some fun,” Solomito told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Growing up it’s what you look forward to doing your whole life. You want to go down there, run Speedweeks rather than watching it on the computer every night. It’s going to be cool to go down there and be a part of it. Hopefully we’ll be fast and enjoy ourselves.”
It will be the first time that Solomito or the Flamingo Motorsports team has ever ventured south this early in the season, although some of the crew including crew chief Sly Szaban have participated with other teams including Ryan Preece’s family operation in the past. Solomito’s run in Florida comes with backing from Starrett tools, who is joining forces with the team for 2017.
“We’re looking forward to the partnership with Starrett this year,” Solomito stated. “Hopefully we can promote their brand down there and all season. We want to have some strong runs for them, they seem really excited. I’m happy to have them onboard and looking forward to the season.”
If he is to win, it will be up against tough competition, including the likes of Preece who won the Speedweeks title in 2016 for the Tour-type Modifieds. Other big names like Ron Silk, Matt Hirschman, Jon McKennedy and fellow Long Island driver Justin Bonsignore are among the challengers.
“It seems like there will be a lot of good teams down there trying to get a jump on the year it seems like. It should be exciting,” Solomito commented. “Hopefully it will be a good Speedweeks, people can get really excited again. The Modifieds weren’t dying out down there but they were getting a little scarce there for a little while; it’s going to be exciting for the fans as well as the drivers.”
The main goal for Solomito is to gear up for the year 2017 which for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour rolls off earlier than the last number of seasons. The first race takes place on March 18 at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) before the tour returns north for the traditional Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on April 2. Solomito is also hoping to add more races outside of the Tour and the No. 16 car.
“We’re running the full tour in the 16 and I’m sure we’ll run a few races in the family car here and there,” he explained. “I’ve had a few calls to do some things with the Tri-Track Series, that would be cool and we might show up in an SK car and do a few races here and there. We’ll be racing a decent amount, looking forward to having a good year and having fun, that’s the main thing.”
The 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing rolls off on Friday, February 17, with the Tour-type Modifieds competing on Monday, February 20 for the first of five straight nights of racing. Be sure to follow the action right here on Speed51.com.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen