Timmy Solomito Showing Readiness To Battle In Whelen Modified Tour At Stafford Speedway

Timmy Solomito (Photo: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Timmy Solomito (Photo: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images for NASCAR)

STAFFORD – As the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour TSI Harley-Davidson 125 rolled to its closing stages at Stafford Motor Speedway Friday evening, the top six of the event was made up mainly of the usual faces seen near the front of Modified Tour events at the half-mile oval.

There was Ryan Preece, Bobby Santos III, Doug Coby and Woody Pitkat.

And then there was Timmy Solomito.

And the second year Modified Tour full-timer showed Friday he’s ready to get it on at the front of the field these days in his Flamingo Motorsports ride.

On a lap 118 restart, Solomito made a bold move to go from fourth to second. The Islip, N.Y. driver looked to have the momentum to run the outside lane to get up and battle with eventual race-winner Ryan Preece before the caution flag flew again on lap 119.

“We knew it was going to be aggressive toward the end there,” Solomito said. “[Crew chief Sly Szaban] kept coming over the radio saying ‘You gotta get aggressive, you gotta get aggressive.’ I did the best I could.”

Solomito is in his first season driving for Flamingo Motorsports after replacing Preece in the team’s ride after Preece left the organization to join the Whelen Modified Tour TS Haulers team after the 2014 season. Solomito finished eighth in the Whelen Modified Tour standings in 2014 driving for car owner Wayne Anderson. He had an average finish of 10.8 in 13 events last year.

Solomito opened the 2015 season with a sixth place finish in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway on April 12, an event where he ran with the leaders most of the race.

Solomito, who came up through the weekly Tour Type Modified division ranks at the tight Riverhead (N.Y.) Speedway bullring, said this year he’s still getting used to driving among the cars and drivers that typically make up the front of fields in the division.

“It gets a little aggressive, but we’re getting there, we’re working on it,” Solomito said. “I’m from Riverhead so we can get aggressive. I’ve just got to take it in strides and keep doing a good job.”

Friday at Stafford Pitkat was able to use his own aggressive move on the final lap to steal second place away from Solomito. The third place finish Friday for Solomito was his second career podium finish in 24 Whelen Modified Tour starts dating back to 2011 and matched his career best with the series. He finished third in an event at Riverhead on Sept. 14, 2013.

“Sly took a gamble on two tires [on the lap 104 pit stop] and it worked out,” Solomito said. “It got us track position and then it was all up to the driver after that. The team did a great job on the pit stop and I knew I just had to hit my restarts good.

“I think we were just a little bit too tight. But, I was trying all I had. I was trying to hang it out there and get a good run. I think we were just a little bit too tight. I think if we freed it up a little bit we would have been better. Taking two tires was a gamble, the stagger doesn’t come up right away so we had to wait for that. We definitely had a second place car and Woody made a pretty bold move there at the end. We just hung on. It was a good hard fought battle between me and him and I respect him a lot. It was a good battle but we came up a little short for second.”

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