All Natural: Timmy Solomito Gets First Whelen Mod Tour Win In Thompson Icebreaker 150

Timmy Solomito celebrates his first career Whelen Modified Tour victory following the season opening Icebreaker 150 Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Timmy Solomito celebrates his first career Whelen Modified Tour victory following the season opening Icebreaker 150 Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

THOMPSON – A year ago in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s season opening Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway, Timmy Solomito turned plenty of heads when he ran with leaders most of the day and ended up sixth in his first start for his new Flamingo Motorsports team.

It led to a season of ups and downs for the team that saw them finish three times in the top-five and six times outside the top-10 over 16 events.

A season of learning and gelling though showed payoff Sunday at Thompson.

Solomito, of Islip, N.Y., passed Ryan Preece for the lead on lap 117 and then checked out from the field to score his first career Whelen Modified Tour victory in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway.

Solomito, known around the Whelen Modified Tour as “The Natural”, said the patience of his Eric Sanderson owned team led them to their celebration Sunday.

“I think they knew we were going to have some growing pains,” Solomito said of his first year with Flamingo Motorsports, a team that won a series title in 2013 with Preece. “I think they knew we were going to struggle before we set the world on fire.

“[Crew chief Sly Szaban] has worked with a lot of drivers and they were super patient, they taught me a lot. A lot of back and forth on the phone, a lot of conversation. There were some days that I walked away from the track and said ‘I gave them guys the wrong information and it was my fault.’ But we learned from it and that’s what put us here today. If we didn’t learn from it we’d still be struggling. We’ve learned, we’ve talked, we’ve come together back and forth and we’ve put our heads together and that’s why we’re in this spot where we are because they didn’t give up.”

The 24-year old Solomito was making his 36th career series start. Preece, of Berlin, finished second. Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y. was third.

“I’ve been coming to Thompson many years watching, it’s always been a dream of mine to turn right onto that stretch there to pull into victory lane,” Solomito said. “To do it in such a great car with the [Flamingo Motorsports] team really means a lot.”

In 11 Whelen Modified Tour starts at Thompson for Solomito dating back to 2011 he has finished in the top-10 nine times and worse than 11th just once.

“I like the high speeds, I like the high banking,” Solomito said. “I come from a quarter-mile bullring [Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway], you’re off and on the gas quicker than you can even blink your eye. Somewhere that you can hold the gas pedal down a long time and kind of send it into the turn and the banking helps you, that’s somewhere that I want to race.”

Solomito started 13th and looked pedestrian for much of the early going. When all the lead lap cars went to the pits under caution on lap 85 Solomito came in seventh and went out fourth.

“The guys on [my team] had an incredible stop,” Solomito said. “We picked up a lot of track position on the pit stop. We had a car that was very stable. We didn’t really kill it in the beginning and just picked them off one by one. … The guys just made an excellent pit stop. That’s really what put us in victory lane today.”

On lap 94 Solomito went by Bonsignore for the lead, but Preece clawed back and went by Solomito for the top spot on lap 111.

But on lap 117 Solomito sized up Preece and easily grabbed the lead back.

“I knew he was going to be charging for me,” Solomito said of Preece. “I knew I had a good car. I didn’t know if I wanted to go real hard or kind of check up and save it a little bit. He got the lead and I felt like we could stay right with him. I felt like I was pushing him a few times down the straightaway. I said it was about time to go for it again and take the lead back and let him know that we were strong today. That was the power move of the race.”

From there Solomito checked out from Preece, winning by 3.5 seconds.

“I started saying to myself, ‘Maybe I’m running it a little bit too hard, let me back it off a little bit,’” Solomito said. “And I backed it off a little bit and [the team] said ‘You’re pulling away.’ And I said ‘Alright, I’m going to straight right where I am then.’ … I was kind of cruising and it still felt really good. I was still turning really good lap times.”

Said Preece: Obviously [Solomito] hit it really good there and they got it pretty good for that last stop. … They had a really good car there and we just missed it on the last [pit stop]. I thought we were going to have something for him and we got to the lead and all of the sudden it just started over rotating. … As soon as I got by him and didn’t have the drive I had right before I was trying to get to him, I really worked that right rear quite a few times to try to get by these guys.”

Bonsignore jumped from fifth to the lead on his pit stop but couldn’t hold off Solomito and Preece over the closing stages.

“I just have the best crew on pit road,” Bonsignore said. “They dropped the jack and it’s hard to see and hard to time in your head how fast you think it is. It didn’t seem fast, but we came down pit road and we’re the first one out. Those guys put us in position to win. I think I just may have had them over adjust on the stop a little bit. We struggled tight into the center [of the corners] all weekend and that’s where the [Preece] and [Solomito] beat us.”

Two-time defending series champion Doug Coby of Milford, who came into the event looking for his fourth consecutive series victory dating back to last year, ended up fourth. Coby had won all four Whelen Modified Tour events last year at Thompson and won the pole for Sunday’s event.


  1. Troyer, Troyer, SPAFCO, LFR, Troyer; interesting………….

  2. First weekend is in the books, what a show!This tour is not only fine,but is going to be vey competitive this year.Phil Moran will prepare the 2 consistently like he always does,but at least a dozen or so teams will complete.I can’t remember a race with four cars absolutely on rails as yesterday.I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Doug Dunleavey.He is an asset that short track racing is lucky to have.He works on promoting and funding our sport tirelessly and enthusiastically,and is a nice guy to boot.Cant wait to see this season unfold.Go Timmy and Justin. P.S.I found out this weekend that Jeff Preece knows how to setup a troyer.

  3. darealgoodfella says

    TC wasn’t there, only 2 (two) yellow flags.

    Just sayin’.

  4. darealgoodfella says

    I always expect the cars to be packed together with those identical SPEC compliant power plants.

    Clearly the chassis are not major differentiators. Every driver likes a different set up, every crew chief thinks he has something better.

    Some cars seem to have way more power than the others.

  5. darealgoodfella –

    Or maybe some cars just roll through the corner faster than others. Just sayin’
    Its a “spec” motor and they are “Kit” cars.

    No one is going home and cutting pick up points off these cars. Stop Complaining, and enjoy the races. All these teams work hard on what they have. There is always going to be someone who is better than the rest.

  6. darealgoodfella says

    DaOtherFella… I must inform you that horsepower is not needed, or even advised, to roll through the corner faster. Think about it… when does the driver get off the gas and then back into it.

  7. darealgoodfella says

    Congratulations to T. Solomito, it was a long time coming. This looks like a contending team, things are really coming together.

  8. Statistic, dareal has 57% of the comments on this article, go figure!

  9. Big deal Tedy wasn’t there when is the last time he won a race. Dale Earnhardt wasn’t there either

  10. Andy Boright says

    Can someone get Melisa Fifield off the the track before she seriously hurts herself or somebody else! She is not qualified to be driving a NASCAR modified, that is clear.

  11. justafella says

    TheRealGoodFella TC wasn’t there only 2 (two) yellow flags.
    Just sayin’
    You are worse than Mrs. Clinton “what does it matter” you are so boring get over it

  12. Andy,
    No disagreement from me here that she needs to find some speed, but I don’t think anyone but you is worried she’s going to “hurt” someone. While she has been slow during her time with the series, she has been ultra respectful of the competition. She gets out of the way and I can’t remember any accidents or cautions she has brought out from being in the way. The same can’t be said for a lot of the other slower guys over the years. To say she’s going to hurt herself or someone else is really not a fair characterization of her.

  13. Well said, Shawn, but what is the point they’re trying to make by putting her out there? This is not a series to just learn and gain experience.

  14. Just wondering what was her qualifying speed and what were her lap times like in the feature? Can anyone tell me?

  15. Maybe it’s time for an exclusive interview with Melissa to hear from her exactly what her goals are for this season and beyond.

  16. knuckles mahoney says

    I was there and I will just say this. Forget the racing for a minute. Thompson speedway should really be ashamed of themselves. As a military veteran who saw action, to have a military benefit of 2 dollars off a 48 dollar ticket is a disgrace. I get more than that at the movies on a 12 dollar ticket. I’m not looking for a hand out but come on, we sacrificed, some the ultimate sacrifice for this country and this is appreciation. Also there were multiple competitors in different divisions from Canada, and no Canadien National Anthem as part of the pre-race ceremonies is completely disrespectful to the canadien competitors.

  17. darealgoodfella says

    humphry, I’m sure plenty of people can tell you what you are asking. I know I can. The information is readily available if you knew how to get it. Just a few keystrokes is all it will take. Help yourself.

  18. darealgoodfella says

    Regarding Ms. Fifield, if you are going to have this discussion, you also need to consider Salzarulo (37), Sapienza (36), Bush (68), Heagy (18), and McDonald (26). I’m not defending Fifield at all, but if you are going to have this discussion, the other back markers that get in the way and cause incidents and yellow flags need to be included in the conversation. Fifield stays out of the racing lane, these other back markers run in the racing lane. They have taken out top 5 cars, they cause crashes, they cause yellow flags, these cars cause yellow flags when all alone. Fifield would not be competitive if she ran her Tour car in the SK series.

    Why is Fifield so slow? She’s running a Hutter so she should have power. Running a new SPAFCO. Are they using only 2-bbls for safety? Perhaps she should stay close to home and run a local track/modified series to get the much needed seat time and see if she can get up to a competitive speed. Apparently she can’t qual in the MRS series. Put Kenny Barry in the car and it will be at least top 10.

    You might think that Fifield should run the SK series to get some seat time before running the NWMT. She’d get destroyed in the SK series. Those guys in the SK series play very rough. She would be destroyed, she can not run in close competition, not that that would ever happen. She is demonstrating that she can not compete on the NWMT. If she is trying to leverage being a female in a male dominated sport, she is hurting her cause by not having the ability to come close to being competitive.

    If she thinks she is using the NWMT Tour as a stepping stone experience that is leading to something bigger, she needs to recalibrate. It’s not going to happen, she went asymptotic far below the bar, a long time ago. She needs to demonstrate some sort of potential, and it isn’t happening.

  19. In the four years since I first saw Melissa at Waterford Speedbowl, she hasn’t gotten any faster or better. She’s never gonna be competitive in any type of racecar. Allison Legacy series doesn’t count.

  20. While I’m looking up asymptotic definition, I’d say a kindly worded email to Thompson about the Canadian anthem might solve your issues with that in the future.

  21. Melissa’s qualifying speed was 108.204. The pole speed was 120.702. The car that qualified just ahead of Melissa was 114.358. Official reason for her DNF was handling. It must be the chassis, hopefully they will get it worked out for Stafford in 2 weeks.

  22. Knuckles, It’s not Just Thompson with the stingy senior/military discount. The other tracks are no better. Can’t even get a cup of coffee with that discount. Not much of an incentive for seniors with limited income.

  23. darealgoodfella says

    Chris D., do some Googling and you will find there is plenty out there already.

    The goal is to raise money.

    A few things you will find out about Fifield are that she is an insurance agent, Christian, and her father is a police chief.

    Her experience is: karts, Allison North Series (120 HP Mazdas), VMRS, NWMT.

    And don’t forget, she is the NWMT Most Popular Driver. So genuine!!!!!

    Draw your own conclusions.

  24. Have always tried to hold my tongue regarding Melisa.They seem to be a nice family.But the fact remains that she has not improved since she came here.I guarantee it is Not the car! I actually sit in the stands embarrassed for them.Saturday she time tried and locked up the brakes coming into turn 3.Shawn is correct that she is respectful and does stay out of the way but even the back markers lap her.I also love my children and grandchildren so I wouldn’t want to see them deluding themselves.It time to find another hobby i’m afraid.

  25. dareal, you should know as well as anybody, the LAST place to raise/make money is the Whelen Modified Tour. Everyone wants to speculate why she rides around the track 12-15 mph slower than the leaders only to be black flagged every race, then retire from the race before halfway with “handling problems”. If she will do an interview and explain it in her own words, all of the questions will be answered. That is my point, we all know what she is doing is foolish.

  26. knuckles i will be at stafford and every tour show i will be happy to pay your admission for your service it is disgraceful. As far as mellisa i believe her fathers dream is too run the tour not hers just what i think

  27. this kid is got a very good chance to win championship and you cant find a nicer kid

  28. I realize the girl is trying HOWEVER, Rocco turned a 19.55 in the SK feature and Membrino turned a 20.12 in the SK Lite feature. If she did not turn a faster time than that she is in the wrong game!

  29. Joe Lajoie says

    Melissa qualified at a 20.7 for the Tour race.
    The two fastest SK Lights in Saturday’s race were doing 20.0’s The rest of the SK Light field was doing 20.2 – 21.1. She probably wouldn’t have been lapped in the SK Light race.

  30. While I do agree that the solomito has a good chance at the championship . To say that it was a long time coming is a joke I mean he only ran one season . Some guys race for years and never win anything. What kind of idiot would make a statement like that .

  31. darealgoodfella says

    Chris D., there was/is a video from her out there where she is pursuing sponsorship from Champion (spark plug company) and she is campaigning to get people to vote for her. The source is on her Facebook page, presently goes to a dead end, broken/expired link. Same thing with the Most Popular Driver award… nobody that knows racing and goes to the track would actually vote for her, but it happened. And there is value in that award, it creates an illusion and perception, and it can carry weight with a sponsor. She can put that Most Popular Driver Award on her list of achievements, as dubious as it may be.

    I don’t see handling problems running that slow.

    I’m with Art. It’s not funny anymore, it hurts to see the 01.

  32. You are correct Joe and to take it one step further 7 of the 8 SK lights in the feature turned a faster time than her!

  33. Bostonian says

    Why is it that Formula , with some of the best drivers in the world, has a minimum qualifying speed based on a % of the pole sitters time. But NASCAR doesn’t have any kind of speed requirements? Just goes to show it’s all about the $$$, but we already know that! 🙁

  34. darealgoodfella says

    Jim said, “While I do agree that the solomito has a good chance at the championship . To say that it was a long time coming is a joke I mean he only ran one season . Some guys race for years and never win anything. What kind of idiot would make a statement like that .”

    Jim says Timmy Solomito only ran one season.

    Here are the statistics for Timmy Solomito:

    Timmy made his debut in 2011 with one race.

    In 2013, he ran 6 races, won a pole, had a top 5.

    In 2014, he ran 13 races, had 2 top 5s, 6 top 10s.

    In 2015, he ran 15 races, had 3 top 5s, and 9 top 10s.

    What idiot said Timmy Solomito ran only one season?

    So over the 36 races that Timmy ran over the last couple seasons, I have been impressed. He had some good races, clearly very high potential. I thought he was ready to get that first win last season. And you have to factor into the thinking that he is driving for a very capable team.

  35. darealgoodfella says

    And Timmy Solomito “Has 14 career NASCAR Modified division feature wins and a legends division championship at Riverhead (N.Y) Raceway.”, so it should not be a surprise that he was due soon on the NWMT, as in considering all that, it was a long time coming.

  36. One full season with the 16 car idiot

  37. Because he likes quoting statistics so much, dareal has 27% of the comments on this article…………………

  38. darealgoodfella says

    Hey, lookit humphry loinin’ how to look up and use statistics.


  39. Joe, your numbers are certainly accurate but I’d bet the farm she wouldn’t run with the lites. She’s not competitive period.I heard a very surprising exchange between a spotter and nascar official last summer at monadnock.Igot there just after first practice and she apparently spun at practice.they were chuckling about it and said good maybe she’s looking for the edge.I was sitting just below the yellow tape and heard every word.It’s now become uncomfortable.I think she is afraid and I know this does not sound very nice on my part so now I will hold my tongue.

  40. darealgoodfella says

    She’d be running closer to the lites, and be dangerous because the real race cars would not be able to blow by her like the real Tour cars do. That would put her in close confines with the real racing lite cars. Since she can’t hold the car, that would be dangerous because the other cars can’t get around and away from her fast enough. After all these years, it simply can not be the car. Just listen to her car when qualifying.

    Art, nice or not, truth is truth. This is like watching Eddie the Eagle or the Jamaican bobsled team.

  41. If the 01 is trying to compete, then why is it after she pulled behind the wall for good at Thompson sunday she just sat in her car with her helmet on until the race was over? She didn’t get out, no crew member came over to look at the car or check tire stagger or anything else that you would expect a proffessional NASCAR race team to do. For those who think it is fine for her to be out there because she stays out of “the racing lane”, what if there were 4 or 5 cars every race doing the same thing as her? Would THAT be acceptable too?

  42. darealgoodfella says

    Jim said, “While I do agree that the solomito has a good chance at the championship . To say that it was a long time coming is a joke I mean he only ran one season . Some guys race for years and never win anything. What kind of idiot would make a statement like that .”

    Note that there is no qualifier about what specific car, and Timmy Solomito has run far more than one season.

    Then consider this from Jim: “Some guys race for years and never win anything.” That is so true. Look at the statistics, very few of the total population of drivers that attempt a race end up winning. Winning is hard. doh. For a reference, TC did not get his first win until his 11th season driving Tour mods. And many people say TC can drive anything. Bobby Santos won a race in his first year running the 44.

    Some guys like Bush, McDonald, and Heagy are never going to win. Put them in the 2, 16, 6, 4, and they still won’t have a chance to win. Look at the statistics, and I know you don’t like to do that, but it ends up being a handful of drivers that collect the wins, far outnumbered by those that never win. That’s the nature of the game… 30 drivers race for ONE (1) position. doh. Lots of them are never going to win. Just look over the statistics.

    Timmy Solomito however, can handle a car very well, and has been knocking on the door with consistent good finishes. He was certainly due.

  43. How much fun can it even be for the 01. To spend all the time you spend at the track only to get the very little they do out of it. Must be nice to have money to throw away like that.

  44. Juan Mortime says

    Given the quantity of posts about her, Melissa Fifeld is clearly the most popular driver on the tour and a lock to receive the award again in 2016…

  45. Fast Eddie says

    Congrats to Tim & #16! I’d be willing to be that’s not the only one they’ll get!
    Melissa Fifield is an awfully nice kid. However it’s beyond me as to why she’s not running Sportsman Modifieds at Monadnock. She’s running dangerously slow in the WMT and was doing the same in the Valenti series. I respect and appreciate low budget teams that are out there for the love of the sport, doing what they can on their budget. I always enjoy seeing “the little teams” have a decent day. But she is even substantially slower than those teams! I just don’t see how much enjoyment the team can get from being out there like that.

  46. darealgoodfella says

    Fast Eddie, she isn’t that low budget. She’s running a Hutter and new SPAFCO. Plenty of other teams wish they had a new SPAFCO chassis and a Hutter. Put Kenny Barry in that car and he’d have it up in the top ten.

  47. darealgoodfella says

    I agree with Art that she must be afraid. The key to running fast in a mod is running in hard and deep, and she doesn’t do that, at all, not even close.

  48. Muddbus461 says

    The 01 team must have money to burn.The assistant flagger hurt his arm so much because he waved the passing flag so much.They should not even be on the tour.Wait until Oswego….she won’t make 10 laps there because of the speeds.The whole tour is just plain watered down.I can see NHMS now…25 modifieds…a pack of 5 in the lead draft….then a pack of 7-8…then the rest of the field

  49. Did I miss the headline of this article or something. I thought it was about Solomito getting his first win at the Icebreaker. SMH

  50. darealgoodfella says

    LM, this is the thread about the latest race and clearly Timmy Solomito is the highlight, but all other aspects of the race are open for discussion, such as anomalies like the 01.

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