Timmy Solomito Scores $6,326 Payday For Bubba 150 Victory At Riverhead Raceway

(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

Timmy Solomito (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

Timmy Solomito of Islip remained perfect with the NASCAR Modifieds of Riverhead Raceway in 2023, after he powered his way to a $6,326 payday winning The Bubba 150 Saturday. With the triumph Solomito moves to 15th on the Riverhead Raceway win list with 23 victories. 

During qualifying Solomito was quickest earning the Righteous Window Cleaning Pole Award with a 11.409. A $2,500 Highmark Building Efficiency Challenge was offered to Timmy of he would drop to the rear of the field and win the race, Solomito citing track position politely declined. The challenge was then offered to championship leader John Beatty Jr of Merrick who also turned the offer down after a lap of 11.444. Chris Young of Calverton third in qualifying with a lap of 11.460 gladly jumped on the challenge and dropped to the rear of the 18-car field. 

With Bob “Bubba” Patanjo’s granddaughter, Riely getting the race underway waving the green Solomito quickly moved out front ahead of Beatty for the first lap scored. Next circuit saw Justin Bonsignore in in the TBR Racing entry move by Beatty for second, As the field was trying to compete the third lap Mark Stewart was the victim of a left rear flat exiting the fourth corner drawing a caution flag, trapping Allan Pedersen with nowhere to go. Both continued.

What followed the early race caution was indeed an anomaly at Riverhead, 138 continuous laps of green flag racing. During the long caution free run there were two story lines fans were tracking. First a titanic battle for the race lead between Solomito and Bonsignore that featured numerous crossover maneuvers as the duo swapped the lead just prior to and following the 50-lap mark of the race. While keeping an eye on the race for the lead, fans were peeking back at the progress Chris Young was making towards the top ten. Chris barnstormed his way into the top ten rather quickly getting to 8th prior to halfway. 

As the race entered the final 50-lap segment Solomito was able to get away from Bonsignore some due in part to the arrival of Justin Brown to the third position. Brown pulled up to the rear spoiler of Bonsignore earlier and was all over the second-place car late in the race. Meanwhile, Chris Young in his march towards the front found another gear late in the tilt moving to 5th and appeared to have the fastest car on the track. 

Then on lap 140 things heated up, and in a hurry. With Solomito out front comfortably, Bonsignore and Brown were working some lap traffic in Mark Stewart and Tom Rogers Jr., who were racing for position. The two made slight contact sending Rogers to the outside off the corner into the path of Bonsignore, who had to break momentum allowing Brown to come to second. Unhappy with Rogers, Bonsignore gave Tom a shot in turn four to which Tom responded by slowing in front of Justin going into the first turn. End result was both of them tangling seconds later in turn four drawing a yellow with ten laps to go. Both drivers were sent to the rear on the ensuing restart for their actions.

With just ten laps remaining question became who would pit, who would stay out. Among the lead lap cars all pitted but Justin Brown who opted to restart with the race lead. Solomito, Ellwood, Beatty, Ellwood Young and Bonsignore all ducked in for their change tire. 

When the green waved for the final 10-lap run Solomito went right back to work moving by Brown for the race lead with Ellwood and Young also getting by Brown for second and third. Young made a late race bid to pass Ellwood for second but by the time he did Solomito was again long gone.

As the checker flag waved Timmy Solomito’s perfect season remained intact in the Kennedy L.I. Realty Chevy. After being greeted by Mike Patanjo and Dennis Freese of Oval Speed in victory lane, Timmy was asked by track announcer Stephen Halpin the secret to his car staying so good the entire race, “my brother Shawn, he made this thing a rocket ship, he works on it so hard with my Dad, who despite kidney stones is out there working away”. Timmy added, “great to win this race for Bubba. He used to jokingly call me Punk when I’d walk by Bill Park’s car, a true honor to win his race”. 

Bonus money earned by Solomito on top of the $1,800 in purse money included, $2,500 for the Patanjo Family, $500 from Waddell Communications/Preece Racing for leading lap 125, $1,326 in lap money, $100 from the Righteous Window Cleaning Pole Award and the Natural Design Concepts & Apparel Most Laps Led $100 award. 

Chris Young wowed the crowd and those watching on Flo Racing with his charge for the $2,500 Highmark Building Efficiency Challenge, which included a stipulation that the accepting driver would get $500 with a podium finish. So impressed was Rich Gerbe of Highmark, he doubled the bonus to $1,000 for Young and his Ace’s Landscaping team. Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead did a masterful job bringing the Matlach Motorsports racer home for third place money in just his second start in the car. John Beatty Jr. and Justin Brown of Manorville completed the top five. 

For the fourth time this year, defending Eagle Chevrolet Crate Modified champion Owen Grennan of Glen Cove sat in victory lane at the conclusion of their 25-lap feature. Grennan and championship rival Michael Berner brought the 18-car field to green with Grennan taking the early lead. Berner soon began feeling like the cheese in a sandwich when Chase Grennan, the leaders younger brother came to challenge for second. On lap 6 Chase was able to come to second passing Berner and setting sail for brother Owen. A few times during the balance of the race Chase tried to gain a run to the outside of Owen but in the end the older brother would prevail in his Eastport Feeds Chevy for his 17th career win. Chase was runner-up in the Black Forest Auto entry while Michael Berner of Patchogue settled for third in the Pro Diesel racer.

Eddie Diaz of Centereach has always been among the quicker Blunderbust cars in 2023 but had been unable to seal the deal, until Saturday night when he won his first of the year in a 20-lap affair. A hungry Eddie Diaz bolted to the early advantage at the throw of the green with Joe Densieski in tow. Densieski stayed in leader Diaz’s tire tracks until lap 16 when he was overtaken by defending champion Cody Triola. On lap 18 Densieski and Bill Wegmann Sr. were involved in a late race jingle that forced a double file restart with two to go, a restart that would change the complexion of the race. When the race resumed Eddie Diaz in the At Your Side Home Healthcare racer hit his marks earning his 3rd career victory. Brandon Hubbard of Mastic made a late race charge on the final restart for second in the United Exhaust Shop racer while Cody Triola of Bay Shore completed the podium in third with the Cesspool Pro racer, 

Another driver fast all year but yet to find the winners circle in 2023 was 20-lap INEX legend Race Car winner Riely O’Keefe of Manorville. O’Keefe made his way to the lead at the drop of the green with a bevy of challengers waiting to pounce. Among them included Jeff Farruggia Jr., Richie Davidowitz and Joey Braun. The trio kept pace with leader O’Keefe with the race coming down to a green, white & checker to decide the outcome. Looking to rid himself of the tough racing luck he’s been plagued with in ’23, Riely O’Keefe in the Get Clear, Crystal Clear Window Cleaning car polished off the competition on the restart for the popular win. Joey Braun of Manorville crossed the line second in the Cut Above Hair Salon entry while Jeff Farruggia Jr. of Riverhead was third in the AJ Painting machine.

Saturday marked the 19th anniversary of the passing of “Tiger” Tam Baldwin, in the 15-lap Eddie Partridge Vintage All Stars feature the recently restored Pontiac bodied 7NY with Sal Accardi Jr. of Deer Park at the wheel took home the popular win. Accardi paid close attention to detail when restoring the car which indeed was traced back to “Tiger” Tom. Sal led all 15-laps of the race taking the lead from pole sitter Jimmy Reed Jr. at the start. Sal was greeted in victory lane by Tommy Baldwin Jr. Don Howe of Water Mill was runner-up in the Corwith’s Auto Body Cavalier while Tony Ferrante Jr. of New Hyde Park was third in the Anthony Ferrante & Son Inc. mount. 

NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Timmy Solomito 2. Chris Young 3. Kyle Ellwood 4. John Beatty Jr. 5. Justin Brown 6. Matt Brode 7. Justin Bonsignore 8. Dylan Slepian 9. Mark Stewart 10. JR Bertuccio 11. Mike Christopher Jr. 12. Tom Rogers Jr. 13. Jack Handley Jr. 14. Allan Pedersen 15. Chris Rogers 16. Michael Rutkoski 17. Roger Turbush DNS- Dave Brigati

Crate Modifieds: 1. Owen Grennan 2. Chase Grennan 3. Michael Berner 4. Vinny Dekaney 5. Joey Braun 6. Kyle Ellwood 7. Eric Hersey 8. Terry Stiles 9. Ken Massa 10. Sean Glennon 11. Charles Macwhinnie 12. Max Handley 13. Mike Albasini 14. Rich Gerbe 15. Tom Sekulski 16. Eddie Schutze 17. AJ DeSantis 18. Chevy Rommeney

Blunderbusts: 1. Eddie Diaz 2. Brandon Hubbard 3. Cody Triola 4. Jim Laird Jr. 5. Joe Densieski 6. Brad Bess 7. Bill Wegmann Sr. 8. Tom Puccia 9. Gary Caldwell 10. Bill Wegman Jr. 11. Michael Accordino

Legend Race Cars: 1. Riely O’Keefe 2. Joey Braun 3. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 4. Richie Davidowitz 5. Jason Castaldo 6. Ryan Lutz 7. Mike Benton 8. Eric Hersey 9. Chris Sinatro 10. Nick Morabito 11. Rodney Dowless Jr. 12. Joe Warren Jr. 13. Jayden Glennerster 14. Mike Van Houten Jr. 15. Robert Henninger III 16. Ray Stulz 17. Michael Metcalf 18. Kendall Van Houten 19. Alex Johnson 20. Charles Hodge 21. Ed Stadtlander 22. Kimberly Daniel 23. Steve Harding 24. Pat Moore 25. Jim Sylvester 26. Marc Godnick

Vintage All Stars: 1. Sal Accardi Jr. 2. Don Howe 3. Tony Ferrante Jr. 4. Mike Siraco 5. Jimmy Reed Jr. 6. Cody Triola 7. Billy Auer 


  1. If you missed the modifieds at Riverhead last night and you have FloRacing consider dialing it up as a replay. Solomito and Bonsignor put on a show at the front for sure but that’s not the best part.

    “End result was both of them (Bonsignor and Rogers) tangling seconds later in turn four drawing a yellow with ten laps to go. Both drivers were sent to the rear on the ensuing restart for their actions.

    That’s doesn’t really capture how bizarre the incident was. Bonsignor gave Rogers a real shot that caused significant damage to both cars. Something you’d never see Bonsignor do in a Massa car he actually gave Tommy Baldwin a bunch of damaged parts and a car to fix from a temper tantrum.
    If you do watch it pay attention to Chris Young as well. Solomito and Beatty pass on the gamblers challenge he came from scratch to second and almost pulled it off. Ten more laps he may very well have done it.
    That was better then a Tour event at Riverhead in my view.

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