(THOMPSON, CT) – Timmy Solomito will look to regain momentum heading into the fifth race of the Whelen Modified Tour schedule after winning the season opener at the 5/8 mile oval. Solomito led 43 laps en route to his first career victory, snapping a 4-race win streak at the track held by Doug Coby.
After his victory, Solomito finished 4th at the Spring Sizzler. He had arguably the fastest car on track at Waterford when he crashed out late in the race after showing great strength in fighting back from adversity multiple times. Last Friday at Stafford, he met a similar fate while advancing positions in the late stages to record a second DNF. Now sitting 7th in series standings, Solomito intends to turn his fortune around with a trip back to the site of his lone career win.
“There are three things I like about Thompson,” said Solomito. “I can drive the car hard, be aggressive, and run in the outside lane. Each of those suits my driving style. I’ve always had good runs at Thompson; from my first start there to running two Sunoco Modified races at the World Series, that racetrack is really good to us. I’m confident my team is going to give me a car I can win with.”
Justin Bonsignore’s team has had some bad luck as well, but they have been able to recover most of the time. The biggest thing hurting their team is poor qualifying efforts. Last time out they their showed resilience after losing a lap on pit road when, during a routine pit stop, his jackman was knocked off balance, throwing the entire stop out of sync. He rallied back to finish 5th heading into a track where he has won three times.
“It’s just a matter of not giving up,” said Bonsignore. “I was pretty frustrated on the radio (at Stafford), but Crew Chief Billy (Michaels) did a good job a keeping everyone calm and focused. It helps coming off a good finish with a little momentum and going to a track I like. We race well there and are usually in the Top-5 battling for a win in the late stages. This race is shorter with 125 laps so more strategy comes into play.”
Jimmy Blewett is coming off two consecutive podium finishes including a runner-up at the last event. Now with four races into his stint driving Bob Garbarino’s Starrett backed Mystic Missile, Blewett is in position to finally conquer Thompson. He has finished 2nd at the track on two occasions, but still lacks a trophy at the track that has eluded him throughout his career.
Coming off a win during the last event at Stafford, Doug Coby is once again riding momentum coming into one of his best tracks on the circuit. The speed he had during 2015 wasn’t there during the Icebreaker, but you can still expect the 5-time Thompson and defending race winner to be strong Wednesday night. Crew Chief, Phil Moran, said after the event that he knew exactly what the issue was and plans to have it rectified before Wednesday night.
A quick look at the point standings and you’ll find Donny Lia in the 3rd position. Lia has 3 Thompson wins in 40 starts and until the last event where he finished 3rd, the team has struggled to find speed this season. The last time Lia went to victory lane was in 2013, so the two-time series champion is hungry to get back into the winner’s circle.
The Thompson 125 is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15. Qualifying heats for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly divisions begins at 5pm, with pre-race ceremonies to follow at 6pm. Joining the racing card will be the NEMA Lite division. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.thompsonspeedway.com
Joseph Fernandes and Michael Jaworecki Photos