The Solomito family has been a part of racing on Long Island for decades. The latest generation of Solomito racers, brothers Jerry, Shawn and Timmy have been regulars at the Riverhead Raceway for years. They have raced Legends, Chargers and Modifieds at the 1/4 mile oval at the end of Long Island all with great support from family and friends.
Timmy has always been a fan favorite at Riverhead, many seasons ago he acquired the nickname “The Natural” as a smooth driver when he ran his legends. The nickname stuck as he won races in the Legends, Chargers and Modifieds in family owned cars and driving for people like Wayne Anderson and the legendary red #15 modified.
Several years ago Timmy got a chance to see what modified racing was like at the highest levels. Ed Whelan who owned Ted Christopher’s tour modified gave Timmy a chance to drive the teams second car. A solid run at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park was only spoiled by a broken
oil line. That day Timmy showed the racing world he could wheel a race car at the bullrings and the larger, faster tracks.
Last weekend Timmy Solomito won the biggest race of his career with the season opening NASCAR WMT Icebreaker 150 the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Timmy’s power move past Ryan Preece to take the lead for good late in the race cemented his first NASCAR WMT win.
Timmy has joined the long list of Long Island drivers that have ventured off the island and a shorter list that have won races at Thompson. Drivers like Charlie Jarzombek, Mike Ewanitsko, Steve Park and Greg Sacks left Long Island and found great success in the modifieds and beyond. A win at Thompson means you can compete with and beat the big boys.
Charlie Jarzombek was an Icebreaker winner 30 years ago and now Timmy can claim that same title . Ironically several times Timmy has been asked to drive the legendary #1 Vega restored by Charlies bother Rickey. Amazingly with little track time in the cars Timmy was always able to turn laps that would put him in the field of today’s race cars. One year he was turning times not far off the fastest modifieds racing that night made even more impressive by the fact that brake fluid was leaking into the cockpit making it tough to keep his feet on the petals.
When Sundays Icebreaker 150 started the front row of the race consisted Xfinty regular Ryan Preece and last years champion Doug Coby, both heavy favorites to win that day. Timmy started further back n 13th place and had to work his way forward. As he said we picked them off one by one then a great pit stop late in the race helped put Timmy near the front and put him in a position for the win.
After the race Timmy spoke to the media on what it was like to win the Icebreaker. In typical fashion Timmy humbly thanked the team owner, crew, sponsors and every person who helped put him into a position to win. Last year was not the year they had hoped for but he never felt his job was in jeopardy. He credited a talk with Mike Stefanik during the week that helped him on his restarts which he admitted was not his strong point.
When asked what it meant to him to join the great Long Island drivers who have won races at Thompson Timmy said it was huge, everyone knows where it is on the map. You always want to race and win at Thompson, plus to win your first one there is incredible.
One of the most amazing parts of Sundays victory was the fact Timmy’s car started sputtering right after he crossed the finish line. By the time he got to the back stretch the engine shut off and he was out of gas. On the radio he kept telling his crew “I think I’m out of gas”. One more lap or one more caution and the outcome of the race might have been much different. Timmy’s comment about running out of fuel after the race “Someone must have been watching over us today.”
I got to share a golf cart ride back to the pits long after all he interviews were over and it was time to go home. It was pretty clear that his win was something he dreamed about a long time and the smile on his face was not going away any time soon. His last comment to me as we rode behind the empty grandstands back to pits the was I hope they give me the day off on Monday but it was back to work on Monday morning.
Timmy will try and back up the season opening win at next weekends Spring Sizzler at The Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs Ct.