Tag Archives: Timmy Solomito

Timmy solomito itching for return to the track

BY: Kyle Souza/ PHOTO: MyRaceNews

After what has been a bit of a bumpy offseason, Timmy Solomito is itching to return to the race track.

The former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner will take on a new venture in 2020, with his family-owned operation competing in a part-time schedule. At the end of last year, longtime car owner Eric Sanderson — who Solomito won nine races with — retired from competition, leaving Solomito to come up with a new plan.

The offseason started off well — with his business, Natural Design Concepts & Apparel — booming with success. But at the beginning of January, things took a turn the opposite way.

Solomito was spending time competing in the Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series event in Pennsylvania’s PPL Center, when he was involved in a terrifying crash. It sidelined him or a bit after he was diagnosed with a concussion.

“Racing the Indoor Series is difficult, they get 40 or 50 cars that show up for around 20 spots,” Solomito said. “Towards the end of last year, we had started running better, and we went to Allentown to start 2020 and we qualified through the B-Main, winning it. I felt strong about the car, moving up in the feature, when someone spun and I jumped the right-rear tire and got banged up pretty good. In 22 years of racing, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a crash that violent. My head hit the roll-bar and I got knocked out.”

From there, it was a difficult stretch through January, and even into February for Solomito, who spent more time in the doctor’s office than he did at his business. He was vocal about the diagnosis on social media, giving race fans and friends the inside look on what it’s like to have a concussion and go through the process of recovery.

“As an athlete, you don’t want to admit you got hurt, and often concussions are swept under the table as far as drivers, we just want to get back in the seat and race and don’t really think about our own health,” Solomito said. “It took me eight weeks to recover, going to three doctors, three times a week, with physical therapy, chiropractor and a neurologist. They kept me busy. You crash in the big Modifieds and the car takes most of the impact, but when you crash in the indoor midget, the guy driving the car is the point of impact.”

What is most important after all of the struggles to kick off 2020? He’s back and ready to go.

RACING-REFERENCE: Timmy Solomito Career Stats

“I’m ready to get back at it, and I’m back to 100 percent now,” he said.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the start of the Whelen Modified Tour season, delaying the first three events and forcing their postponement, Solomito is itching to get back to the track for a part-time schedule with his family-owned team.

When Sanderson retired, it was a tough moment for Solomito, who has run five of eight seasons driving the No. 16 for the veteran.

“I started my Whelen Modified Tour career with Wayne Anderson, a local guy and former champion, and we ran competitively, but I met Sly Szaban (crew chief) and Eric Sanderson at the end of my Rookie season and Ryan Preece and I had a hard-fought race a few years before at Riverhead, and Preece was driving their car,” Solomito said. “I went over after the race and shook their hand and congratulated them. At the end of the Rookie season, I didn’t have too much in cement — and Ryan had stepped away from the team — and a few phone calls later, Sly was texting me asking me about moving forward with them.”

The first official encounter to discuss Solomito filling the seat was a rather quick one, but involved Solomito telling a small white lie in order to make it to their shop.

Solomito celebrates a Whelen Modified Tour win driving for Eric Sanderson. (My Race News photo)

“I went up for a meeting on a Monday and I actually told my job I was sick and couldn’t come in, and I jumped on the ferry,” he said with a laugh. “I walked in the office and Eric looked at me and said: “So, you want to drive our car?”, and I said yeah, I would be interested, and he said we had a deal and he shook my hand. I didn’t even have to sign any papers. He told me he was a handshake guy and he was going to do it if he said he was. We raced that way for five years, we had fun, and competed hard. Winning four races in the second year, and five races in the third and nearly winning the championship, I had a great car owner behind me with a great team.”

Solomito knows it’s going to be a difficult venture, with some of the best on the Whelen Modified Tour set to return in 2020 to chase the checkered flag. His main goal is to try and finish top-five in the races that he runs, and hopefully contend for a checkered flag along the way.

“We purchased some equipment with some sponsors and up until the last few weeks our plan was to run as many races as we could depending on funding, but no one really knows what the future is going to hold because of COVID,” Solomito said. “We are hoping for 5-8 races, maybe 10, but it all depends. The car is ready to go and all of the parts and pieces are in place.”

Solomito ended his interview with candid comments about the late Wade Cole, a regular on the Whelen Modified Tour, who suddenly passed away in March.

“Wade no matter what would always up come to me and say hello and ask how things were going, he was just a genuine guy,” Solomito said. “He didn’t do it for the likes on Facebook — he went out there because he was a racer and he enjoyed doing it. You knew every week that the No. 33 was going to be in the pit area and ready to go racing. He had a passion for the sport, and didn’t care what it took. Open truck all the way down to Bristol… he was there to race, and didn’t even care if anyone was coming with him. You don’t see that in this sport anymore. To get the news was tragic, and we will race this year in his memory.”

Timmy Solomito’s new ride for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2020. (Timmy Solomito photo)

SOLOMITO RETURNING TO INDOOR RACING ACTION AT SYRACUSE MARCH 13-14 AFTER ALLENTOWN WRECK

Photo: Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

SYRACUSE, NY March 9, 2020 . . . Timmy Solomito, the 28 year old Long Island, N.Y. racer who crashed January 3rd inside Allentown, PA’s PPL Center, will be back in action for the first time since his crash this weekend.

Solomito will return to wheel the family-owned No. 99 TQ Midget for the Indoor Auto Racing Fueled By VP series finale being held inside the New York State Fairgrounds Exposition Center on Friday and Saturday nights March 13-14.

“It’s been eight weeks, I’ve passed three concussion clearance tests, I feel like my old self and I want to go racing,” Solomito said.

Two days of action in Syracuse, N.Y. will feature complete programs for TQ Midgets, Slingshots and Champ Karts with overall BELFOR “Concrete Series” champions to be crowned on Saturday evening.

Solomito admitted that his progression from his injury has, at times, been challenging.

“I do vinyl lettering for race cars and this should be a busy time. I went back to work before doctors told me I could and had a little setback because of it,” Solomito said.  “I forced myself to step back and listen to my neurologist. It has taken longer than I wanted it to take, but as far as I can see, I’m the Timmy Solomito I was before the accident.”

While Solomito was on the mend, his TQ Midget was repaired. He’s eager to return to Syracuse where he was in a position to win an event last year when the series made its debut inside the new building.

“Everything was fixed, the cage, the motor,” Solomito related. “It was surprising how much was bent on the car.”

The damage included bending of The Joie of Seating custom made seat.

“Randy (LaJoie) took one look at it and said, ‘that must have been one hell of a crash’. He repaired the seat and added some additional supports,” said Solomito who hopped a wheel and backed hard into the wall.

“I also had to get a new helmet. The old one, which had four races on it, was cracked. I had to get a new one,” Solomito shared.

Solomito admitted that he had “taken a couple of bad licks” previously in his 22 year driving career, but none like this one.

The way he knew he was getting back to normal during his rehab period was when he regained his mental stamina.

“I had slowed down a lot after the accident, but I’m back to keeping the crazy hours you have to with a small business.”

As a backup plan, Solomito has recruited his brother Shawn to not only work on the car in Syracuse but to stand by if he feels any ill affects once he climbs back behind the wheel.

Solomito described elements of the regimen he has done through.

“I had to spend time on a tread mill, a bike, run a lot, work out, and have vision tests.  I also spent time on a simulator.  When I exercised, they checked me for balance.

“But I’m in great shape physically now. I wasn’t out of shape before the wreck but not in the best shape. I lost weight after the crash, gained some of it back and feel really good.”

Solomito is among 50 TQ Midget entrants for the two days of action on Friday and Saturday, March 13-14 that will include 40 lap features each night.

Oswego Speedway has again stepped up as a sponsor of the event.  The winner of each of the four TQ Midget Car heat races on both Friday and Saturday night will receive not only a spot in the A-Main but a $50 bonus thanks to Oswego, the home of SuperModified racing. 

Two Oswego Supermodified favorites, Michael Barnes, who is a past Oswego Speedway champion (2016) and Tyler Thompson, 2019 Oswego Classic winner, will be contending for victory as Jason Simmons Racing teammates.

Dr. William Lowe, a long-time supporter of TQ Midget racing, has also posted $200 to the fast qualifier both nights.

The race for the Indoor BELFOR Concrete Series championship will be decided between point leader Andy Jankowiak, Matt Janisch, defending champion Erick Rudolph and Tim Buckwalter after qualifying and feature events are held both nights in Syracuse.

Doors open on Friday at 5:30 and Saturday at 5 pm. Fans are allowed pre-race access to the pit each night for one hour after the doors have opened. Racing will begin nightly with heat races for all divisions with the first green flag on Friday at 7:30. On Saturday, action begins a half-hour earlier at 7 pm.

Tickets are available in a range of different prices through links on www.indoorautoracing.com and the venue box office. Tickets will be available each race night starting at 2pm at the Exposition Center Box office.  Parking is free on the Fairgrounds.         

Race fans can enjoy a double header weekend at the Fairgrounds with the 34th annual Syracuse Motorsports Expo and Trade Show being held at the Center Of Progress Building on the Fairgrounds. This show opens on Saturday at 10 am giving everyone plenty of time to enjoy that show then walk over to the nearby Exposition Center for the races that night. The Trade show reopens on Sunday from 11 to 4 pm.

NASCAR MODIFIED STAR TIMMY SOLOMITO READY FOR INDOOR SERIES RACING ACTION

ALLENTOWN, PA November 24, 2018 . . . NASCAR Modified Touring Series ace Timmy Solomito has the Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Race Fuels clearly in his sights. The Islip, NY driver expects to be a contender for victory when the series opens on the concrete floor of Allentown, PA’s PPL Center on January 4-5, 2019 for the Ironton Telephone Indoor race

Solomito, who made his series debut last year, will field his own TQ Midget built by Mark Lafler. After the two feature events in Allentown, Solomito will focus on the NAPA Indoor Racing Weekend on January 25-26 inside historic Atlantic City, N.J.’s Boardwalk Hall.

Solomito may rely on 2018 Indoor Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified champion Justin Bonsignore for a few pointers. The two have a lifelong friendship growing up New York’s Long Island as well as a history of competing against one other.

“Justin (Bonsignore) and I grew up together racing karts and racing Modifieds,” Solomito shared. “He’s the best in the Indoor TQ Midgets and the NASCAR Modifieds right now. If I can run with him, I can win races.”

In addition to Bonsignore, three time Indoor Auto Racing Series champion Erick Rudolph will be among the men Solomito will have to contend with. Rudolph, who won the Series crown in 2012, 2015 and 2016, was second to Bonsignore in last year’s down-to-the-wire Indoor Series title chase. Rudolph also finished second in this year’s Super DIRTcar Series big-block Modified standings.

Other experienced Indoor TQ drivers filing entries for Allentown include Anthony Payne of Fairlawn, N.J., a first time winner on last year’s series. Other entries include Ryan Tidman, Holland, PA; Tyler Thompson, Fulton, NY; Matt Roselli, Brodheadsville, PA; Jon Reid, Lockport, NY; and the Catalano brothers, Tommy and Timmy from Ontario, NY.

Past Ironton Telephone Allentown TQ Midget feature race winners are Rudolph, who won the inaugural event in January of 2016 in front of a sold out crowd, and Ryan Flores of Cornelius, NC, who swept both nights of the December 2016 events. Bonsignore and Dirt 360 Sprint driver Scott Kreutter from Buffalo, NY had the hot hands indoors last January in the two Indoor TQ features.

The Slingshots will join the TQ Midgets on Saturday’s docket and the Champ Karts will be part of Friday’s double-header. The two divisions will run qualifying races and feature events both nights.

Information, including ticket and hotel links, is available at indoorautoracing.com. Other information and select tickets to all event are available by calling the series office during regular working hours at 609-888-3618.

Tickets for the Allentown races are also available by calling 610-347-TIXX, or stopping at the PPL Center box office at 7th & Hamilton Street in Allentown. Those wishing to avoid online fees may purchase directly at the Box Office, but are encouraged to do so in advance to avoid possible box office lines the day of the event.

The Allentown Indoor Auto Racing race will be preceded by the second annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 13-15, 2018 inside the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, NJ.

Following the Ironton Telephone Allentown Indoor weekend, racing shifts to Atlantic City for the 17th running of NAPA Auto Parts Weekend, highlighted by the running of the prestigious TQ Midget Gamblers Classic. Event dates are Friday and Saturday, January 25-26, 2019

The final event of the Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Race Fuels takes place at a new venue, the New York State Fairgrounds Exhibition Center in Syracuse, NY. on Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, 2019.