Timmy Solomito enters the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season with a new sponsor in Starrett Tools.
ISLIP, N.Y. — It’s no secret that Timmy Solomito had a breakout year on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour last year.
With four wins in 17 races, he took his career to a new level and put himself on the map as a championship contender, finishing third in the championship standings.
As he heads into the 2017 campaign, Solomito will return for his third straight season with Flamingo Motorsports, welcoming a brand new sponsor onto the No. 16.
Athol, Massachusetts-based Starrett Tools Company will join Solomito’s efforts after backing Jimmy Blewett in 2016. Starrett will also sponsor Matt Swanson’s No. 89 this year.
“We’re really looking forward to the partnership with Starrett, they worked with Jimmy last year and they are looking to grow their company. We are hoping to get their brand out there and show people what they are all about,” Solomito told Race Chaser Online. “Flamingo Motorsports is happy to have them. We feel its a great partnership that hopefully will be more than a one year deal. They went for two of the young guys out there and that shows that they want to be in the sport for a long time. It helps both myself and Matt out to have them on-board.”
For Solomito, the sponsorship will help take his Flamingo Motorsports team to even a higher level. In 2016, Solomito had that breakout season, capturing four victories, including his first career in the season-opening Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
He went on to score wins at Monadnock Speedway, Riverhead Raceway and Seekonk Speedway.
“We had a great year last year; our first year together was trying to get our feet wet and learn. We got a good notebook together and learned a little bit every race,” Solomito said. “Coming out of the gate and winning at Thompson was great and really set us up to have a great year.”
“There was a couple of races where I felt like I could have been a better driver. You just kind of live and learn, because I was out there trying to win as many races as I could. I wasn’t points racing. This year will be more about running consistently and bringing the car home in one piece in the top five. I’m definitely going to be smarter behind the wheel.”
For this season, Solomito and the rest of the unified Whelen Tour drivers will visit some new tracks, thanks to the tours being combined. The season will start at Myrtle Beach Speedway on March 18, but the racing will also include southern stops on May 13, August 16 and a non-points event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 5.
“I think it could be good. There is a lot of potential and that’s what NASCAR saw when they unified the tour,” Solomito explained. “If they can combine the two series and put some more tracks on one schedule and put more fans in the seats it’s great. It will be exciting going to different tracks and doing different things and it will switch it up a little bit.”
“I love Stafford and Thompson but I’m looking forward to getting to try some of these new tracks and running with these southern drivers. It will only help make the series better. I think it’s going to be a good year for the tour. I think it’s going to be competitive. I think you will see a lot of different winners because it seems like the tour has amped with new drivers with new teams and everyone will have to step their game up.”
Solomito hopes to start the new season just as he did a year ago, by winning the opening race. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for NASCAR photo)
Though Solomito has never visited Myrtle Beach, he will be doing some preparation by watching videos of racing at the track to help get himself ready.
“It sounds like Myrtle Beach is a tough track, so we are going to have to go there and put our best finish forward,” Solomito said. “I don’t think many people are going to know what to expect, I know some teams went down there to get a race under their belt but it’s going to be important to start the year off right. We’re going to try to watch as many videos about the place before we even get there.”
The 2017 season for Solomito will start before the Tour opener on March 18. He will be among those drivers making the trip down to New Smyrna Speedway for the World Series of Asphalt Racing coming up next week.
The modifieds will run five feature races, including two long distance events.
“We’re going to down to Speedweeks with the family car that my parents own and we teamed with Flamingo, so it will be a joint effort,” Solomito said. “The Flamingo team will be turning the wrenches … so I can’t thank all the guys at the shop for the help. The guys are really pumped up, and the best thing about this team is that we had a great year last year and they are still working so hard in the shop trying to be better.”
In general, what’s Solomito’s motive for 2017?
“The main goal is the championship at the end of the year.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour kicks off their unified 2017 assault at Myrtle Beach Speedway on March 18.
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer. Souza also writes press releases for the Granite State Pro Stock Series. Souza also works for Area Auto Racing News, based in Trenton, N.J.