(Stafford Springs, CT) —When the green flag drops on the Stafford 150 on August 5th, Timmy Solomito and the #16 Diversified Metals team will have winning momentum on their side. The combination are the most recent Whelen Modified Tour winners notching a win at Monadnock Speedway. Solomito has come close to winning races at Stafford in the past and with momentum on his side, he is hopeful of capturing his very first Stafford victory.
“Any time you win a race, you carry over some momentum,” said Solomito. “The confidence is definitely there and all the guys are working hard and producing some really fast racecars. We’ve been close at Stafford in the past and we’ve had some really strong runs there so hopefully we can find that little bit extra we need and that can catapult us to a victory or a really strong finish.”
As Solomito works through his second season together with the #16 team, he has recorded the first 3 NWMT wins of his career. In 6 Stafford starts with the #16 car, Solomito has 3 top-5 and 4 top-10 finishes. Despite the positive numbers Solomito has accrued behind the wheel of the #16 machine, he says that Stafford wasn’t always his favorite track but he is confident that his first Stafford win isn’t far away.
“I used to struggle at Stafford for a while and once I started driving the 16 car, the Flamingo team and Sly Szaban have a good setup there and it really helped me pick up some speed,” said Solomito. “We’ve been close but we just haven’t been able to capitalize and hopefully next Friday we can have a good qualifying run, good track position, and be there for the end of the race. Winning 3 times this season has definitely given me more confidence and I’ve learned a lot. The 16 team has been very patient with me and Sly has taught me a lot. It’s really a team effort and I can’t thank Eric Sanderson and everyone on the team enough for giving me an opportunity and sticking with me and I’m just happy we finally have a chance to win some races together.”
With track position being at a premium on the Whelen Modified Tour, Solomito will need to improve on his qualifying. In the first two stops for the NWMT this season at Stafford, Solomito has qualified 12th for both the NAPA Spring Sizzler in April and the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 in June. Solomito knows the key to a good finish and being able to contend for a win all starts with a good qualifying lap to start up front. With the race being 25 laps longer than the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 back in June, the race is open for strategy calls to possibly get the car into position to win.
“You’re going to want to have a good qualifying lap so you start up front and hopefully stay up front for the whole race,” said Solomito. “Coming through the pack is always tough at Stafford and you can get caught up in something or burn the tires up. I think a top-6 or a top-8 would be a good starting spot. We had a pit road penalty during the Sizzler and got sent to the back but we were fortunate enough to have enough restarts and time to get back up to fourth so it can be done, but it’s a lot tougher than starting up front. You can really wear out a set of tires at Stafford so you’ll have to think about that to save something for the end of the race where hopefully we’ll be in a position to go race for the win. Some days at Stafford it seems harder to pass than others. It’s going to all depend on what the guys up front do. The cars are so equal now that it’s really hard to pit late and make a charge on new tires. I definitely think you’re going to see most everyone make at least one stop for fresh rubber.”
The August 5th Stafford 150 will be the third of four Whelen Modified Tour events to be held at Stafford during the 2016 season with the NWMT returning on October 1-2 for the NAPA Fall Final. Tickets for the Stafford 150 are priced at $33.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is $35.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.