Timmy Solomito had never been far away from Riverhead Raceway, until the last few years when he’s been hitting the road and racing with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
But Saturday he’ll return for the second time this season, looking to win the Riverhead 200 and sweep the quarter-mile tracks for his fourth win of the year.
“I grew up every Saturday night sitting on the back straightaway at Riverhead with the headphones on, watching modified racing, just dreaming that one day it would be me.”
It’s Solomito’s third year running the circuit. He was named 2014 rookie of the year, but this year he’s reeled off his first set of wins: the opener at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway in April, then Riverhead in June and New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway in July. But there’s no better spot to go for the quarter-mile triple crown then right where he grew up.
“It would definitely be really cool (to win again),” Solomito said. “I look at it as another race. You always want to go out there and win. You just have to go out there and do what you always do and try prepare the best race with practice and be out there to win the race.”
Solomito, 24, sits in fourth place overall with 387 points. Doug Coby, the only other driver with three wins, leads the tour with 436 points. Solomito is in position to challenge for the lead with six races remaining including Saturday.
“The opportunity is still there to strike,” Solomito said. “We just need everything to go right and if not we’re going to keep pressing forward and put the best finishes that we can.”
Solomito, 24, got his start racing Go-Karts at Riverhead when he was 7. His father, Jerry, raced modified and mini modifieds at Islip and Riverhead and helped get Solomito and his two brothers, Jerry and Shawn involved. Shawn leads the NASCAR Modified class championship at Riverhead and is looking for his second title.
“My family’s history in racing is there; my dad always ran well,” Solomito said. “He’s taught me a lot, he’s taught my family a lot and he’s sped up the learning process for us.”
Jerry and Shawn will both race on Saturday and Solomito said he’s simply excited to be back in front of the people who know him best.
“It’s great to go out there and see everybody that you grew up with and everybody that’s cheering you on and pushing you to the next level and been behind you for a long time,” he said.