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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour


Seekonk Speedway Is Now Familiar Territory
by Denise DuPont

On Saturday, September 10th, the NASCAR Modified TOUR (NWMT) returned to the Seekonk Speedway, or what is commonly known as the ‘Cement Palace’, for the first time since 2005 for the first ‘AnytimeRealty.com 150’ race. Drivers adapted fast to the track and provided a show that brought fans to their feet for a green-white-checker finish.

With eleven years between the modified tours’ visit to Seekonk, it was the first time at the track for most competitors. The small bullring reminded drivers of a lot of different tracks, but surprisingly most correlated the track to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Doug Coby of Milford, CT. started on the pole and led the most laps until he lost the top position with 35 laps to go. On lap 115, Timmy Solomito of Islip, NY. used a bonsai move to pass Coby for the win. On the restart, Solomito started on the outside and took the chance to slingshot under Coby after a hard outside run. “I knew on the restarts he started getting higher and higher and as a leader it is his right to protect,” stated Solomito about his move of the race. “I knew the best shot was to back off and try to get underneath him and I knew I had a car that had enough grip to get up under him so I ran as hard as I could outside and I knew if I could not get him out there I would need to make the bottom shot. I made the bottom run, dust was kicked up and we went a little sideways, but it worked for us. When you are that tight on the track and it is hard to pass to begin with and cars are about equal you will have that action on the track. We were able to hang on to it which was good, it put some excitement in the race.”

From the seat of the #2 modified, Coby did the best he could to withstand the challenges that each caution and restart brought. “I have a mirror and I have a spotter and I thought he had an opportunity to back out of it,” Coby said about Solomito’s pass for the top spot. “He did not take the opportunity which is OK. His passing me really did not bother me, it is just a race and stuff happens out there that we just cannot control. We had a good finish. We had a good car and it all made for a better show for the fans.”

Solomito was sixth in practice and started the 150 lap race in that position. By lap 30 he broke into the top three. “The crew gave me a great car right off the trailer. We were second fastest, which just shows how great Flamingo Motors Sports team is when they can give me a great car week in and week out. You are only as good as your equipment and they give me good equipment which makes me look good. I am just happy to be their driver.”

“I never saw Seekonk until this morning and I have to say that I like the place.” Confessed one happy Solomito. “I knew that we had a good car all night and that I just had to be smart with it and not drive the wheels off. I knew that time was running out and I knew that on a restart was the only way I was going to get by Doug. I just tried running him as hard as I could. We are in Victory Lane and that is all that matters.”

With this achievement, the #16 Diversified Metals Ford has etched in the record books a win at the NWMT return to Seekonk Speedway. “It really shows how good this team is,” stated Solomito. “Sly and the gang just love racing and that is what you need – a team that works hard and gives you a good car every week. To come out of here with a win at a track that I have just seen for the first time, have these guys give me a good car, and to some out with a win is really great.”

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY began the race in third and remained with the top contenders for the entire race. He completed the race with a solid second place finish. “We had a really good night. It is getting down to the time of the year that you have to start looking at those things. We finished ahead of the #2 but did not get any points on him so that was probably a wash,” disclosed Bonsignore. “I am just frustrated for no other reason than I just want to win a race. We have a really good car and we are at that point where if we do not win and we finish second or third, we know we have a car that can win so we go home a little disappointed. Our team is really at that point where we know we can win and we are frustrated when we finish second or third. When it gets down to it there are three really good race teams running in points. It shows now that we have gone to two new tour tracks and we have been the top three teams both weeks.”

Bonsignore has captured two 2016 NWMT wins. The ‘Budweiser King of Beers 150’ at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and the second at his home track, Riverhead Raceway at the ‘Riverhead 200’. “It is going to be a tough, we have three more races which are really good tracks for Doug. We are going to have to step up our game a little bit and continue to work hard for sure. We are trying to get our car back from Bristol which was destroyed, that is our best piece for the next three tracks. The guys are going to work some over time to get it done over the next two weeks. We are not going down without a fight, we are going to go down swinging. Last week Doug said that we are going to have to catch them to beat them. We are not just going to let them walk away with this. We are going to keep on this. We want to be the team to go to the top.”

Coby had the pole, started first, led 112 of the 151 laps run and held on for a third place finish. “There were just too many cautions.” Divulged Coby. “Cautions just provide an opportunity to allow people to just rough you up a little bit. This track is just so tough, it is just a side by side groove where you are lucky to gain a foot on anybody. You can position your car in all kinds of spots but when you get knocked out of the way there is a lot of recovery. It breaks your momentum and you have to get back into it. I still think that we had the best car out there on anything longer than a five lap run but when cautions keep happening it is a really tough track. That is a byproduct of running short tracks. But it is fun to do this.”

A podium finish was not a win, but it enabled Coby to maintain his twenty-point lead over Bonsignore in the chase for the 2016 NWMT Championship. “This was a good finish for us. We would have liked to have won but we are thinking big picture.” Coby expressed. “We have three races to go and we actually gained on points tonight. Timmy winning for us is not as big a deal as if Justin won. I had to remember that even if I was a little upset. I needed Timmy to win not Justin which was a big deal for us. I certainly would have taken my chances to get the extra points and tried to get up to Timmy on the green-white-checker restart but in the end it was a good night for us.”

Next the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will run in the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Notes from Seekonk Speedway:

What occurred between this year and last year to get the Flamingo Motorsports team into Victory Lane?

Timmy Solomito
“The biggest thing was just forming a notebook and growing pains. They took a shot in the dark on me. They could have gone out and picked a guy like Ted Christopher or someone that has a ton of wins but they picked a guy who did not have any wins. Coming into the season last year, did I think I was going to win one? I was hoping to win one for the guys. It was a realistic thought, but we ended up not winning any.”
“We went through the winter and I sat and thought of what I could do better and everything just seemed to come together this winter. Right from Thompson they gave me a great car there and we just built a notebook and continue to build on it. The team has taught me a lot. When I came into this I was just a young kid burning off tires. They taught me how to save them. They have been patient with me. And that is what it took to get everything together. “

Was there any Contact on the track between you and Doug on the bonsai move?

Timmy Solomito
“There was contact out there between Doug and I. We were rubbing our cars a little bit. I do not know if when I was going for the bottom shot there if he thought I was coming up or not. We banged our cars a little bit and I was able to get by him. That is good short track racing and that is what the fans come out to see. I was a little nervous on the Green-White-Checker. The #51 team seemed like they had a good car and we were just happy that we could hold them off as well.”

What happened to the #16 modified during practice?

Timmy Solomito
We “had two flats first thing out in practice. Eight laps in to each practice we had two flats in each session. Something caught the inside of the tire and blew it. We took a look at the right rear and were able to find what was rubbing if there was anything rubbing. We cut some things away and moved things around. I was a little nervous there during the race. The car started to get loose and was thinking “Am I getting a flat?” because I was so use to getting the flats in practice but the guys figured it out which was good.”

“The crew worked hard for me today. They work hard all the time and that is why the #16 team is successful. They give me the cars that they do because they are really good at what they do.”
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: September 11, 2016

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