What was old is new again for Timmy Solomito.
The Islip, New York, native has returned to a family-run operation after spending the last few seasons with car owner Eric Sanderson. When Sanderson retired from the sport, so did Solomito’s days of driving the prestigious No. 16 car.
“It’s a humbling experience,” said Solomito. “I drove for a team that’s well-funded and established. We won plenty of races together but now we start back at the bottom. We don’t have a ton of money, but my family will work very hard for what we enjoy. That’s running and running competitively.”
Whenever the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour resumes, fans will now find Solomito in car No. 66. While he aims to find another ride with another team somewhere down the road, he’s focused right now on winning and having fun with his family.
“It’s a very special number to my family and has a lot of history because my Dad donned the No. 66 for many years at Riverhead Raceway,” he said. “If I can get up front and into victory lane, it would mean a lot. I’m just looking forward to having some fun with my family and the people I love.”
Solomito introduction to the sport came not in Modifieds but in go-karts.
“We would travel and race against guys like Justin Bonsignore and other guys on the Tour,” the 37-year-old said. “We all grew up racing together.”
Away from the track, Solomito has focused on his graphic design business Natural Design Concepts, which opened last January.
“I was always into graphic design,” he said. A lot of racers have supported me and made it bigger than I could have ever imagined.”
The first-year business is named after Solomito’s nickname, “The Natural.” The nickname is not a rip-off of the classic Robert Redford baseball movie, but a label he was given during a restroom conversation.
“There was this character who used to race cars back in the day at Riverhead Raceway,” Solomito recalled. “He was in the bathroom with the announcer of the track and struck up a conversation at the urinal.
“He said you know that young Solomito? From now on you call him ‘The Natural.’ The announcer went back in the booth and called me ‘The Natural’ and I actually won that race. It stuck ever since.”
Since then, Solomito still has the nickname and a burgeoning graphic design business based of it.