Despite burning through a major mulligan last month in Loudon, Timmy Solomito has maintained his championship lead into the second half of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour campaign.
His 10 point advantage over Rowan Pennink may not be able to survive another one, however.
Outside of his 29th place finish in the Eastern Propane and Oil 100 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the 25-year-old has been nearly perfect on the Tour this season. He crashed out of the Cup Series companion race for his only result worse than 11th.
But another Cup companion race at Bristol Motor Speedway brings with it another opportunity to create a championship deficit. There are 28 drivers entered for the Busch Beans 150 on Wednesday night.
Solomito is aware of the championship implications of another early DNF.
“There’s still a long time left in the season and a long way to go but you don’t want to get wiped out and lose a lot of points,” Solomito said after the Bud King of Beers 150 on Thursday night at Thompson. “We’ve done that once already and you just can’t do it twice.
“So we just have to be smooth and be there at the end to get points.”
That’s admittedly difficult to do at Bristol, with the high banks and the traction compound creating a hazardous situation that has notoriously generated numerous multi-car big crashes over the years.
But again, outside of New Hampshire, Solomito has been the face of consistency.
His 6.8 average finish is a career high and he’s already posted three wins, one victory short of his high set last season, and looks the part of a champion.
With two finishes of fourth this month at Stafford and Thompson, Solomito feels like he’s reached a summer peak with his squad.
“This is probably our best month of August since we joined the Tour,” Solomito said. “So now we’re off to Bristol and hope to finish.”
If he does, then maybe, he’ll start to think about his first championship.
“We just gotta keep coming up, keep racing, and put them together,” he said. “You don’t want to put yourself in positions to get wiped out like at New Hampshire. So we have to race hard, but race smart too.”