Auto Racing: Broken wrist slows Solomito down

Through the first few weeks of the 2011 Riverhead Raceway season, there is nobody hotter than Modified driver Tim Solomito.

With two wins and a fourth-place finish in the first three weeks, Solomito — or “The Natural” as he is known — has established himself as a marked man within Riverhead Raceway’s premier division. His father, Jerry, who piloted a Modified around defunct Islip Speedway, passed along the racing gene to his sons Tim, Shawn and Jerry Jr., who line up on the grid each week.

“It’s 85 percent luck and 15 percent drive, wanting to do it,” said Tim Solomito, explaining his stroke of early-season success. “It keeps us close and out of trouble.”

Truth be told, everyone in the Modified division is in for trouble if the Solomitos are ahead of them. The brothers are as close in talent as they are on the race track.

The recent Memorial Day outing started out as another tour de force for Tim Solomito, an Islip resident. He strapped into a Legend car and waged a fierce, race-long battle with Chris Young, before crossing the line in first place.

During the Modified feature event, everyone, including all three Solomitos, was chasing the elder Chris Young. Young captured his 33rd win, placing him third on the all-time Riverhead Raceway win list behind Charlie Jarzombek and Jim Malone Sr.

The Youngs of Calverton had a successful Memorial Day weekend the younger Young captured a Legends win at Mountain (Pa.) Speedway. No doubt justifiably proud, wife and mom Ann Young will be showing victory celebration photos and videos around the Riverhead Raceway Pit Area shortly.

Fate then reared its ugly head in Timmy Solomito’s cockpit and did what a full roster of Modified drivers haven’t been able to do so far in the 2011 racing season. Sometime during the race, he suffered a broken right wrist. He was taken to a hospital by ambulance.

On Saturday night, Solomito was present to root on his brothers. After breaking his wrist in three places, he faces surgery, followed by at least eight weeks of recuperation.

While Solomito will undoubtedly lose his grip on first-place in the Modified division, he has to hope that those drivers nipping at his rear bumper have a string of bad luck in the next two months while those drivers buried deep in the standings get hot and assist in keeping the closest pursuers at bay.

Both friends and foes in the Riverhead Raceway pit area agree on one thing: Tim Solomito does not let anything get him down and will strap into his No. 99 car later in the season and be just as fast and tough to beat as ever.