SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Timmy Solomito, the 28-year-old Long Island, N.Y., racer who crashed Jan. 3 inside Pennsylvania’s PPL Center, will be back in action this weekend for the first time since his crash.
Solomito will return to wheel the family-owned No. 99 TQ Midget for the Indoor Auto Racing Fueled By VP series finale being held inside the New York State Fairgrounds Exposition Center on Friday and Saturday nights March 13-14.
“It’s been eight weeks, I’ve passed three concussion clearance tests, I feel like my old self and I want to go racing,” Solomito said.
Two days of action in Syracuse, N.Y., will feature complete programs for TQ Midgets, Slingshots and Champ Karts with overall BELFOR “Concrete Series” champions to be crowned on Saturday evening.
Solomito admitted that his progression from his injury has, at times, been challenging.
“I do vinyl lettering for race cars and this should be a busy time. I went back to work before doctors told me I could and had a little setback because of it,” Solomito said. “I forced myself to step back and listen to my neurologist. It has taken longer than I wanted it to take, but as far as I can see, I’m the Timmy Solomito I was before the accident.”
While Solomito was on the mend, his TQ Midget was repaired. He’s eager to return to Syracuse where he was in a position to win an event last year when the series made its debut inside the new building.
“Everything was fixed, the cage, the motor,” Solomito related. “It was surprising how much was bent on the car.”
The damage included bending of his Joie of Seating custom made seat.
“Randy (LaJoie) took one look at it and said, ‘that must have been one hell of a crash.’ He repaired the seat and added some additional supports,” said Solomito who hopped a wheel and backed hard into the wall.
“I also had to get a new helmet. The old one, which had four races on it, was cracked. I had to get a new one,” Solomito shared.
Solomito admitted that he had “taken a couple of bad licks” previously in his 22-year driving career, but none like this one.
The way he knew he was getting back to normal during his rehab period was when he regained his mental stamina.
“I had slowed down a lot after the accident, but I’m back to keeping the crazy hours you have to with a small business.”
As a backup plan, Solomito has recruited his brother Shawn to not only work on the car in Syracuse but to stand by if he feels any ill affects once he climbs back behind the wheel.
Solomito described elements of the regimen he has done through.
“I had to spend time on a tread mill, a bike, run a lot, work out, and have vision tests. I also spent time on a simulator. When I exercised, they checked me for balance.
“But I’m in great shape physically now. I wasn’t out of shape before the wreck but not in the best shape. I lost weight after the crash, gained some of it back and feel really good.”
Solomito is among 50 TQ Midget entrants for the two days of action on Friday and Saturday, March 13-14 that will include 40 lap features each night.