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ATHOL, Mass. – The L.S. Starrett Co. announced today that it will expand its motorsports marketing program by continuing support of the newly unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Under the banner of Starrett Racing, the company will be the primary sponsor of the Flamingo Motorsports No. 16 with driver Timmy Solomito. In addition, Starrett Racing will also support the future of the sport through a driver development program as the primary sponsor of the Matt Swanson Racing No. 89 and driver Matt Swanson.
"Starrett is very pleased to expand our racing program in 2017 to include two high-quality teams," said Jim Taylor, vice president of operations for Starrett. "Flamingo Motorsports is a proven, championship and race winning team that fought in the 2016 points battle to the end. Matt Swanson is a really great young driver that has won championships and who is progressing quickly through the racing ranks and was the Rookie of the Year in 2016. At Starrett, we believe in striving for excellence and continuous improvement. We see these two relationships as meeting those goals and we expect to be winning races and championships now and well into the future. We are really looking forward to having Timmy, Matt and their teams represent our company."
"We are thrilled to have Starrett on board as our primary sponsor," said Eric Sanderson of Flamingo Motorsports. "We have the right cars, the right driver, the right crew chief, and now we have the right sponsor. This is going to be a great year of racing and we are going to do everything necessary to win the championship."
Flamingo last won the NWMT championship in 2013 with driver Ryan Preece and also won with Mike Stefanik in 2006. It’s a bit of a stretch, but Stefanik also plays into the history of the 89 team, having won championships in 2001 and 2002 driving for Art Barry. Art's son, Ken Barry, is the crew chief on the No. 89 and has been a big part of bringing Swanson along in his development.
“By the end of the season we were consistently running in the top ten and pushing the top five," Ken Barry said. "Finishing fourth at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway last September was a big achievement for such a young driver. Winning Sunoco Rookie of the Year and finishing ninth in the points were really feathers in Matt’s cap."
It may be the "offseason," but preparations are well underway for 2017.
Timmy Solomito is looking forward to racing in February at New Smyrna and having his first indoor TQ experience at Atlantic City later this month.
"It’s been great to spend more time with family, but we have been really busy getting the cars ready for the season," Solomito said. "I’m ready to strap in and excited to get to racing for this championship. We have the full package and showed that we can win races last year. With Starrett on board we are looking forward to taking it to the next level this season."
Matt Swanson is looking forward to the season for a lot of reasons.
"We made a lot of progress last year and it really helped getting to go to the tracks for the second time," Swanson said. "Most of the tracks we ran I had never turned a lap on. By the end of the season I was feeling comfortable and was able to give Ken better feedback on the cars. We should be able to consistently run well this year. I’m really grateful for Starrett’s support and look forward to representing them. Starrett Tools are the best measuring tools on the market and we use them to build our cars. They are made in America, right here in Massachusetts, and I’m proud to have them on our race car."
Starrett sponsored the Bob Garbarino-owned Mystic Missile and driver Jimmy Blewett throughout the 2016 campaign. The No. 4 finished fourth in the owners championship and won the Stafford 150 in August.
"We really appreciated getting introduced to this series by Bob and his team," said BJ Guerin, motorsports and education specialist at Starrett. "We were thrilled to win a race and to have our company represented by such professional and experienced people as the Mystic Missile team. We loved working wit Jimmy and living the excitement that 'Showtime' brings to every race. Jimmy is going to be devoting more time to his family this season and to getting his nephew, John Blewett, started in his modified career. He plans to run select Tour races and we hope to help him in that endeavor. We admire and support his decision to focus on his family."
From left, John Swanson, Ken Barry, Starrett's BJ Guerin, Jim Taylor and driver Matt Swanson. Dick Ayers/Ayers Racing Images