Donny Lia Keeps Riding the Wave to Third
Straight WMT Victory
Young Star Takes Fourth Win of the
Year in Mod Racing’s “Daytona 500”
New Hampshire International Speedway held its first NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour event in 1990. When it opened, NHIS was considered the
mecca of motorsports in the Northeast. It was the first and remains the
only New England track to host all of the top levels of NASCAR racing,
including the NEXTEL Cup Series, during its modern era. During Cup
weekends, the groundpounders of the WMT are traditionally part of the
weekend’s events, making every driver on the Tour want to win more at
NHIS than at any other racetrack because of the gigantic crowds and
Cup-level personnel throughout the garage area.
Donny Lia has been ever-so-close to having that ultimate satisfaction of
winning on that biggest stage at NHIS. Going into the 2007 season, he
wanted badly to win at the tracks he had come close, but never won at
before, including Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson International
Speedway and NHIS.
The first two tracks got checked off the list earlier this
year when Lia won at both Stafford and Thompson. On Saturday, June 30th,
the last track on Lia’s list of near-misses came off the list, as the
young driver scored his third-straight and fourth overall victory of
2007 in the New England 100 event at NHIS.
“It’s huge to win here at Loudon; this place is like
Talladega or Daytona for us,” said Lia. “This is the Daytona 500. I’ve
won at Riverhead, a quarter-mile that we race on, and now I’ve won at
the biggest track we race on.
“Last year, we were within 10 laps [of contending for the win
in] each race. We were right there in the lead draft with five or six to
go. We blew up one race and overheated in the other. Those were both
races that we could’ve won. I wasn’t thinking about that today, though.
I was just focused on what was going on. The way our luck has been
going, it’s been like a wave that keeps getting bigger. Hopefully it
stays that way. I’m just very fortunate.”
Since teaming up with the Bob Garbarino-led Mystic Missile team prior to
the start of the 2007 season, Lia has had strong cars week in and week
out, but never was that more apparent than at New Hampshire. Lia led 76
of the 85 laps (the race was shortened from 100 to 85 laps due to time
constraints at the track), but the true power of Lia’s #4 showed in the
final six laps of the race, as he swapped the lead back and forth with
Modified veterans Ted Christopher and Eddie Flemke several times before
taking the lead and pulling away from the pack with three laps
“I was going hard,” said Lia of the last sprint to the
finish. “Those guys were running in a two-car draft or whatever it was –
maybe a three- or four-car draft. It’s hard to beat that. The only time
I’ve seen that, and a guy maintain the lead, was Teddy (Christopher) a
couple of years ago with that car that was unbeaten here. To go out
there and do that was impressive.
“We were able to get out front and stay there. I know they
might have been closing in maybe a car length or so, but it wasn’t much.
You really have to be able to find the balance both in the draft and out
front. Out front, it was great, but when it was in the draft I was able
to make moves too. I was able to suck up to them real good and make it
run. That’s one of the reasons we were able to stay up front.”
With the win, Lia pads his point lead on the Whelen Modified
Tour. While it’s a long road still ahead towards the series title, Lia
is perfectly happy soaking in the amazing streak he’s in the midst of.
“I just can’t believe it,” added Lia. “I knew we could win
some races. I knew we had a great team. I knew this was what I really
needed as a driver. So if someone ever told me I’d win four out of the
first six races, I’d say they need to go to the hospital.
“I can’t say enough about the guys on this Mystic Missile
team and Ron Hutter for the great power here. To be able to come out
here and run with all the other series at this racetrack in front of all
these fans is awesome. This is the most amount of fans we’ll ever race
in front of all year by a lot. I’m just happy we can be here doing
After winning at the 1.058-mile New Hampshire oval on June
30th, Lia and the Mystic Missile team now focus their attention towards
the tight 1/3-mile bullring of Twin State Speedway in Claremont , NH ,
for the next Whelen Modified Tour event on Sunday, July 8th.
Twist/Lia Motorsports PR
July 2, 2007