The Chrome Horn News


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 remaining.
    “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 this.”
    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.


Source:  Mike Twist/Lia Motorsports PR
Posted:  July 2, 2007

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