PAST MODIFIED CHAMPIONS HIGHLIGHT
OPENING WEEKEND AT THOMPSON
Schneider, Lia, Evans to be Recognized
To kick off a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions,
NASCAR is recognizing a trio of NASCAR Modified titlists in the 2008
opener April 6 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
NASCAR plans to recognize each of its past Modified champions
throughout the season. The celebration will begin with the honoring of
Frankie Schneider, Donny Lia and the late Richie Evans at the
Schneider, who captured the NASCAR Modified division title in 1952, is
the oldest living champion. Lia became the 60th Modified champion in
NASCAR history when he won his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title
in 2007. Both champions will be in attendance and will be honored during
the pre-race festivities.
In addition, NASCAR will recognize the accomplishments of
Evans, one of the greatest champions in Modified history. Evans will be
represented at the Icebreaker by family members, and one of his restored
cars will be on hand for the event.
New Jersey’s Schneider began racing in 1947, one year before
the formation of NASCAR. A driver of modified, stock, sprint and midget
cars, Schneider is believed to have won more than 750 races in his long
and distinguished career. In the days where there were no limits to how
many events a driver could participate, Schneider’s Modified win total
during his 1952 championship season is said to have reached 100.
Lia captured the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship in a
storybook season. With five career wins entering 2007 driving his own
equipment, Lia teamed up with longtime Modified owner Bob Garbarino to
run the No. 4 “Mystic Missile.” With the new partnership, Lia and
Garbarino visited Victory Lane six times en route to the first NASCAR
championship for both. A New York native, Lia parlayed his Modified
success into a ride this year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
The king of Modified racing, Evans’ accomplishments are nearly
immeasurable. The Rome , N.Y. , native captured nine Modified titles in
a 13-year span, including a remarkable eight in a row from 1978-85.
Evans ranked No. 1 in the 2003 voting of the “NASCAR All-Time Modified
Top 10 Drivers,” and he was included in “The 50 Greatest NASCAR Drivers
of All Time” list in 1998. In the first year of the current NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour format in 1985, Evans won 12 races, including all
four events at Thompson. Evans had already clinched his ninth career
title heading into the season’s final race at Martinsville , but
tragically perished in an accident during a practice session, cutting
short a career that is unmatched still today.
Activities at the Icebreaker, the annual season-opener for
NASCAR racing in New England , will commence on Saturday, April 5 with
practice and qualifying. Pre-race ceremonies for the 150-lap NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour event on Sunday will start at approximately 2:45
p.m., with the green flag tentatively set to wave at 3:15 p.m. The
grandstand open each day at 9:30 a.m., and one ticket will cover
admission for both days. For a complete weekend schedule and ticket
information, please visit Thompson’s official Web Site (thompsonspeedway.com),
and for more on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour visit