LIA LEAD LONG ISLAND CONTINGENT TO DAYTONA
Inaugural UNOH Battle
At The Beach
To Have Plenty of Empire State Representation
Whelen Modified Tour standouts Justin Bonsignore and
Donny Lia will lead a strong contingent of drivers
from the New York hotbed of Modified racing – Long
Island – for the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach,
Feb. 18-19 at Daytona International Speedway.
Eight of the 34 drivers entered so far come from
Long Island for the event that will feature the
NASCAR Whelen Modified and NASCAR Whelen Southern
Modified Tours compete in combination on a .4-mile
short track on the backstretch at Daytona.
The trek from the snow-covered northeast will be led
by Bonsignore, from Holtsville, and Lia, who hails
from Jericho. The pair earned secured starting
positions for the inaugural short-track showcase by
virtue of their wins during the 2012 season, which
both came at Thompson International Speedway in
Drivers that won Whelen Modified races or captured
the championship during this past season are locked
in to the UNOH Battle At The Beach Modified main
event. All others will have to qualifying their way
into the feature through heat races.
“Right from the start when they announced last year
that we were going to have this event, we were
really excited,” Bonsignore said of his No. 51 M3
Technology Chevrolet team. “Definitely getting
locked in to the event put the icing on the cake.
“We were really excited to go even when we thought
we would have to race our way into the event, but
getting locked in really finalized all of our plans
and we’ve been working away to get everything ready
to go down there.”
Bonsignore, the Whelen Modified Tour’s 2010 Sunoco
Rookie of the Year, took the checkered flag at
Thompson on Sept. 9 in the Town Fair Tire Northern
75. It was the second career tour win for the
Lia, a two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion,
earned his secured starting spot in Daytona with his
16th career victory in the Budweiser King of Beers
150 on Aug. 9 at Thompson.
This will be the second Speedweeks appearance for
Lia, who competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck
Series race at Daytona in 2010.
While Lia has raced Daytona on the big track, this
will be his first Modified event at the “World
Center of Racing” with the No. 4 Mystic Missile
Racing Dodge, and it will be Bonsignore’s first
experience of any kind on the hallowed grounds.
“Anytime you get to race in front of the top three
series – to perform in front of all of those guys –
it’s pretty special,” Bonsignore said of the
opportunity. “It’s going to be an exciting race, and
to have the TV coverage and all of the media outlets
there, it’s going to be a big deal.”
Other Long Islanders on the pre-entry list include:
J.R. Bertuccio Jr. (Centereach), Dave Brigati
(Calverton), Johnny Bush (Huntington Station), Eric
Goodale (Riverhead), Ken Heagy (Calverton) and Steve
Park (East Northport). TS Haulers Racing, which
fields cars for 2011 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Champion Ron Silk, is also Long Island-based.
Park Follows Father’s Footsteps: While he’s
made appearances at Daytona in each of NASCAR’s
three national series before, Steve Park will race a
Modified on the grounds for this first time with the
UNOH Battle At The Beach. When he does, he’ll be
following in the footsteps of his father. Bob Park
competed in a Modified at Daytona multiple times
when the speedway and superspeedway Mods had
Speedweeks events from 1974-80. Bob Park also ran
two NASCAR Nationwide Series races and twice took
part in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 125s at
Battle Events: The NASCAR Whelen All-American
Series Late Models will have qualifying races and a
150-lap feature on Monday, Feb. 18 while the action
on Tuesday, Feb. 19 will include a similar schedule
of qualifying races and 150-lap races for both the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours and NASCAR K&N Pro
Series. All three features are non-points races.
Event Coverage: All three UNOH Battle At The
Beach features will be carried live on SPEED, the
Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio while
all practice and qualifying sessions will feature
live streaming video at www.nascarhometracks.com.
Event Tweets: The official Twitter hashtag
for all events surrounding the UNOH Battle At The
Beach is #NASCARBattle. Join the conversation using
the #NASCARBattle hashtag as well as the official
Twitter accounts for NASCAR Home Tracks (@NASCARHomeTrack)
and Daytona International Speedway (@DISupdates).
Additional Info: For more information, please
Grandstand and garage admission can be secured via
the website or by calling 1-888-PITSHOP.
Source: Jason Cunningham / NASCAR