Donny Lia Grabs Whelen Modified Tour Pole At New Hampshire Motor Speedway

LOUDON, N.H. – It was a feat on the list of unattained the accomplishments that Donny Lia finally got to check off the to-do list Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Donny Lia Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Lia, of Jericho, N.Y., won the pole in qualifying Friday for Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It was the first career pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Lia, a two-time series champion.

“I’ve wanted one bad here,” Lia said. “I’ve lost a few poles here by a couple thousandths [of a second] when I knew I had a bad lap. You know something where you got completely out of the gas in the corner and you know it cost you a tenth [of a second] and then you lose the pole by like a thousandth [of a second]. I’ve had that happen a couple times. I just wanted to win a pole here because this is a nice place to win anything.”

Lia, who also was fastest in the day’s only practice session for the division, toured the 1.058-mile oval in 29.352 seconds (129.763 mph).

It was the first pole of the season for Lia, who has 16 in his career in the series.

“It helps to build confidence, which is something we’ve been lacking a little bit from struggling all year,” Lia said. “The confidence is there, we know we have a good car. Now it’s just a matter of worrying about not dialing ourselves out.”

Series points leader Doug Coby of Milford was second fastest at 29.571 seconds (128.802 mph). Coby is looking to rebound from

After a stretch of seven consecutive races that saw him finish third or better – a span that included four victories – Coby came into Loudon with an 11th, a 13th and a 22nd in the most recent three events. Engine woes meant a finish of 22nd of 23 cars last Saturday at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway for Coby, cutting his points lead to nine over Ryan Preece and 19 over Ron Silk with three races left this season.

Coby has never won at New Hampshire. He was third in the July Town Fair Tire 100 at the track.

“It would be huge if we could win [Saturday],” Coby said. “It might correct some of these issues we’ve had in the past three races where we haven’t had great finishes. We’re coming down to three races left and between [me], [Ryan Preece] and [Ron Silk], it’s anybody’s game. You win and you get bonus points. The guy who finishes second is always going to finish at least five points behind the guy that wins. I’m definitely not points racing, I’d like to have a Loudon win under my belt. It certainly would be great to catapult us into a great points finish.”

Silk, the 2011 series champion and the winner of the event last year, was third in qualifying at 29.583 seconds (128.750 mph). Preece, of Berlin, coming off a victory last week at Riverhead, was fourth fastest.

Ted Christopher of Plainville, making his first start in Loudon in the Boehler Racing Enterprises ride, was fifth. Sprint Cup Series regular Ryan Newman was sixth fastest but crashed on his second lap of qualifying and will start at the rear of the field.

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