Breakthrough: Donny Lia Scores First Whelen Modified Tour Victory Of Season In Fall Final 150 At Stafford

Donny Lia celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Fall Final 150 Sunday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Donny Lia celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Fall Final 150 Sunday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NASCAR)

STAFFORD – It was a day of shaking mounting frustrations for Donny Lia at Stafford Motor Speedway.

For much of the second half of the season Donny Lia has regularly been in contention for victories on the Whelen Modified Tour, only to come up short event after event.

That theme reached a crescendo on Sept. 21 in the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when Lia was passed for the lead in turn three on the final lap and had to settle for a third place finish.

After winning the pole Saturday at Stafford Motor Speedway, Lia made it clear that there was no other option for the team but winning at the half-mile oval.

Lia, of Jericho, N.Y., backed up that declaration in dominant fashion Sunday.

Lia led all but three laps on the day in cruising to victory in the Whelen Modified Tour CarQuest Fall Final 150 at Stafford Speedway.

It was the first victory of the season for Lia, a two-time series champion.

After the race Lia put the competition on notice to expect more domination in the season finale at Thompson International Speedway on Oct. 20.

“We had a really good car all weekend and we’ve had a really good car the last four or five races,” Lia said. “Like I told you guys [before the race], enough’s enough. This car had to be in victory lane and that is where it is. And it’s pretty much where it’s going to be at Thompson in a couple weeks too. The [No. 4] car is back. These guys can all get in their million dollar trucks and go down the road and think about how they just got their asses whipped by the [No. 4] car again.”

Doug Coby of Milford was second and Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. third.

“[The car] was perfect all day,” Lia said. “It really stayed the same all day. We didn’t make any changes. The guys had an awesome pit stop. You can’t ask for a better day really. I’m glad everything went well with everything we’ve been through the last couple months. That’s probably win three or four, or should have been. But it’s one. That’s alright.

“We’re the best car every week. It might not be totally noticeable, but we are. When you’re the best car every week and you’re not winning, it’s frustrating. I just drove 110 percent every lap. I wanted to lap the field.”

It was the first victory for Lia and his Bob Garbarino owned Mystic Missile team since Aug. 9 2012 at Thompson Speedway.

“We’ve struggled,” Lia said. “We started the year and we struggled. We struggled last year. We keep putting the pieces together and throwing stuff at it every week and right now we’ve got a really good combination. We’ve been really good. Right now it’s the best it’s been. I’ve just got to thank the guys. It feels really good to win one of these races again, it’s been a while.”

Coby’s second place finish, coupled with a 17th place finish by Ryan Preece left Coby with a slim glimmer of hoping for winning a second consecutive Whelen Modified Tour title. Preece, of Berlin, will take a 26-point lead in the standings to the final race at Thompson.

“Donny’s car was ridiculous today,” Coby said. “It was just awesome. I think I kind of had a winning car, we were six seconds ahead of third and he was still three seconds ahead of me.”

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