Reward Driven: Donny Lia On Pole For Whelen Modified Tour Fall Final At Stafford Speedway

STAFFORD – The confidence was hard for Donny Lia to hide Saturday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Donny Lia celebrates his pole for the Whelen Modified Tour Fall Final Saturday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Donny Lia celebrates his pole for the Whelen Modified Tour Fall Final Saturday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Lia knows he’s been on the edge of late finding the win column this season on the Whelen Modified Tour, and the Jericho, N.Y. driver figures his showing on Saturday made the statement he needed to make that he’s the driver to beat on Sunday.

Lia, of Jericho, N.Y., won the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour CarQuest Fall Final 150 At Stafford Motor Speedway.

Lia said he’s ready to shake the frustration of having a car capable of winning, but not finishing the deal. On Aug. 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway Lia had what looked like the best car in the field before an accident ruined his day. Last Saturday in the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Lia lost the lead on the final lap and was relegated to a third place finish.

“Lose at Bristol, lose at New Hampshire, we’ve had one of the fastest cars over the last five or six races,” Lia said. “At this point it’s just a matter of winning races and winning poles. We’ve given a lot away this year. You have to start somewhere so this is the weekend. We just left everybody know what the deal is, that this is the best car here.”

Lia toured the half-mile oval at Stafford in 18.295 seconds (98.388 mph) during qualifying Saturday at Stafford to record his second pole of the season.

Lia said it’s more frustrating to have a fast car and not win than be struggling to get up with the frontrunners.

“We were out to lunch and we did the hard work and we got to where we needed to be, but we’re not getting the rewards from it, so it’s definitely frustrating,” Lia said. “But things could always be worse. That’s why I have to look at it every weekend. I’ve had periods in my career where we’ve gone through spells of really really bad luck so I know what worse is and it’s not that bad now. We’re still having a good time.”

Lia was able to snap the perfect 2013 qualifying streak of Bobby Santos III at Stafford in Whelen Modified Tour competition. Santos had won the poles for all three previous Modified Tour events at Stafford this year. Santos, of Franklin, Mass., was second to Lia Saturday with a qualifying lap of 18.299 seconds (98.366 mph).

Series points leader Ryan Preece of Berlin will start third for what could be a huge day in his career. Preece comes into the Fall Final with a 41-point lead over second place Doug Coby in the standings. Preece needs to leave Stafford with a 48 point lead over Coby to clinch his first series title. Coby, who won the most previous Whelen Modified Tour event at Stafford on Aug. 2, will start ninth.

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