Sources: Former Whelen Mod Tour Champ Testing Ole Blue Boehler Racing Ride At Seekonk

The Boehler Racing Enterprises Ole Blue car (Photo: NASCAR)

As iconic rides in Modified racing go, there are fewer bigger than the No. 3 Ole Blue ride and the No. 4 Mystic Missile ride.

Donny Lia spent five seasons running the legendary Bob Garbarino owned Mystic Missile on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

The Jericho, N.Y. driver won Whelen Modified Tour titles in 2007 and 2009 for Garbarino. He also drove for the team from 2012-2014.

After four years away from Modified racing, could the 43-year old Lia, a 17-time Whelen Modified Tour race winner, be looking for a comeback in another iconic ride?

Multiple sources confirmed to RaceDayCT that Lia is behind the wheel of the Boehler Racing Enterprises No. 3 car today for a private test session at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway.

Lia’s last Whelen Modified Tour start came on Sept. 23, 2017 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He finished fourth that day in the F.W. Webb 100 driving for team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr.

Team owner Mike Boehler was not available for comment on Wednesday morning.

Lia’s last Whelen Modified Tour victory came driving for Garbarino in the Fall Final 150 at Stafford on Sept. 29, 2013.

The Boehler Racing Enterprises team parted ways with driver Matt Swanson late last month after three and a half seasons together.

Rumors have swirled that Lia has contacted multiple team owners recently about the possiblity of driving in 2022. In addition to his exploits on the Whelen Modified Tour Lia made 39 starts with the Camping World Truck Series from 2007-2010. He ran two Truck events in 2007, 22 in 2008 and 15 in 2010. His lone Truck Series win came on May 24, 2008 at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway.

Donny Lia (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


  1. WOW , Put another log in the HOT STOVE ,…… Winter looks quite Interesting .. Lia is a proven Winner on the TOUR. He was always pretty impressive before going to the Trucks….. Very Interesting……. Good scoop Shawn….

  2. Hmmm…. I wonder who else will be auditioning? Who is looking for a ride?

    I’ve always wondered why Lia doesn’t run his own operation. He ran the #18 as his own operation for a bit.

  3. Awesome, good luck ole blue ,cant wait !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Anyone who can finish a race at Stafford on 3 wheels should be considered a talent. It should be great to see Lia in ole Blue

  5. It would be nice to see Lia back in a Modified. I can get behind this combination. Hopefully something works out between the two.

  6. Any rumors on the horizon yet of new teams joining the tour for 2022?

  7. Any rumors on the horizon yet of new teams joining the tour full time for 2022?

  8. Ted,
    The only new full-time team for 2022 that I know of will be the No. 79 team with Jon McKennedy.

  9. I remember Lia as being really tough on equipment. Drives very deep into corners. Frequently, I saw him use 8 wheels instead of 4 going into turns 3&4 at Thompson.
    See what develops (if anything) I guess.

  10. You want to race do you then “show me the money”! No problem there it’s Donny Lia of the Lia Auto Group.
    His last 5 NWMT races before being replaced by Pitkat in 2017; crash, crash, crash, engine DNF and running. Except for 2017 and 2014 mostly kept the wheels on the cars he drove.
    Selling cars is boring. Driving race cars is exciting. Redemption for his inauspicious exit may be just the ticket.
    Run Donny run!

  11. Shawn how about Silk’ s New team or haven’t they made a decision as to what they’re doing

  12. Elect,
    Yes you’re right. It is my understanding that the HYR team intends to run full time.

  13. So with Lia possibly taking over this ride does this mean Doug Coby is going to keep his team together and just bring in an ownership partner to help with the bills??

  14. Joe M,
    I guess I missed the news about how Doug Coby’s only options for 2022 were to drive for BRE or drive for his own team.

  15. Doug, Donny has very little to do with the Lia Auto Group, it’s owned by his brother I believe.

  16. Donny Lia lists himself as:

    Lia Motor Group South
    Honda Of New Rochelle
    Garden State Honda
    Huntington Honda
    New Rochelle Toyota
    Mazda Of New Rochelle
    Mazda Of Palm Beach
    South Shore CDJR
    Nissan Of Yorktown Heights
    North Coast Subaru

    Simple Google search is all it takes.


    I was being glib, let me rephrase.
    All this is, is a test. It doesn’t mean much of anything regardless of what Donny Lia does for his day job.
    However if he is a highly successful New York State car dealership owner with substantial resources he could bring to local racing. And if he were to form a partnership with BRE or any other tour modified team to run NWMT races or any other tour modified events for that matter it would be a very good thing for tour modified fans as well as BRE in my view.
    How’s that?

  18. I’ll buy that Doug, because money talks.
    So if Lia brings enough dough, someone will give him a ride. That’s the way it is at this level and, well, all levels.
    And how could it be bad to to have another quality team on the tour?
    So, if the test results are favorable, maybe something happens. Or maybe Lia doesn’t have it anymore. Test and time may tell.

  19. Lia motor group and Lia auto group are two different company’s

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