Donny Lia, Jake Johnson To Share Seat For Full-Time Ole Blue Effort On Whelen Modified Tour In 2022

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

The worst kept secret around since the fall has been the likely return of former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Donny Lia to the series for 2022.

On Tuesday Boehler Racing Enterprises owner Mike Boehler confirmed the details regarding the return of Lia to Modified racing for the 2022 season.

Lia will make his first appearance in the Boehler Racing Enterprises entry for the April 1 Whelen Modified Tour event at Richmond (Va) Raceway.

It will be the first of six Whelen Modified Tour events for Lia with the team in 2022. Lia tested with Boehler Racing Enterprises last November at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway.

“It’s great to have him come back,” Boehler Racing Enterprises owner Mike Boehler told RaceDayCT. “I’ve known him for over 20 years, since he started in Modifieds. I became friendly with him. He just has an awesome track record. Fast everywhere he goes. He did a great job in the test we had at Seekonk. I just can’t wait. I’m real excited to get him back in the car. And I know he’s excited too. I think he’s wanted to do this for a while but it was just a matter of with who and when was the right time.”

Lia will also run the Whelen Modified Tour events for the team at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway (May 28), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 16), Thompson Speedway (Aug. 17 and Oct. 8) and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 27.

Lia won Whelen Modified Tour championships in 2007 and 2009 driving for team owner Bob Garbarino. Lia has 17 career Whelen Modified Tour victories. He made 191 series starts over 16 seasons starting in 2001. 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. Lia’s last Whelen Modified Tour victory came driving for Garbarino in the Fall Final 150 at Stafford on Sept. 29, 2013.

In addition to the Whelen Modified Tour events, Lia will also run for Boehler Racing Enterprises in the Modified Racing Series event at the Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on April 16 and in the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series event at Stafford Speedway on Sept. 24.

Jake Johnson will fill out the rest of the Whelen Modified Tour schedule for Boehler Racing Enterprises to allow the team to run for the owner’s championship.

Johnson will run all three events at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway (May 14, June 25, Sept. 17) and events at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. (May 21), Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. (June 18), Wall (N.J.) Stadium (July 9), Claremont (N.H.) Speedway (July 29), Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. (Aug. 27) and Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway on Sept. 3. Johnson is also planning to run all seven events on the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series with a family owned team.

“It’s been a lot of time and effort to put this together, but it feels good, it feels right,” Boehler said. “Everybody is excited. It’s three different perspectives on the car for us, that’s the way I look at it. … Everybody gets along good. Jake has already come down to the shop. Everybody is clinging good. I’ve known Donny forever.”

Ryan Preece ran the first Whelen Modified Tour event of season at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway for Boehler Racing Enterprises on Feb. 12. Boehler said Preece is still scheduled to run the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford on April 24 for his team.


  1. Fast Eddie says

    Surprising that Lia won’t be running at Riverhead and Wall, isn’t that where he started? Great opportunity for Johnson though, maybe prepping for being the full time driver? It will be interesting watching this one play out, hope it works well for all involved.

  2. Great news.

    Gotta see me some Ole’ Blue this year.

    Can never get enough Ole’ Blue.

    🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦

  3. Suitcase Jake says

    Great news…. Lia is back & Jake Johnson is getting a shot also… After Johnson got a good finish at Seekonk … I speculated at the time that Hot Shoe Jake maybe could get a ride in the # 3 Old Blue seeing that His Family Own’s Propane Plus and a Sponsor on OLD BLUE and live close by Freetown it really made sense if Jake wanted to continue driving Modifieds… He has a brand new Modified He raced at Seekonk and Surprised many Fans with a Top 3 finish … Probably will race His Car at Tri- Track Shows…. Lia was always impressive in Modifieds , He knows how to Win and takes care of His Equipment to get to the Finish… Hopefully OLD BLUE can get back to Victory Lane where they Belong…..

  4. Lia I think brings serious funds to the effort. Bodes well for success.

  5. Great news for Boehler racing and Old Blue. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with three different drivers providing input into the car. Should be a plus however could be somewhat confusing based on each drivers ability and perspective.

    Good luck guys and get-er-done!

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