FMS: Donny Lia 2004 season review

Donny Lia Captures Season-Long Bud Pole Award For Mod Series Four Pole Positions Are The Result of a Quality Team Says Lia HUNTINGTON, NY (10/20/04) - In just their second full season of NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series competition, Donny Lia...

Donny Lia Captures Season-Long Bud Pole Award For Mod Series
Four Pole Positions Are The Result of a Quality Team Says Lia

HUNTINGTON, NY (10/20/04) - In just their second full season of NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series competition, Donny Lia and his #18 Lia Motorsports, Inc. team were the quickest of the quick in 2004. By qualifying on the outside pole position in Sunday's season finale at Thompson Speedway (CT), Lia clinched the year's Bud Pole Award for having the most fastest laps in qualifying over the 19-race schedule. Lia had a total of four Bud Pole Awards.

The team were late bloomers when it came to earning the award. Lia's first pole position of the season did not until come until July at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME), which was nine events into the year. From that point on, he went on a tear, winning poles at Seekonk Speedway (MA) and in the two races at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT).

"When my crew chief Kevin Crowley and I sat down at the beginning of the season, did we make this a goal?" asked Lia. "No, we just wanted to come out here and run well, be competitive and learn how each other worked."

Crowley joined the #18 team before the start of 2004 and his impact was immediately felt.

"Right from the get-go, we really communicated well," said Lia. "We had a good understanding for each other and I just knew that we could do some good things. The ironic thing was that the first time we spoke on the phone, we basically agreed with each other that we could come out together and win poles and win races.

"I know it was optimism, but I believed it. We got along right away. For some reason, there was chemistry there just talking about this season on the phone."

Lia is very modest when it comes to taking credit for the Bud Pole Award. He prefers to point to his team as the reason for their success.

"I'm so proud of this whole team. I'm not going to take the credit. I put some people together that worked out, but that could be called blind luck. After that, it's all these guys. They make the difference."

A combination of a fast race car and a great driver wins pole positions. Lia credits his team with not just giving him a good car, but allowing him to be a better driver.

"I don't know what the ratio of car-to-driver out there is when someone does well. I don't think anyone can put a number on that. I just know that when we show up at the racetrack, all that I focus on is driving. I can put more towards that job and maybe more than the guy parked next to me."

One area where the team helps Lia as a driver is by giving him confidence in the car under him.

"Our corner speeds are faster than just about anything out there. If something goes wrong, you can get hurt. That's not on my mind because I know what I've got. Everything that we are doing to the car is not an issue on my mind. These guys give me a clear head to go out there and drive the racecar. I can steer the steering wheel and work the pedals. I don't have to worry about anything else and that's because of the guys that I have around me."

"There are teams here that have been working for years to get the chemistry that we have," said Lia. "Starting out this year, we were basically a brand new team. This race team was completely different last year at the World Series. Everything about it was different."

With the combination that Lia and his crew share, the driver is not looking at going anyplace else at all.

"There are a lot of good cars that might become available this year," said Lia. "But I have no desire to leave these guys. I'm not interested. A lot of times, it seems like an easier deal to just be the driver, but I know that I can't go anywhere and have what I have here. It's impossible. There are a lot of good times out there and I'm not trying to insult them in any way, but I believe in these guys right here."

Lia will next compete in the second annual North vs. South Modified Shootout at Concord Motorsport Park (NC) on November 5 & 6.

-www.DonnyLia.com.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Donny Lia