Donny Lia Has the Ultimate Racer's Itinerary This Week Racer Has Three Mod Events Along With Pro Cup Test & Debut within Seven Days HUNTINGTON, NY (April 27, 2005) -- NASCAR Tour Modifieds, SK Modifieds, USAR Pro Cup cars--all in the span of a...
Donny Lia Has the Ultimate Racer's Itinerary This Week
Racer Has Three Mod Events Along With Pro Cup Test & Debut within Seven Days
HUNTINGTON, NY (April 27, 2005) -- NASCAR Tour Modifieds, SK Modifieds, USAR Pro Cup cars--all in the span of a few days. Sounds like the dream weekend for a race fan with a camper ready to go and a few beers sitting in the cooler, right?
Now Imagine doing all of this armed with a helmet and driver's suit instead of a program and scanner. Donny Lia doesn't have to. Then again, the young racer probably doesn't have much free time to think about it anyway.
Lia started his week on Sunday in the Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) with a day packed full of qualifying and racing his #18 Lia Motorsports NASCAR Modified. In between those two tasks, he had a 40-lap SK Modified race to run behind the wheel of the #47 Clorox/Wisk car.
Lia won the pole for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event, but had to bypass the traditional Bud Pole Award photo shoot to hop into the SK Modified for 40 laps of action.
Things didn't get off to a good start for Lia in that race. On just the third lap, a major wreck in turn one sent Lia's car airborne. The car was still drivable and the #47 team was able to get Lia back into the race at the tail end of the field.
"Those guys did a good job," said Lia. "I came in and they fixed it the best that they could. It helped that they built a really strong car. The fact that we could just put a wheel and tire on and get back out there was pretty good."
Lia got caught in another multi-car wreck a few laps later, but recovered to finish seventh.
"That was a fun race and I think that we could have made a lot more progress in it if we didn't have some problems. After we bent something in the rear of the car, we got real loose and we had something wrong with the motor. It had a few stumbles there. It would stop running than it would run, so we just got what we could there."
The next feature on the race card was the 200-lap Modified Tour race and Lia was right there for that. However, some early fireworks also soured his day in that race as well.
"The #1 [Rick Fuller] came down on me and got the right front. It toed it in pretty good. We came in and fixed it close enough. I wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to keep going. For a while, it wasn't too bad. We were riding along."
Towards the end of the feature, Lia was in the top five, but with older tires. He fell back a few spots with just a few laps to go in the race and that led to a gusty decision with only ten laps remaining.
"We had that late yellow and this racecar doesn't like caution laps," said Lia. "I knew that we would have been going back to the back when the race went green. We had two tires left, so even with a few laps left I thought that it would work out for us. I didn't realize how few laps of green we would have left."
The tires made Lia fast enough to pass cars, but a wild three-wide situation with three laps to go left Lia in a wreck that ended with a hard hit into the frontstretch wall. Lia's race was done and he was left with a finish of 15th.
"These are races of attrition," said Lia. "I guess that we could have ended up a lot worse if so many other people didn't have trouble before we did."
Lia then drove home to New York before catching an early morning flight to Virginia the next morning. On Monday, he tested a USAR Pro Cup car fielded by Rogers Motorsports at Lonesome Pine Speedway. The results of the test were promising, with Lia's laps within a stone's throw of the fastest car at the open test. Lia will return to run that car in Saturday's Hooters Pro Cup event at the track. It will be his debut in a full-bodied stock car of any type.
"I'm looking forward to this race," said Lia. ""I want to get as much experience as I can in any type of fendered racecar and Pro Cup is a great place to do that. My main thing right now is to get acclimated to this type of car and if we have a good finish on top of that, it's a plus."
The car that Lia drove was fresh off of a third-place finish in the Southern division of Pro Cup at Concord Motorsport Park (NC) last weekend with Brad Rogers behind the wheel. Having a top gun in Pro Cup helping Lia for his debut (which will take place in the Pro Cup Northern division) is a huge help."
"Brad Rogers and the Rogers family have been very helpful to me," said Lia. "I'm really looking forward to working with them this weekend."
But before that event, Lia also has another SK Modified race to run. He'll compete Friday night at Stafford again before going down south for the Saturday night USAR race.
Lia might be busy, but his #18 LMI team that fields his NASCAR Modified has a little down time ahead. With the Modified Tour not returning to action until the May 27th race at Stafford, the LMI team has some time to regroup.
"We are going to make sure our cars are right and everything is in order and ready to go," said Lia. "We've been chasing our new car this year. It hasn't been comfortable and I've had to drive it too hard. We'll work on that."