Lia Makes it Two in a Row on Mod Tour with Thompson Victory This Victory Doesn't Come Easy After Mid-Race Spin JERICHO, NY (September 4, 2009) -- When Donny Lia won the last time out on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, it didn't come easy. He...
Lia Makes it Two in a Row on Mod Tour with Thompson Victory
This Victory Doesn't Come Easy After Mid-Race Spin
JERICHO, NY (September 4, 2009) -- When Donny Lia won the last time out on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, it didn't come easy. He was at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) and had to work his way from a starting position in the bottom half of the top ten, fight a tough track, and then battle with defending WMT champion Ted Christopher to take the lead and go on to win the race.
On Thursday night at Thompson International Speedway (CT), Lia had to repeat those steps again to win the race. This time, though, made Bristol seem like a cakewalk. That is because Lia had the added task of battling back through the field after he spun while battling with Christopher for the lead less than 50 laps from the finish.
After contact with Christopher's #36 sent him lightly into the turn-one wall at Thompson, Lia wasn't mad. He just wanted to win the race, and sheer determination on his part made that into a reality.
"I was pretty determined," said Lia. "I don't blame him totally [for the spin]. I kind of came down a little bit. He was going to send it in there, and I sent it in there. I didn't really put the blame on him. It was just hard racing. I did want to get back to him and get back in front of him to win the race. I knew that we had a car to win the race.
"I was on a mission to come through the field. [I was] a little angry. Even though I didn't totally blame him, I was still angry. Usually I don't just blatantly dive-bomb people, but I was seeing red and I was on a mission.
"I was just going on with everything I could. That was all that I had there. I raced with everything I had. It wasn't easy. It was as easy as it could be because that car was just awesome. It was just perfect."
A few well-timed late race caution periods helped Lia's cause to march through the field.
"We had an awesome racecar," said Lia. "We were just really good around other cars...the best car I've ever had around other cars. So when the yellow came out, I knew we had a chance."
Before his spin, Lia had already led 36 laps. When he went around though, Lia refused to give up hope of going on to win. As soon as he realized that he didn't hit the wall hard, Lia was so determined that he did not even stop in the pits.
"I had it saved and then it hooked back up to the fence," said Lia. "Luckily, I just hit it with the front bumper and not the wheels. If I hit with the wheels, it would have been all done. To get spun out going into turn one at Thompson and not have to put a clip on it is a good day whether you win or not.
"I knew we were okay. We didn't hit a wheel or anything. I didn't want to give up any more track position than I had to. There were still a few cars behind me, so that was it. I just went for it."
With the back-to-back victories, Lia, who won the 2007 WMT championship, now moves in the third position of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings. He is still ranked behind Christopher's #36 team and the #2 team of Todd Szegedy, but he isn't worried. In fact, Lia knows that winning a championship isn't completely in his control. He just wants to win more races and let things fall as they will.
"I'm glad that we've gotten back to winning races like we did in '07. I think that we've figured some stuff out now, and we are going to be strong from now until the end of the year."
"I think that we could be a factor, but I've got to hand it to Teddy for finishing second. He just keeps finishing on my bumper and that makes it hard to make up any ground. All we can do is win races and however those guys end up is how it is going to fall. It's just tight. Us, the #2 and the #36 are tightly matched wherever we go."
The next race for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will take place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19th.