Past Modified Champions Highlight Opening Weekend at Thompson Schneider, Lia, Evans to be Recognized DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 25, 2008) -- To kick off a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, NASCAR is recognizing a trio...
Past Modified Champions Highlight Opening Weekend at Thompson
Schneider, Lia, Evans to be Recognized
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 25, 2008) -- To kick off a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, NASCAR is recognizing a trio of NASCAR Modified titlists in the 2008 opener April 6 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
NASCAR plans to recognize each of its past Modified champions throughout the season. The celebration will begin with the honoring of Frankie Schneider, Donny Lia and the late Richie Evans at the season-opening Icebreaker.
Schneider, who captured the NASCAR Modified division title in 1952, is the oldest living champion. Lia became the 60th Modified champion in NASCAR history when he won his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title in 2007. Both champions will be in attendance and will be honored during the pre-race festivities.
In addition, NASCAR will recognize the accomplishments of Evans, one of the greatest champions in Modified history. Evans will be represented at the Icebreaker by family members, and one of his restored cars will be on hand for the event.
New Jersey's Schneider began racing in 1947, one year before the formation of NASCAR. A driver of modified, stock, sprint and midget cars, Schneider is believed to have won more than 750 races in his long and distinguished career. In the days where there were no limits to how many events a driver could participate, Schneider's Modified win total during his 1952 championship season is said to have reached 100.
Lia captured the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship in a storybook season. With five career wins entering 2007 driving his own equipment, Lia teamed up with longtime Modified owner Bob Garbarino to run the No. 4 "Mystic Missile." With the new partnership, Lia and Garbarino visited Victory Lane six times en route to the first NASCAR championship for both. A New York native, Lia parlayed his Modified success into a ride this year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
The king of Modified racing, Evans' accomplishments are nearly immeasurable. The Rome, N.Y., native captured nine Modified titles in a 13-year span, including a remarkable eight in a row from 1978-85. Evans ranked No. 1 in the 2003 voting of the "NASCAR All-Time Modified Top 10 Drivers," and he was included in "The 50 Greatest NASCAR Drivers of All Time" list in 1998. In the first year of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour format in 1985, Evans won 12 races, including all four events at Thompson. Evans had already clinched his ninth career title heading into the season's final race at Martinsville, but tragically perished in an accident during a practice session, cutting short a career that is unmatched still today.
Activities at the Icebreaker, the annual season-opener for NASCAR racing in New England, will commence on Saturday, April 5 with practice and qualifying. Pre-race ceremonies for the 150-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event on Sunday will start at approximately 2:45 p.m., with the green flag tentatively set to wave at 3:15 p.m. The grandstand open each day at 9:30 a.m., and one ticket will cover admission for both days. For a complete weekend schedule and ticket information, please visit Thompson's official Web Site (thompsonspeedway.com), and for more on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour visit www.NASCARHomeTracks.com.