Donny Lia Returns To Second Home For Turkey Derby No. 18 Team Looks to Head Into Off Season With Back-to-Back Wins HUNTINGTON, NY (November 23, 2004) -- Thanksgiving is a time for many people to return to their roots no matter how successful...
Donny Lia Returns To Second Home For Turkey Derby
No. 18 Team Looks to Head Into Off Season With Back-to-Back Wins
HUNTINGTON, NY (November 23, 2004) -- Thanksgiving is a time for many people to return to their roots no matter how successful that they have been in the past year. Donny Lia is no exception to that philosophy. He'll be spending this weekend back at one of the tracks that launched his racing career just a few years ago.
Lia will be racing the #18 Lia Motorsports, Inc. car at Wall Township Speedway (NJ) in the Turkey Derby Modified race. He is very familiar with the track, since he split his rookie season in racing between running a Legends car there and at the Riverhead Raceway (NY).
"I consider Wall to be my second home track," said Lia. "In 1999, I raced there weekly during the second half of the season and we always ran well. We got two wins and several top-five finishes. It's my kind of race track.
"At Wall, you can drive a car hard into a corner and use the banking a lot. It's a good feeling to let the banking carry you around the track. You work the brake and work the throttle and get into a rhythm getting around there."
And sometimes the banking isn't the only thing that gets driven into hard at Wall.
"It's a small and tight racetrack, so there is no way not to make contact there," said Lia. "It's hard to pass. It might be the hardest track to pass on in the (NASCAR Modified) Series. There is a lot of contact with the Modifieds. In the Legends cars, you had to be careful and drive it like a true open wheeled car. The Mods have the big nerf bars and can go wheel-to-wheel a lot more."
Lia's team almost called it a season after the North-South Shootout earlier this month at Concord Motorsport Park (NC). Lia won that race and it was tempting to go into the winter on a winning note. However, there is one thing that could make the off-season even shorter for Lia and his team.
"We're going to try and close the season on a high note and to do that with two wins would be awesome," said Lia. "We're going to the Turkey Derby ready to win. I always wanted to go to this race, but it was up in the air depending on our equipment. We want to be ready to Florida Speedweeks and the start of the 2005 Whelen Modified Series season. We were able to get one of our cars re-clipped in a short amount of time, so that will allow us to go to this race. It's got a good payout and I want to be there. I wouldn't have been able to go down there and just watch."
Another reason that Lia wants to excel at Wall is because of a few rumors that flew after his Concord victory. He was so dominant in that race that a few naysayers accused his team of using traction control or some other form of illegal magic to go fast. Lia denies those accusations and is ready to start the rumors flying again.
"We want to go down to Wall and whip up on everyone again," said Lia. "That will get them talking."
Lia points out that his good runs have not been because of a magic formula, but due to the fundamentals of getting talented crew members to work well together.
"We have a young team, but a very experienced team," said Lia. "The crew chief and the car chief have been racing since they were kids. Each individual here has a lot of experience. I'm the least-experienced member of the team. We are somewhat new working together, but everyone has been doing this for a long time and it shows."
The Turkey Derby will take place on Saturday, November 27th.