LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — Following a season of success for Donny Lia that included a fourth place finish in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour point standings, change is on the horizon for the 38-year-old Jericho, New York native.
Lia confirmed to Race Chaser Online on Monday that he will not be returning to the Mark Sypher-owned No. 8 team on a full-time basis in 2017.
The veteran said that the decision has nothing to do with the new NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour merger, but instead is a personal one.
“I’ve decided not to race full-time anymore, it’s taking too much time from my two sons, Michael and Domenick Jr.,” Lia told Race Chaser Online. “With that being said, my car owner Mark Sypher wants to stop racing completely to focus full-time on his business.”
In 2016, Lia drove for Sypher and finished a season-best of second at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, coming just inches away from a victory. He scored five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes during the 17-race schedule driving the No. 8 Sypher Construction/Bardahl modified.
Lia also finished third on three different occasions this season, taking down podium finishes at Stafford Motor Speedway, Riverhead Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway.
His partnership with Sypher has spanned a total of two seasons, with another second-place effort at Loudon coming in 2015 as part of six top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
Prior to teaming with Sypher, Lia drove the famed Mystic Missile for Bob Garbarino from 2012-2014. His most recent victory on the tour came in 2013 at the Stafford Fall Final. He also won the 2007 and 2009 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championships driving for Garbarino as well.
Although he will not be racing full-time, Lia is still searching for a ride on the Tour for the 2017 season.
“I’ll be looking for a six-to-nine race deal for the coming year,” Lia said.
He also was quick to say that for both he and Sypher, the decision is not one based on anything that the Tour has done or will do in the future, in regards to the merger between North and South for 2017.
“Neither of our decisions has anything to do with the tour, just personal decisions,” Lia said.
Sypher was not immediately available for comment on Monday. This story will be updated with his comments.
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for both the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
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