DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR — Getty Images for NASCAR photo — The longest consecutive starts streak in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour history will come to an end as Mystic Missile Racing announced today the No. 4 Dodge will not attend the upcoming Sept. 13 event at Riverhead Raceway.
Team owner Bob Garbarino said that the decision to not participate in the Riverhead 200 is based solely upon trying to break the team’s run of bad luck this season. His No. 4 entry, driven by Donny Lia, has been unable to finish six of the 10 tour races this year, including five of the last six. Four were due to accidents and two the result mechanical failures.
“Hopefully we’re just going to break the chain of bad luck, that’s really all there is to it,” Garbarino said. “We’ve got to find a way to get rid of this. We’ve got to do something to shake ourselves up here.”
Garbarino has fielded a modified in NASCAR competition since 1962. Known for its distinct yellow color and the v4 on the door, the “Mystic Missile” has been piloted by a number of notable modified drivers through the years including Jerry Marquis, Satch Worley, Geoff Bodine, Eddie Flemke Sr., Bugsy Stevens and Leo Cleary. Lia gave Garbarino his first NASCAR championship in 2007.
Over the last eight seasons, Lia, Chuck Hossfeld and Bobby Santos have driven the Mystic Missile, compiling 19 wins and three tour championships.
“We’re just doing it to see if we can shake this monkey,” Garbarino said. “This will be the first race I’ve ever missed, but we’ve got to do something.”
Garbarino has participated on the Whelen Modified Tour since it was established in 1985, and his No. 4 has started in every race since the beginning of the 1989 season.
Mystic Missile Racing will return to Whelen Modified Tour competition with the F.W. Webb 100 on Sept. 20 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Despite today’s withdraw of the No. 4 team, it is anticipated that the Riverhead 200 will feature the largest entry list of the season. More than 30 cars are expected to vie for 28 starting positions in the Whelen Modified Tour’s second and final visit of the year to the venerable quarter-mile oval on New York’s Long Island.