The 25th Season of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was one of the most competitive in recent memory as five drivers entered the final race of the season with a mathematical shot at the championship.
As the green flag dropped on the season finale at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on Oct. 25, however, it was a two-horse race for the 2009 crown between Donny Lia and Ryan Preece. The pair had an eventful season to get to that point, one that is sure to be memorable for both.
Lia captured the 2007 Whelen Modified Tour championship and parlayed his momentum to a ride in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series the following season. When things didn’t pan out for him to stay in the Truck Series for 2009, Bob Garbarino – the car owner he won the championship with two years earlier – welcomed him back for another title run.
After a season in the full-fendered Truck Series, Lia didn’t skip a beat as he finished third in the season-opener and reached Victory Lane for the first time in the fourth race of the year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.