NASCAR: Rookie Lia wins first truck race
Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 24, 2008
MANSFIELD, Ohio ó Donny Lia became the first rookie in five years to win a Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday, using a last-lap pass to take the Ohio 250.
Lia got by leader David Starr in the second turn of the 250th lap around the 0.5-mile oval. He, Starr and 2006 series champion Todd Bodine ran side-by-side down the backstretch before Lia pulled his Chevrolet ahead to edge Starr by 0.241 seconds for his first victory in his eighth series start.
Starr, who had his Toyota in front since the 80th lap, was bidding to end a 52-race winless streak that dates to 2006.
Lia, NASCAR’s 2007 Whelen Modified Tour champion, became the first rookie to win on the circuit since August 2003, when current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor Carl Edwards won in Nashville.
“I used everything I had there at the end and I couldn’t have driven it any harder,” said Lia, who started 28th ó farthest back of any Mansfield winner. “We just got them on the restarts and got them where we had to get them. We just did everything right today, my crew (and) everybody.”
The 27-year-old from Jericho, N.Y., averaged 62.517 mph for the 250-lap, 125-mile race. He became the 10th driver ó and first since 2006 ó to lead only the final lap of the race.