Jimmy Zacharias' Dream Season Brings Two Titles at Shangri-La II

jimz1Jimmy Zacharias had the kind of year at Shangri-La II Motor Speedway in 2010 that most drivers can only dream about. He won both the Modified and Sportsman Modified championships, clinching both before the final scheduled race.

In the Modifieds, he won five races and claimed the title by 36 points over Jim Storace. In the Sportsman, he took four regular season features to score a 96 point margin over JR Kent. He is the sixth member of his family to win a championship at a track called Shangri-La, following in the footsteps of grandfather Jim and uncles Rick, Bill, Chris, and RJ. Jimmy's brother TJ was a contender as well in 2010, finishing in the top six in both open wheel classes.

The total number of championships won by the Zacharias family at the Shangri-La tracks, old and new, is nearly two dozen. Of course, the family helped keep the original track alive during its final seasons by promoting it under the Tioga Motorsports Park banner.

Jimmy's father Terry had a solid driving career at the original Shangri-La, but never won a championship. He's been the force behind many of those titles as car owner and crew chief, however, including both of Jimmy's in 2010.

Read more: Jimmy Zacharias' Dream Season Brings Two Titles at Shangri-La II

   

Travis Fisher Hangs Tough for ASA Late Model Title

travis_fisher1Three of the four weekly division titles at Shangri-La II Motor Speedway were locked up, practically if not mathematically, before the final point race of the season. Not so the ASA Late Models, where the championship battle went down to the last lap of the last race before Travis Fisher of Fern Glen, Pa. edged out defending champion Jim Lamoreaux by the slimmest margin possible, just two points. It was so close that race director Jason Waibel rechecked his arithmetic before making the call.

Fisher, whose father Larry was a late model contender in the inaugural year of the Concrete Castle but raced only once this season, benefited from the presence of Brad Smales as crew chief. Long time fans will recall Smales as the 1984 late model champion at the original Shangri-La Speedway, and real old timers will remember the potent No. 41 modifieds fielded by Brad's father Cal Smales from his South Montrose shop in the 1970's. Brad later made a name for himself as a top competitor at the Jennerstown Speedway in western Pennsylvania, running against nationally-known late model stars like Steve Peles and Glenn Gault every week.

Read more: Travis Fisher Hangs Tough for ASA Late Model Title

   

Street Stock Champion Lee Sharpsteen Dominated Shangri-La II in 2010

lee_sharpsteenIf you are a Sharpsteen racing in the Southen Tier, you are expected to win. Lee Sharpsteen kept the name of the Chemung family flying high during the 2010 Steet Stock season at Shangri-La II Motor Speedway as he won the Street Stock championship by a commanding margin of 126 points over Billy Coyle. His No. 8 Chevy Monte Carlo won four features with four second places and one third. The only points race where he was not scored in the top three was the season opener, where he finished sixth in the combined standings of two races,

The seeds of Sharpsteen's 2010 success were planted in the final two races of 2009, when Lee, owner Mike McDonald, and crew chief Dan Wheaton debuted their new car with its purple paint job. Lee had spent the inaugural season at the Concrete Castle in the Sportsman Modified class, where he took fourth in points. He wasn't really competitive for feature wins and he was up against better-financed tams, so when the new full-body machine proved competitive vright off the trailer, it wasn't hard to make his plans for 2010.

Lee didn't win until the Fourth of July weekend, but he was already in the thick of the point race and he would go on to win four of the last six races to pull away from the field. On Labor Day weekend, he started fifth in the feature lineup and took the lead on the first lap in a dominating performance. In a class noted for racing as a contact sport, Sharpsteen avoided major damage all season. "We didn't even bend a wheel," he said.

While circumstances can change rapidly in stock car racing, Lee Sharpsteen cureently expects to be back in action with the same team in 2011, defendng his Shangri-La II Motor Speedway Street Stock title.

Lee Sharspteen and the rest of Shangri-La II's 2010 track champions will be honored at the second annual Awards Banquet set for Friday, January 28, 2011 at The McKinley in Endicott.

   

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