Racing Engines Ready to Roar on the Ridge as Shangri-La II Sets Open Practice Days April 17 and 24; Concrete Duals Coming Saturday, May 1
An early morning walk across the grounds of Shangri-La II Motor Speedway, and its sister track, SkyView Drags, has been a peaceful experience since last October. Toward the horizon on the north stretch the hills and woods of Tioga County, while to the south lies the lush farmland of the Susquehanna Valley. If you look eastward at just the right spot, you can see the site of the original Shangri-La Speedway three miles away and understand how it got its name, and why legendary announcer Jim Beavan used to welcome the fans to "the garden spot of racing."
All that peace and tranquility is about to be shattered by the sound of racing engines preparing for the 2010 season at the Concrete Castle. Shangri-La II has scheduled a pair of open practice days before the season opening Concrete Duals on May 1. Weather permitting, the track will welcome competitiors in all classes on Saturday, April 17 and Saturday, April 24. Scheduled practice times are 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. each day.
A paved speedway is commonly described as "green" in the springtime, meaning the rubber ground into the surface the previous year has been washed away during the winter. Shangri-La's concrete surface still shows the signs of rubber put down durng the inaugural season of 2009, but only the drivers who push the pedal to the metal in the opening sessions will know how much of the grip put into the track has remained.
Last year's fastest lap timed by the AMB computer scoring system was 17.593 seconds, 102.313 mph, recorded appropriately by Modified track champion John Markovic. In the Sportsman Modified ranks, Tony Hanbury was quickest at 18.541 seconds, 97.082 mph.
The ASA Late Models were paced by Jim Lamoreaux at 18.803 seconds, 95.529 mph, while one-lap honors for the street stocks fell to Frank Chapman Jr. at 20.889 seconds, 86.166 mph. The other classes who raced at Shangri-La II in 2009, including Mini-Cup, Tobias SpeedSTR's, and dirt track style street stocks, were not equipped to use the AMB system.
Of course, practice times aren't always a guide to performance when the green flag drops on opening day. Some drivers may practice with a car that wouldn't make it past the inspectors on race day, while others may not want to show all they have until the money is on the line.
The moment of truth for Shangri-La II racers comes on Saturday, May 1, when the ASA Member Track hosts the Concrete Duals. Two feature races will be on tap for the Modifieds, Sportsman Modifieds, ASA Late Models, and Street Stocks to open Shangri-La II's second season. The Mothers' Day Delight program will follow on Saturday, May 8, before the long-awaited debut of New York's premier pavement modified tour, the Race of Champions Series, on Sunday, May 16, in the ROC'n Concrete Rumble. Another open practice day will precede the RoC event on Saturday, May 15.