Jan Leaty Aims To Complete The Circle When The Race Of Champions Modified Tour Visits Shangri-La II For Sunday's ROC'n Concrete Rumble
History will always show that Jan Leaty won the final Race of Champions tour modified race at the original Shangri-La Speedway on August 25, 2005. That 200-lapper was the last race ever run at the historic track down in the valley.
Now another Race of Champions event is at hand in Tioga County, and the veteran Williamson, N.Y. driver would like nothing better than to complete the circle with another victory lane celebration, this one on the concrete of Shangri-La II Motor Speedway, George Swansbrough's new facility on top of the ridge three miles away. Jan and his son Mike Leaty were both top-five finishers in the 2009 RoC series standings and both will be in the field for the 75 lap ROC'n Concrete Rumble on Sunday, May 16.
Jan, who won the 1982 Late Model championship and the 1989 Modified title at the old track, admits he has never set foot on the new speedway. Several members of his family race team have, and he's studied it through the internet. "I've gone to some websites and I've watched a couple of videos from there on YouTube," he explained. "While it has more banking, it really looks a lot like the old track in shape and size," he added. He's right, although Shangri-La II is a full, measured half-mile, while the old track was a few yards short of that mark.
Leaty's only experience with a concrete racing surface is in the turns at Martinsville Speedway, which were concreted many years ago to keep the two-ton Winston Cup cars of the 1960's from tearing the asphalt apart on a hot day. "There didn't seem to be much difference between the two surfaces there," he noted, pointing out that he won't really know about Shangri-La II until he hits the track. To find out, he and Mike will take advantage of the open practice session on Saturday. "We've always had a lot of fans down there, so we're going to camp at the track for the weekend," he explained.
With the practice day, Shangri-La II's weekly ASA Member Track classes racing on Sunday, and a big field of RoC Modifieds expected, the track should take plenty of rubber during the weekend. Jan Leaty would like to see that happen. "I hope the outside groove comes in," he declared, "because I'd like to run up there."
Pit gates open for the ROC'n Concrete Rumble on Sunday, May 16 at 8:30 a.m. and grandstand gates at 10:30. The first practice hits the track at 11:00 a.m. and ends promptly at 12:30. Race time is 1:15 p.m. following opening ceremonies. The ASA Late Models, Sportsman Modifieds, Street Stocks, and INEX Legends will complete the afternoon's racing card. For more information, visit shangrila-2.com or call the track at 607-330-2622.