ROC'n Concrete Rumble Notebook: Jim Storace Examined and Released
- Jim Storace was transported to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa. with pain in the shoulder and back following his crash in Sunday's Race of Champions event. He was released that evening after a thorough examination showed no fractures or internal injuries. He is recuperating from the bumps and bruises at home in Kingston, N.H. and hopes to return to racing as soon as possible.
- Wilbur Hebing's second place was special for car owner Ed McGuire of nearby Rome, Pa., who is recovering from multiple bypass surgery. Going back to his late model days of the 1970's, Ed's cars have always looked sharp, but the current machine takes race car graphics to another level. Playing off McGuire's traditional No. 51, the theme is a P-51 Mustang fighter plane in chrome silver with USAF markings and those bullet hole decals that look much more realistic on a modified than on the tailgate of a pickup.
Hebing said he and Chris Zacharias evolved the design, which Chris executed in vinyl. Wilbur Hebing, by the way, is the brother of sprint car star Chuck "The Cobra" Hebing.
- It wasn't a great day for Jan Leaty or Matt Hirschman, as both saw late-race moves to the front aborted by pit stops. Jan's son Mike Leaty managed a tenth place finish, but he pulled off a great outside pass to take the final redraw spot in his heat race. Then he pulled 10th out of 12 drivers in the redraw and fell behind with an early-race spin.
- The Race of Champions car count of 30 modifieds was a new record for Shangri-La II, breaking the previous mark of 26 set at the 2009 Fall Brawl. Several of the Saturday regulars sat this one out, since it was not a Shangri-La II points event, but most of them were at the track. Dean Rypkema was on hand in the role of car owner and saw Tony Hanbury win his second straight Sportsman Modified feature, and Danielle Buchek was at the pit gate operated by her grandfather, Joe Buchek Sr.
- While the Zacharias team did not run in the RoC event, things were plenty busy in their pit area as Jimmy and Chris debuted a pair of ASA Late Models. While younger fans may not be aware of the fact, the Zacharias name was first made famous at the original Shangri-La by "Mr. Jim" in the late model division with his string of gold No. 71 Buicks. Jim won four late model titles in the 1970's and was followed as champion of the full-bodied class by sons Rick and Chris.
Sunday's maiden voyage saw Jimmy Zacharias, Mr. Jim's grandson, lead the first nine laps before pitting. Chris came home fifth.
- Jason Waibel, the handicapper since Shangri-La II opened last July, has been promoted to the position of race director. In that role his responsibilities are expanded to include the coordination of all aspects of the event on race day.
The Waibel family have long been involved in racing around the Southern Tier. Jason's wife Maggie is the chief scorer and his father Ken is part of the scoring team at Shangri-La II.
- One of the most popular drivers in Southern Tier history was present on Sunday and received a rousing welcome when was introduced to the capacity crowd. Don Diffendorf was champion of the original Shangri-La in 1966 and raced for another decade or more. He usually ran No. S/360, taken from the model number of an early IBM computer. He's part of a very exclusive club as a champion both at Shangri-La on pavement and Five Mile Point on dirt.
- This Saturday's "Concrete Kicks Asphalt" event resumes the full ASA Member Track program with point races in all classes. Pit gates open at 12 noon and grandstand gates at 12:45 p.m. Hot laps are set for 1 p.m. and racing at 3 p.m. Feature distances are 35 laps for the Modifieds, 30 laps for the ASA Late Models, 25 laps for the Sportsman Modifieds, and 20 laps for the Street Stocks.