August 11 - Concrete Kicks Asphalt
(Tioga Center, NY) - Racing action on the fast ½-mile concrete oval that is Shangri-la II Motor Speedway was contested on a beautiful "Concrete Kicks Asphalt" Saturday night. When it was over a pair of drivers celebrated repeat wins while another pair celebrated career-first wins in their divisions. Jimmy Zacharias (Candor, NY) got win #7 in the Sportsman Modified division and it was #2 this year for ASA Late Model driver Scott Nurmi (Lakeview, NY). Maine, NY's Chris Zacharias, who had won previously in the Late Models, scored his first in the Street Stocks. And it was a career-first Shangri-la II win for 4 Cylinder ace Frank Morich from Horseheads, NY. With the season winding down the championship chases are very much on the minds of many. The battles continue this Saturday on Family Fun Night.
Jimmy Zacharias swept the action in the Sportsman Modified division after winning his 8th heat race and 7th feature of the year, division-leading in both. His feature win Saturday night came after a hard fought battle with Tony Hanbury, winner of the other heat race. Early on in the 25-lap feature pole-sitter Tyler Rypkema led the way with Zack Curren running 2nd. Behind him it was TJ Zacharias, Jimmy Zacharias and John Wilber running together in a battle for 3rd. Jimmy got around the pair and then took over 2nd from Curren. The first caution came out on lap 7 when Matt Clemens stopped in turn 4. Officials assessed a 1-spot penalty on Curren for contact with J. Zacharias, which created a Rypkema/J. Zacharias front row. The pair stayed alongside each other, but Zacharias completed the pass and had the race lead at lap 9. That lap was also pivotal for John Wilber. The point leader's #4 started smoking and he retired from the race. The 2nd, and final, caution came out as the field was running lap 12. Tyler Rypkema spun and officials sent Curren to the rear for his involvement. Hanbury, up to 2nd, lined up beside Zacharias for the restart. It was Zacharias who prevailed and led the field off turn 2. Hanbury stayed right with him over the next several laps, while TJ Zacharias and Jody Buckley had a battle going for 3rd. Over the final 5 laps Zacharias increased his advantage and sailed across the start/finish line first. Hanbury finished behind him on this night, with Buckley, TJ Zacharias and Curren rounding out the top 5. "This car is awesome here, I have my family and our sponsors to thank for that," Zacharias told the crowd. He also praised Tyler Rypkema, a young rookie who's learning a ton from experienced drivers.
In ASA Late Model action the 2012 season is boiling down to a 2-man race for the title, with Jim Lamoreaux and Jerry Dineen as contenders. Dineen did what he had to do and won the heat race, but Lamoreaux did what he needed as well and finished 2 spots ahead of him in the feature. Scott Nurmi, meanwhile, did what he came to do and won the 20-lap caution-free race. At the drop of the green both Dineen and Lamoreaux got around Brad Smales and Billy Coyle and they pulled away. Lamoreaux took a peek to the inside off turn 4 on the 6th lap, stayed there, but both left side tires dropped onto the paved apron in turn 1 where he completed the pass. That's when he learned that concrete truly does kick asphalt. Drivers doing that are assessed a 1-position penalty. For most of the race it appeared Lamoreaux, clearly the fastest car, was the leader. Scott Nurmi powered his way around Dineen, who then lost 3rd to Glenn Lippolis in the late stages of the race. For Nurmi it was win #2, this time finishing ahead of Lamoreaux, Lippolis, Dineen and Billy Coyle.
There's no question that McDonald/Sharpsteen Racing has upped the ante in the Street Stock division. Driver Chris Zacharias and car owner Brian Nalepa recognized what needed to be done to finish first. Lady luck, however, had intervened and prevented Chris from winning. Until Saturday night, that is. The 25-lap feature had trouble getting started, with several cautions sending cars to the pits with flat tires following contact. Heat winner Jason Duke, Sr. led early on but he slowed in turn 2 and a flat tire spoiled his evening. A lap later Lee Sharpsteen slowed for the same reason. While working lap 6 Bob Ripley tagged the backstretch wall but he stayed in the gas and came down the track into Gil Sharpsteen. He spun and collected Jeff Goodwin, who had nowhere to go. Ripley was able to continue but the others were done for the night and heavily damaged. On the restart Zacharias got around both Hank Buchanan and leader Charlie Sharpsteen, building up a 2.6 second lead at the halfway point. Ripley's troubles continued on lap 16 when he caught the turn 2 wall after Dusty Snell spun in front of him. Over the final 10 laps most eyes were on the battle for 2nd between Charlie and Lee Sharpsteen, with the pair often running side by side. Lee got the spot, only to lose it on the final lap to his older brother. Chris Zacharias, meanwhile, cruised to his first win at Shangri-la II in two years. Charlie edged Lee for 2nd, with Buchanan and Gary Noe rounding out the top 5. "The Sharpsteens challenged all of us to beat them, and all of us are better for it," Zacharias said from victory lane. "Brian and I have worked on this car a ton and I think it showed tonight." Lee Sharpsteen won the other heat race. The results were still unofficial as of Sunday, August 12th, pending further tech.
Frank Morich took over the 4 Cylinder points lead a week ago. Saturday night he earned his career-first win at the fast ½-mile, ending the 2012 victory lane domination by the brothers Ameigh. Brandon Ameigh won the heat race but Jeff Ameigh failed to start the 12-lap feature. Morich got to the inside of B. Ameigh in turn 3 and led from lap 5 on. His first win was a long time coming. "I've waited 3 years for this. Those guys are tough and I couldn't get anything else out of the car all year," he said with checkered flag in hand. B. Ameigh, Clay Weaver and Gene Purvis finished behind him.
This Saturday it's Family Fun Night at the Concrete Castle. The ASA Late Models will wrap up their season and decide the close championship battle between Jim Lamoreaux and Jerry Dineen. Season finales for the other divisions will be contested the following week. Pits open at 4:30, with grandstand gates and practice at 5:30. First green flag of the night falls at 7 PM.
Notes: Clay Weaver's 4 Cylinder was just a shell on Monday. He converted the SCCA road-course car during the week and it competed on an oval for the first time. Brad Smales debuted an immaculately prepared Late Model (#77) and Al Slavick put Glenn Lippolis in his #40 for the night. Terry Potrzebowski sold his "Mr. 72" a week ago to Gary Noe, who drove it to a respectable 5th place finish in the Street Stock feature.
by Carol Houssock
Photos by MoJo Photos
Sportsman Modifieds (25 Laps):
1.) JIMMY ZACHARIAS, 2.) Tony Hanbury, 3.) Jody Buckley, 4.) TJ Zacharias, 5.) Zack Curren, 6.) Tom Shiner, 7.) Tyler Rypkema, 8.) Mikayla Rypkema, 9.) Matt Clemens, 10.) John Wilber, 11.) Chris Clemens, DNS: Mike Odwazny
Heats: Zacharias, Hanbury
Late Models (20 Laps):
1.) SCOTT NURMI, 2.) Jim Lamoreaux, 3.) Glenn Lippolis, 4.) Jerry Dineen, 5.) Billy Coyle, 6.) Josh Lloyd, 7.) Brad Smales
Street Stocks (25 Laps): Unofficial
1.) CHRIS ZACHARIAS, 2.) Charlie Sharpsteen, 3.) Lee Sharpsteen, 4.) Hank Buchanan, 5.) Gary Noe, 6.) Chris Conrad, 7.) Jim House, 8.) Bob Ripley, 9.) Joe Snell, 10.) Jake Snell, 11.) JR Swansborough, 12.) Jason Duke, Sr., 13.) Dusty Snell, 14.) Robert Fink, 15.) Gil Sharpsteen, 16.) Jeff Goodwin, DNS: Guy Somers
Heats: L. Sharpsteen, Duke
Pudgie's Goodtime Pizza, Pasta and Subs 4 Cylinders (12 Laps):
1.) FRANK MORICH, 2.) Brandon Ameigh, 3.) Clay Weaver, 4.) Gene Purvis, DNS: Jeff Ameigh
Heat: B. Ameigh