John Wilbur, Chris Zacharias, Gene Purvis Heat Things Up at Shangri-la II


By Carol Houssock

(Tioga Center, NY)   Fans at Shangri-la II Motor Speedway dressed for, and may have expected, off-road snowmobile races on a cold and windy Saturday night. What they got instead were 3 rapidly-run events on the ½-mile concrete. Trophies went home with John Wilbur (Sportsman Modified), Chris Zacharias (Street Stocks), and Gene Purvis (4 Cylinders).

The 25-lap Pudgie’s Pizza Street Stock event was a runaway for Chris Zacharias, who had the field covered on this night. He and fellow heat race winner, Charlie Sharpsteen, drew positions 1 and 2 for the 25-lap feature. At the drop of the green the pair ran side-by-side into turn 3, when Zacharias emerged as the leader. Jake Snell brought out the first caution with 2 laps in when he spun in 3. That set up a Zacharias/Sharpsteen restart. Again Chris Z prevailed, but just a lap later JR Swansborough spun in turn 4. As the field was slowing down for the caution a left rear trailing arm broke on Lee Sharpsteen’s car, and when it snapped it also broke a rear shock. He slammed on the brakes but hit the turn 1 foam head on. He was ok but the car was not. 

On the lap 3 restart C Sharpsteen again watched the Zacharias #71 take control coming off turn 2. As the laps clicked off, the margin between them increased. But behind Sharpsteen another battle developed for 3rd between Glenn Lippolis and Jeff Goodwin. Caution came out for the 3rd and final time for spins by Brad Knapp and Dusty Snell. The final run to the checkered flag encompassed 15 laps, during which Zacharias’ car was a rocket ship. With less than 5 to go Goodwin got around Lippolis, pretty much the only action on the track in the late stages. Zacharias cruised to the win, followed by Sharpsteen, Goodwin, Lippolis and Billy Coyle.

Chris Zacharias custom detailed his winning car in memory of his mother, the late Shirley Zacharias. “Every race I ever won was dedicated to my mother,” he said from Victory Lane. “This one is for Dad, he’s still here with us.” A large contingent of the Zacharias family gathered for his first win since losing the family matriarch in January of this year.

Fans, huddled in blankets and winter jackets, will long remember the John Wilbur/Jimmy Zacharias battle in the 25-lap Sportsman Modified feature. For many, it was more like ‘Wil-brrrr’ in the cold. John Wilbur, the defending track champion, drew the pole and he lined up inside Dylan Terry’s #27.

At the drop of the green, as the field came to speed down the front stretch, one car did not. The 31 of Tony Hanbury slowed to a stop on the back stretch and was pushed to the pits. Cars lined up per the original start, with the exception of the Hanbury machine. Wilbur got the better of Terry, who also lost 2nd when Zacharias got around him on the outside.

Two laps later, heat winner Tyler Rypkema spun between turns 3 and 4, bringing out the caution flag. It was the final caution, but what ensued was a tremendous battle between two veteran drivers who have a ton of respect for each other. With John Wilbur in the lead, Jimmy Zacharias tried countless times to get a run off turn 2 and then turn 4 and each time the immaculate #4 shut him down. Dylan Terry, in his best-ever performance in the division, stayed with the lead duo throughout the event. They pulled away from TJ Zacharias, who had Jody Buckley’s #20 all over him in their battle for 4th.

Back up front fans were treated to an excellent charge for the inaugural win in the 2013 season. Wilbur, who had earlier said he was ready to defend his title, proved it by taking the checkered flag. Heat winner Jimmy Zacharias had to settle for 2nd in this one, with D. Terry right behind in 3rd. TJ Zacharias and Buckley rounded out the top 5. “This one is for my crew,” Wilbur stated. “We won the title last year but I want them to know how much I appreciate all they do and have done for me.” Regarding the hard-fought battle, he said “Jimmy and I respect each other, he drove me clean, and I would have done the same thing.”

Gene Purvis must have a broom in his tool box, as he grabbed his 2nd sweep of the 4 Cylinder Stocks in as many weeks. Texan Alan Blackwell was the meat in a NY sandwich when the pole-sitter had Purvis on the inside and Bill Chandler, Jr. on the outside during the opening lap. Purvis got the lead and never looked back, dominating the 10-lap, caution-free feature. Chandler finished nearly a straightaway back in 2nd, followed by Jeremiah Clonch, Nick Morich and Blackwell. “I’m glad to see a few more cars here this week, and I hope to win more of these,” he said while holding his 2nd 2013 trophy from the track.

Fans are reminded to bring their wristbands from May 25th for a $2.00 discount on grandstand admission this week’s Saturday Night Shootout. Admission price includes admission to Skyview Drags. Pits open at 4:30, grandstand at 5:30. Hot laps get underway at 5:30, with the first heat race taking to the track at 7:00.


Sportsman Modifieds: (25 Laps) JOHN WILBUR, Jimmy Zacharias, Dylan Terry, TJ Zacharias, Jody Buckley, Zack Curren, Tom Shiner, Tyler Rypkema, Paul Johnson, Mikayla Rypkema, Matt Clemens, Tommy Rought, Chris Clemens, Tony Hanbury, Randy Brokaw.

Heats: J Zacharias, T Rypkema

Pudgie’s Pizza Street Stocks: (25 Laps) CHRIS ZACHARIAS, Charlie Sharpsteen, Jeff Goodwin, Glenn Lippolis, Billy Coyle, Jake Snell, JR Swansborough, Jason Duke, Sr., Dusty Snell, Brad Knapp, Hank Buchanan, Robert Fink, Nick Robinson, Gary Noe, Joe Snell, Lee Sharpsteen, Bill Frisbee, Jr.

Heats: Zacharias, C Sharpsteen

4 Cylinders: (10 Laps) GENE PURVIS, Bill Chandler, Jr., Jeremiah Clonch, Nick Morich, Alan Blackwell, Brandon Ameigh, Shannon Gresham.

Heat: Purvis

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