Saturday’s 35-lap “Concrete Kicks Asphalt” Modified feature at Shangri-La II Motor Speedway was only close twice- once at the start and once at the finish. In between the green and checkered flags of the caution-free race, Rick Zacharias built a lead of nearly a straightaway, but his no-mistakes strategy made it a nail-biter at the end.
Dean Rypkema was on Zacharias’ bumper at the finish line with the winner’s nephew, Jimmy Zacharias, close behind. Opening day winner Brian Defebo settled for fourth while rookie Scott Conover scored a fifth place finish in only his third feature race on a paved track.
R. Zacharias took advantage of his pole position and the slow start by his front row mate to gain an immediate lead with Rypkema, Defebo, J. Zacharias, and Conover, all from the inside lane, dropping in behind. Turning the concrete half mile in near-record times of 17.5 seconds, Rick pulled away as Jimmy passed Defebo for third and took on Rypkema for second, which turned out to be the highlight of the race. Driving in his third feature race of the day, Jimmy worked high and low but Rypkema held his line. At the five-to-go sign, R. Zacharias’ lap times suddenly dropped off to the 18.2 second range and the duo of Rypkema and J. Zacharias closed rapidly, running the same 17.8 second pace they had maintained all day. At the white flag the chasers had caught the leader and with the checker in the air Rypkema moved to the inside to attempt a pass, but R. Zacahrias made it by a car length in the non-stop time of 10 minutes, 33 seconds for the 35 laps.
Did the leader have mechanical problems? Had he lost concentration after spending so many laps on cruise control?Â In victory lane Rick Zacharias explained, “I’ve lost too many races by making mistakes in the last few laps, so I just decided to be careful.”
Rypkema’s second place finish was his best as a Modified driver and his first top-five at Shangri-La II. Defebo’s fourth place was good enough to keep the Modified point lead. Defending track champion John Markovic took sixth and Jim Storace returned from his hard crash last week in the ROC’n Concrete Rumble to take seventh. Rusty Smith, Chris Zacharias, and Ken Canestrari made up the balance of the top ten.
Tony Hanbury completed his Sportsman Modified hat trick and remained undefeated at Shangri-La II in 2010 by winning that division’s 25-lap feature in textbook style. He started eighth and took his time moving forward, catchng leader Jimmy Zacharias just before the halfway point.The duo spent many of the mid-race laps side-by-side before Hanbury made his decisive move on the inside of the back straight on lap 18. Hanbury checked out as J. Zacharias settled for second. Dan Kurzejewski charged from fifth to third on the outside in the closing laps, catching JR Kent on the final circuit. Russ Brown, who led the first three laps, held on for fifth.
The ASA Late Model 25-lapper illustrated the saying that “rubbin is racin”, especially on several restarts where paint was traded in turn one. Travis Fisher took the win for the second week in a row, and for the second week in a row he gained the lead when Jimmy Zacharias was forced to the pits with mechaical issues. Fisher led the first 11 laps from the outside front row before Zacharias rushed past and began to pull away. Lap 18 was Jimmy’a downfall this week as he headed for the pits with smoke trailing from under his rear bumper.
Scott Nurmi made a late race run to second after Jim Lamoreaux challeneged for the lead in his new Camaro but slipped to third. Dan Bellinger was fourth and Chris Zacharias took fifth after his engine failed on the last lap and he coasted across the line.
After a disappointing opening day, track champion Chad McDonald has definitely turned his program around. He led every lap of the Street Stock feature, although he had to fight off a mid-race restart challenge from Lee Sharpsteen. Behind Sharpsteen, the top five contained Tom Cundy, Cricket Clonch, and Billy Coyle.
Next weekend, the Memorial Day Madness program has been consolidated into one day with all the divisions originally scheduled to race over two days. The Modifieds, ASA Late Models, Sportsman Modifieds, Street Stocks, and INEX Legends will all be in action Sunday, May 30, with racing starting at 3:00 p.m. For more detailed information, visit the track website, shangrila-2.com, or call 1-607-330-2622.
Modifieds: 1. Rick Zacharias, 2. Dean Rypkema, 3. Jimmy Zacharias, 4. Brian Defebo, 5. Scott Conover, 6. John Markovic, 7. Jim Storace, 8. Rusty Smith, 9. Chris Zacharias, 10. Ken Canestrari, 11. Dave Silvernail, 12. Matt Clemens, 13. Chris Ostrowsky, 14. TJ Zacharias
Sportsman Modifieds: 1. Tony Hanbury, 2. Jimmy Zacharias, 3. Dan Kurzejewski, 4. JR Kent, 5. Russ Brown, 6. Tom Shiner, 7. Bryan Sherwood, 8. Rick Zacharias, 9. John Markovic, 10. Glenn Lippolis, 11. Vern Johnson, 12. Justin Shiner, 13. Dave Jackson, 14. Don Wilson
ASA Late Models: 1. Travis Fisher, 2. Scott Nurmi, 3. Jim Lamoreaux, 4. Dan Bellinger, 5. Chris Zacharias, 6. Ben Reynolds, 7. Dave Beyer, 8. Jimmy Zacharias, 9. Jerry Dineen
Street Stocks: 1. Chad McDonald, 2. Lee Sharpsteen, 3. Tom Cundy, 4. Cricket Clonch, 5. Billy Coyle, 6. Scott Reagan, 7 Gil Sharpsteen, 8. Jim Potrzebowski, 9. Bill Davey, 10. Mikayka Rypkema
***Shangri-La 2 Press***