Cold Night But Fast Racing At Shangri-La II
TIOGA CENTER, N.Y. – 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 three rapidly-run events on the half-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 one and two for the 25-lap feature. At the drop of the green the pair ran side-by-side into turn three, 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 four. 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 one foam head on. He was OK but the car was not.
On the lap three restart C Sharpsteen again watched the Zacharias No. 71 take control coming off turn two. As the laps clicked off, the margin between them increased. But behind Sharpsteen another battle developed for third between Glenn Lippolis and Jeff Goodwin. Caution came out for the third 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 five 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 No. 27.
At the drop of the green, as the field came to speed down the front stretch, one car did not. The No. 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 second when Zacharias got around him on the outside.