"Chew Crew" Joins Shangri-La II Modified Field for Concrete Duals, May 1st
Much of the excitement surrounding Shangri-La II Motor Speedway's opening in 2009 came from the return of famous names to weekly racing in Tioga County; names like Zacharias, Lamoreaux, Canestrari, Potrzebowski, Chapman, and Buchek. Some were the original stars and some were from the next generation, but all were welcomed by the fans old and new to the ASA Member Track.
Sometimes lost in the wave of nostalgia was the fact that a new group of competitors also made the Concrete Castle their racing home, and their numbers grew as the season progressed. Some, like inaugural Modified track champion John Markovic of Bethlehem, Pa., had raced occasionally at the original Shangri-La, but others had no background in the Southern Tier. They were drawn to the new facility by curiosity, they liked what they saw, and they stayed to race. Among them were Rome, N.Y. Modified racer Jim Storace, who had centered his racing career in New Hampshire, and Buffalo-area ASA Late Model standout Scott Nurmi. A New Jersey contingent including Pete Brittain, Bill Weichert, Pete Gulick, and Andy Walko made the haul from the Garden State for special events.
When the 2010 season kicks off this Saturday, May 1 with the Concrete Duals, another high-profile team will join the Shangri-La II ranks when Buzz Chew Racing pulls their No. 98 through the pit gate. The "Chew Crew" were stalwarts of the NASCAR Busch North Series for many years with driver Bryon Chew reaching victory lane at Holland International Speedway in 2006 and qualifying for the All-Star Showdown at Irwindale, California five straight times.
When their former series developed into a training ground for teenage hopefuls under contract to Sprint Cup Series teams, the Chew family, blue collar racers and long-time Chevrolet dealers on Long Island, turned their attention to the Modified division with a typically show-car quality ride that will debut at the Concrete Duals. They hope to race at Shangri-La II when their touring schedule permits, as the Concrete Castle is the closest weekly track to crew chief Ron Ste. Marie's shop at Inlet, N.Y.
"The hometown racers against the invaders- that's the classic formula for exciting short track racing," said track manager Amy Stilson. "We started to see it last year when Ted Christopher and Pete Brittain came to race with us, and we're looking forward to more outsiders taking on our regulars in 2010. Of course, the whole gang will be here when the Race of Champions Series appears on May 16 and August 1," she added.
The Concrete Duals on May 1 promise to be a spectacular kickoff to the 2010 season with dual main events in each division. The Modifieds will double up on 25-lap features, the ASA Late Models and Sportsman Modifieds will contest a pair of 20-lap main events, and the Street Stocks will go to the post for twin 15's. Pit gates open at 10:00 a.m. and grandstand gates at 11:30. The cars will hit the track for practice at 12:00 noon and the first heat is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
The Mothers Day Delight program follows on Saturday, May 8, leading up to the biggest event in Shangri-La II's brief history, the ROC'n Concrete Rumble for the Race of Champions tour on Sunday, May 16.