Jimmy Zacharias' Dream Season Brings Two Titles at Shangri-La II

jimz1Jimmy Zacharias had the kind of year at Shangri-La II Motor Speedway in 2010 that most drivers can only dream about. He won both the Modified and Sportsman Modified championships, clinching both before the final scheduled race.

In the Modifieds, he won five races and claimed the title by 36 points over Jim Storace. In the Sportsman, he took four regular season features to score a 96 point margin over JR Kent. He is the sixth member of his family to win a championship at a track called Shangri-La, following in the footsteps of grandfather Jim and uncles Rick, Bill, Chris, and RJ. Jimmy's brother TJ was a contender as well in 2010, finishing in the top six in both open wheel classes.

The total number of championships won by the Zacharias family at the Shangri-La tracks, old and new, is nearly two dozen. Of course, the family helped keep the original track alive during its final seasons by promoting it under the Tioga Motorsports Park banner.

Jimmy's father Terry had a solid driving career at the original Shangri-La, but never won a championship. He's been the force behind many of those titles as car owner and crew chief, however, including both of Jimmy's in 2010.

jimz2J. Zacharias did not begin the season with a flash, although his consistency made him a solid point contender from opening day in both classes. He scored his first Modified win of the season on June 26, starting a hat trick that ran through July 10, the night the lights went on. The highlight of Jimmy's season was August 7, Stars of NASCAR Night, when he swept the open wheel features, debuting a new car in each. The new Modified was the blue No. 71, purchased from Dave Cramer in New Jersey, while the silver Sportsman was a new chassis which would prove dominant for the rest of the season.

When a driver is as successful in weekly competition as Jimmy Zacharias was at the Concrete Castle in 2010, the story naturally makes the rounds that he will go on tour the following season. Early in January, Jimmy made it clear that for the moment at least, his plans are to be back at Shangri-La II every week in 2011. Of course, the Zacharias shop in Candor is stocked with quality Modified and Sportsman equipment, and he confirmed that two late models are there as well, as raced by Jimmy and Uncle Chris in 2010. The question is, was he teasing us wih talk about a Street Stock and a Legends Car?

Whatever the final lineup turns out to be, Jimmy Zacharias will be busy during the 2011 racing season.

Shangri-La II Motor Speedway will honor Jimmy Zacharias and its other champions and special award winners at the Champions Banquet on Saturday, January 28, at The McKinley, 1701 North Street, Endicott, N.Y. For more information, call 607-330-2622.