Shangri-La II Honors Their Champions
For the second year in a row, The McKinley at Huron Campus in Endicott, NY was the site for the annual Championship Awards Banquet on Saturday evening November 12. The ASA Member Track located in Tioga Center honored their three champions for 2011 along with celebrating the accomplishments of the top five in each division as well as highlighting several announcements for the 2012 season. Shangri-La II banquet regulars, Al Robinson and Dave Boland were unable to attend due to health reasons but were remembered during the invocation. Driver Video’s during the award presentation were by Greg Moldt. Music was provided by Jakked Productions with DJ Annex. Betty Sherwood and The Spalding Foundation were thanked for their Foam Block project. There was a tremendous amount of work necessary to get the foam blocks ordered, delivered, sponsored, painted and replaced. It was a proactive project to promote competitor safety which was greatly appreciated.
Joe Brown has raced in a wide variety classes over the past 23 years ranging from 4 wheelers to Sportsman and has settled in on the ASA Latemodels. After a tenth place finish in 2010, Brown purchased the car that Jim Lamoreaux drove to the 2009 championship. Brown was fast, right out of the gate and on July 1st collected his first ever win. He followed up with two more wins and no finishes outside of the top five collecting the 2011 ASA Late Model title. He became the third different ASA Late Model champion in the three season history at the high-banked concrete half mile. Brown, in an emotional interview, thanked his family and crew for all their help and support. Josh Lloyd finished second in the points after finishing 16th last season. Jim Lamoreaux finished third, Joseph Burns was fourth and Dave Schneider completed the ASA Latemodel top five.
Jimmy Zacharias successfully defended his 2010 Sportsman title in a season where he found himself in a three car shootout for the title on the final points night. His 2011 campaign includes some staggering numbers. He successfully defended two titles, finished second in pavement racing wins in the northeast and tied with Billy Pauch for fourth in overall wins in the northeast. He thanked his grandparents for their legacy in local racing, for his parents and uncles for keeping that legacy alive and allowing his brother, his cousins and himself to carry that legacy forward. John Wilber finished a close second to Jimmy Zacharias and held off T-J Zacharias by just one point in the battle for second. T-J, younger brother to Jimmy, came into his own this season by winning his first career Sportsman race on the season opener and by claiming his own Sportsman championship at Wyoming County International Speedway. 2010 track Rookie of the Year, Bryan Sherwood finished fourth in the Sportsman points and Tony Hanbury completed the top five.
The Street Stock title was decided with two races remaining in the points race as Lee Sharpsteen was the dominant car in the field all season. Winning the first seven races set the tone for the season until he was narrowly defeated by his brother, Gil on week eight. Another win and an eighth place finish on the final points night had the driver for McDonald Motorsports/Sharpsteen racing having the time of his life. Sharpsteen also repeated as the Super Stock winner at the 61st annual Race of Champions. Gil Sharpsteen finished second collecting two wins. Charlie Sharpsteen finished third, Billy Coyle was fourth and Chris Zacharias finished fifth.
Best Appearing Car Awards went to the Schneider Motorsports #26 ASA Late Model, Bryan Sherwood’s # 95 Sportsman and the Richie Evans Tribute Street Stock # 61 driven by Matt Visingard and owned by Brian Nalepa.
ASA Late Model driver, Josh Lloyd was named as Most Improved driver, improving 14 positions from 2010. Lloyd also collected the Five Star Bodies Contingency Award for 2011.
Sportsman driver, Paul Johnson was the recipient of the Hard Luck Driver Award.
Binghamton, NY’s Brad Knapp was named as the 2011 Rookie of the Year. Knapp drove his family owned #26 Street Stock.
Racing veteran, Dean Rypkema was awarded the Crew Chief of the Year Award.
Charlie Sharpsteen was the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award.
Outstanding Service Awards were given to offtrack officials Maggie Waible ( Chief Scorer), Jason Waible( Race Director/Handicapper) and Ken Waible (Scorer). Joe Buchek, Sr was also presented an Outstanding Service Award. Buchek has been involved in local racing most of his life and is a solid supporter of Shangri-La II. He was the 1964 Modern Stock ( now known as Late Model) Champion at the original Shangri-La Speedway.
It was announced that the speedway will run a 4 Cylinder Stock and a Junior 4 Cylinder Stock divisions in 2012. The rules package and safety details are being finalized and will be posted on the track’s website in the near future. What was conveyed was Stock Means Stock. Street Legal wheels and tires, take out the glass, put in a rollcage and drivers seat – go racing. In other announcements, the Street Stock rules have been updated following meetings with drivers, owners and officials. The final negotiations are taking place with the officials for the Race of Champions for two and possibly three Race of Champions Modified events in 2012. Continued work on the facility id planned during the offseason. Plans call for the installation of more lights to double the amount of lighting than is currently on the track. Completion of the restrooms, work on the racing surface and continued grading, filling and seeding of the areas surrounding the track and additional grandstand seats are all in the plans providing the weather cooperates.
Carol Houssock agreed to join the Shangri-La II family for the 2012 season. She filled in for Al Robinson after he suffered his stroke. Houssock will be a co-announcer with Tom Cummings. Hopefully, Robinson will also be able to contribute in 2012 as his therapy and recovery continue to show improvement.
Finally, Promoter/Owner George Swansborough and Track Manager, Amy Stilson conveyed their thanks to all of the fans, competitors, officials, employees and sponsors for their continued support. They are hoping for 18 points races in 2012. Plans are being worked on for stops by some Touring Series so keep an eye on the track website for future announcements.