Rudolph, Zacharias, Goodwin & Ameigh Conquer The Concrete In Shangri-La II Opener
Shangri-La II Motorspeedway opened their gates for the 2012 season on Sunday night with plenty of moms in the house for the special Mother’s Day event. Erick Rudolph drove Wilber Hebing’s back-up McGuire Motorsports entry to his first ever win on the concrete half mile. Jimmy Zacharias and John Wilber picked up where they left off last season as the pair dueled the entire feature with Zacharias holding off Wilber for his 13th career Sportsman feature win at Shangri-La II. Jeff Goodwin got his 2012 season off to a good start collecting the season opening win and Brandon Ameigh will go into the record books as he collected the first regular season feature win in the Pudgie’ GoodTime Pizza, Pasta and Subs Four Cylinder Stocks.
T-J Zacharias and Wilber Hebing led the field of Modifieds to the green flag in their 35 lap feature. Hebing and Erick Rudolph took advantage of the outside lane and quickly jumped out front, shuffling Zacharias back to fourth with their power pass in turn 3. The pair pulledaway as Brian DeFebo and T-J Zacharias contested third place. The field bunched up quickly as the first caution flew on lap 2 when John Markovic and J.R.Kent got together going into turn 1 with Kent coming to a stop against the foam after traveling 200 feet with the left side tires on the track and the right side tires on the wall and crossover gate. Kent returned briefly, but completed just eight laps. Hebing looked untouchable until he was the second caution when he spun to the inside of the track in turn four, handing over the top spot to Brian DeFebo. DeFebo set sail and led until the third caution flew for Bryan Sherwood as he slowed to the inside of turn two. DeFebo led the field into turn two, but Rudolph hung on to the outside groove and took the top spot in turn three. Jimmy Zacharias started scratch on the field after having motor problems during his heat race. The 2010 Modified champion worked his way through the pack and was in third position on the lap 16 restart. Andy Walko had a strong ride, and his car got better as the run went on. Multiple challenges were going on in Rudolphs rear view mirror in the waning laps with Walko making a bid for second place with three laps to go. At the checkers, Rudolph held on for the win, his first career win at Shangri-La II. Walko finished second with Jimmy Zacharias a close third. Darren Scherer was fourth and Wilber Hebing recovered from his lap eight spin to collect fifth spot. Veteran modified shoe, Ken Canestrari did not start the event after mechanical problems during his heat race relegated him to the trailer early in the event.
The high powered Street Stocks were the second feature to be run with two time and defending champion, Lee Sharpsteen drawing the pole and his older brother, Charlie starting to his outside. To make matters more interesting, Gil Sharpsteen started third, Terry Potrzebowski started fourth and Fall Brawl winner, Jeff Goodwin started fifth. At the drop of the green flag, the brothers Sharpsteen and Goodwin created a four car breakaway leaving Terry Potrzebowski back in fifth. Lee Sharpsteen used all the horsepower he had to pull away from the pack, leaving an interesting three way contest between Charlie, Gil and Goodwin. By lap 10, Goodwin had gotten around Charlie Sharpsteen and by lap 14 dispatched Gil Sharpsteen back to third. The problem was with those three racing so hard, Lee Sharpsteen had amassed a 4.5 second lead. The lead for Lee , however, only lasted two more laps as his potent McDonald Motorsports ride broke in turn three sending Goodwin to the front. Goodwin held off the challenges of Gil Sharpsteen over the final nine laps to collect his first win of the season. Gil Sharpsteen held on to finish second. Glenn Lippolis was fifth with nine laps left, and managed to climb up to third at the checkers. Charlie Sharpsteen and R-J Zacharias completed the top five.
Sportsmen were the third feature on the track which saw John Wilber draw the pole to start the feature with Rusty Smith starting to his outside. Jimmy Zacharias started third with Zach Curren starting fourth and Tony Hanbury fifth. At the green flag, Wilber jumped to an early lead with Jimmy Zacharias following through on the inside, shuffling Smith back to third. Wilber and Zacharias were putting on a driving clinic, nose to tail – lap after lap until Tony Hanbury broke while challenging for third place on lap eight. Wilber and Zacharias continued their battle with Zacharias trying every move he knows to get by Wilber. While this two car battle was being waged, Rusty Smith, Zach Curren and Jody Buckley were not being out done. That trio had their own battle going on, but no one showed an upper hand. The first caution flew for Tyler Rypkema as he spun in turn four. The restart was more of the same with the five cars now bunched up. Jimmy Zacharias got by Wilber on lap 22. Zack Truesdail brought out a caution following a spin in turn 2 with just two laps left to run. Jimmy Zacharias held off Wilber on the restart to claim his record setting 13th Sportsman win at Shangri-La II. Wilber finished second, Rusty Smith was third, Zach Curren fourth and Jody Buckley completed the top five. Mikayla Rypkema completed her first Sportsman race in sixth. There were also two more rookies in the Sportsman field. Former Street Stock competitor, Dylan Terry finished ninth and Tyler Rypkema finished tenth.
The Final event on the day was the Pudgie’s Pizza, Pasta and Subs Four Cylinder feature. There were only four cars present for their inaugural event. Gene Purvis broke in his heat race and did not start the feature. Dayton Cote led the field to the green flag with Brandon Ameigh starting second and Frank Morich starting third. Cote led the first eight laps with Ameigh and Morich in close proximity. Going into turn one on the ninth lap, Cote drifted up the track just enough for Ameigh to squeak by. Ameigh held on for the win with Cote finishing second and Morich finishing third.
Jimmy Zacharias won with his Sportsman carrying Mopar Power under the hood. It is believed that was the first Mopar to win at Shangri-La II. Street Stock driver, Guy Somers finished ninth in his first ever racing feature. Dirt convert, Chris Conrad fell out of the Street Stock feature after completing eleven laps. Mechanical woes also sidelined the Street Stock of Chris Zacharias after just two laps in the feature.
Up Next at Shangri-La II is the season opener for the Race of Champions Modified Pavement Series Tour. This 100 lap feature for the Modifieds headlines a full show which will include Sportsman, Street Stocks, Pudgies GoodTime Pizza, Pasta and Subs 4 Cylinder Stocks and Pudgies GoodTime Pizza, Pasta and Subs 4 Cylinder Juniors. Pit Gates open at 12:00 noon. Hot Laps begin at 1:00. Grand Stand Gates open at 1:30 and the first Green Flag of the day will be at 3:00.
Modified Finish (35 Laps) 1)Erick Rudolph, 2) Andy Walko, 3) Jimmy Zacharias, 4) Darren Scherer, 5) Wilber Hebing, 6) Dean Rypkema, 7) Brian DeFebo, 8) John Markovic, 9) T.J.Zacharias, 10) Nick Barzee, 11) Jim Storace, 12) Matt Clemens, 13) Bryan Sherwood, 14) J.R. Kent DNS: Ken Canestrari
Sportsman Finish ( 25 Laps) 1) Jimmy Zacharias, 2) John Wilber, 3) Rusty Smith, 4) Zach Curren, 5) Jody Buckley, 6) Mikayla Rypkema, 7) John Markovic, 8) Paul Johnson, 9) Dylan Terry, 10) Tyler Rypkema, 11) Zack Truesdail, 12) Jeff Frisbee, 13) Matt Clemens, 14) Tony Hanbury
Street Stock Finish ( 25 Laps) 1) Jeff Goodwin, 2) Gil Sharpsteen, 3) Glenn Lippolis, 4) Charlie Sharpsteen, 5) R.J. Zacharias, 6) Terry Potrzebowski, 7) Mike Nickels, 8) Chris Bennett, 9) Guy Somers, 10) Brad Knapp, 11) Bob Ripley, 12) Derrick Tarbox, 13) Lee Sharpsteen, 14) Chris Conrad, 15) Chris Zacharias
Pudgies GoodTime Pizza, Pasta and Subs Four Cylinder Stocks ( 10 Laps) 1) Brandon Ameigh, 2) Dayton Cote, 3) Frank Morich DNS: Gene Purvis
Let’s GO ASA Racing !!!
By Tom Cummings