Jimmy Zacharias the Top Gun in Shangri-La II Shootout
June 2, 2012 - The guns were locked and loaded on Saturday night for the "Shootout", but a full moon in the sky reared its ugly side on a wild and crazy night at Shangri-la II Motor Speedway. Jimmy Zacharias (Sportsman Modified), Jeff Goodwin (Street Stock), Travis Fisher (Late Model) and Brandon Ameigh (4 Cyl) brought their big guns and celebrated victories. Many others left wondering what the heck had happened. Despite the damage to several cars, fans appreciated some really good side-by-side racing.
Jimmy Zacharias (Candor, NY) only led for a few feet in the 25-lap Sportsman Modified feature, but it was enough to snag his 2nd Sportsman Modified feature of the year. Tony Hanbury led the lion's share of the race; however, he received a severe penalty following a close loss. The race itself was slowed by 4 cautions, 2 of which left several cars battered and eliminated from the event. Just past the halfway point Dave Catalano spun in turn 4 but, in slowing down, heat winner Tyler Rypkema and Jody Buckley got together coming off turn 2 and both cars were damaged and done. When racing resumed Hanbury was able to hold off Zacharias in their drag race to turn 1. Three laps later Mikayla Rypkema got together with Paul Johnson on the front stretch. Both cars were damaged with a very upset Johnson getting the worst of the deal. Again Hanbury held off Zacharias on the restart, but the defending champ was relentless in his pursuit of the top spot. As they came off turn 4 on the final lap, Zacharias was on the outside and he edged Hanbury at the stripe. What happened next was a pile-up in turn 1 that sent John Wilber airborne and collected at least 3 other cars. Deemed retaliation by track officials, Hanbury was scored as the last car on the lead lap (11th). Wilber finished 2nd, followed by Jeff Frisbee, Zach Curren and Tom Catalano.
The scheduled 25-lap Street Stock feature ended at lap 20 after multiple wrecks and high attrition. Jeff Goodwin (Pine City, NY) won his 2nd feature of the year and he too, only led one lap. Charlie Sharpsteen and RJ Zacharias won their respective heat races, and each would be a huge factor in the event. Sharpsteen started 2nd, but had the lead at lap 1. Lee Sharpsteen, the 2-time and defending track champion, slowed and both he and Zacharias pitted. Chris Zacharias worked the traffic to perfection and got up to 2nd, where he and Sharpsteen put on a driving clinic. Lap after lap the pair ran side-by-side, never touching. That great battle ended on lap 18 when Zacharias' motor blew and Sharpsteen spun in the fluid. That gave the lead to Mike Nickles and Jeff Goodwin moved up to 2nd. When the race resumed Goodwin grabbed the lead on lap 20. As the field approached turn 1 RJ Zacharias got turned around and slammed the turn 1 wall on the driver's side. He exited the car on his own, limping and visibly hurting. With just 4 cars left running, the race was called at lap 20 and Goodwin parked in victory lane. Nickles finished 2nd, followed by Bob Ripley, Dusty Snell and Chris Conrad.
The 25-lap ASA Late Model feature had its share of drama as well. Travis Fisher (Fern Glen, PA) drew the pole position, with Jim Lamoreaux starting beside him. Fisher led the pack off turn 2 and headed up a 3-man battle for the lead with Lamoreaux and Jerry Dineen. At the halfway point, following a caution for Joe Brown's spin off turn 4, Lamoreaux was battling Fisher for the lead. Fisher got Lamoreaux sideways and he lost 2nd to Dineen. Officials assessed a 1-spot penalty on Fisher, but when Lamoreaux and Dineen got together and spun it negated the penalty for contact with Lamoreaux. Fisher and heat winner Scott Nurmi started in the front row when racing resumed. Fisher prevailed and coasted to his first win of the year over Nurmi, Joe Brown, Billy Coyle and Lamoreaux.
Attendance is perfect in victory lane for the Ameigh family from Elmira, NY. The challenge for Brandon was to match his brother Jeff's performance and pick up his 2nd win. It was sweep night for Brandon, who also won the heat race. Frank Morich was the meat in the Ameigh sandwich for all 10 laps, as the trio ran nose-to-tail in the caution-free race.
Up Next at Shangri-La II: This Saturday, June 9 is "Burning Rubber Night" with a full 4-division program beginning at 7 PM. Pits open at 4:30, grandstands and practice at 5:30. Fans in the grandstand are reminded to bring their wrist bands for $2 off the $10 general admission.
Notes: Tom and Dave Catalano made their first-ever appearances at the track. Regulars at Holland Speedway on Saturday nights, they headed south when Holland rained out. Dean Rypkema will be a busy man this week, repairing the Sportsman Modifieds driven by his son and daughter. Shirley Zacharias, mother of Chris and RJ and grandmother of Jimmy and TJ, fell in the pits and was transported by ambulance to the hospital. Chris reported on Sunday that she was at home resting, but looked like she held her own in a fight.
Race Recap by Carol Houssock
Photos Courtesy of MoJo Photos
Sportsman Modifieds (25 Laps):
1) Jimmy Zacharias, 2) John Wilber, 3) Jeff Frisbee, 4) Zach Curren, 5) Tom Catalano, 6) Tom Shiner, 7) Dave Catalano, 8) TJ Zacharias, 9) Matt Clemens, 10) Chris Clemens, 11) Tony Hanbury, 12) Paul Johnson, 13) Mikayla Rypkema, 14) Tyler Rypkema, 15) Jody Buckley
Heats: T. Rypkema, Hanbury
Street Stocks (25 Laps):
1) Jeff Goodwin, 2) Mike Nickles, 3) Bob Ripley, 4) Dusty Snell, 5) Chris Conrad, 6) Jake Snell, 7) Charlie Sharpsteen, 8) Brad Knapp, 9) Chris Zacharias, 10) RJ Zacharias, 11) Gil Sharpsteen, 12) John Whitmore, 13) Guy Somers, 14) Lee Sharpsteen
DNS: Joe Snell (11) and Chris Bennett (59)
ASA Late Models (25 Laps):
1) Travis Fisher, 2) Scott Nurmi, 3) Joe Brown, 4) Billy Coyle, 5) Jim Lamoreaux, 6) Lorin Arthofer, 7) Jerry Dineen
Pudgies GoodTime Pizza, Pasta and Subs 4 Cylinders (10 Laps):
1) Brandon Ameigh, 2) Frank Morich, 3) Jeff Ameigh, 4) Dayton Cote
Heat: B. Ameigh