July 5th Must See Mid-Week Blowout
Helberg Shatters Track Record - Pierce Claims Must See Xtreme Sprint Win
Tioga Center, NY - Jo Jo Helberg set a track record that will be hard to beat when the Must See Xtreme Sprint Series made their first ever visit to the high banks of Shangri-La II Motorspeedway on a special July 5th mid-week show. Helberg was fastest during the time trials, but Aaron Pierce was the first across the line claiming the feature win. The Mid-State Vintage Stock Car Club also made their first ever visit to the ASA member track. Bill Fitzsimmons, who drove a Legends Car at the former Tioga Speedway, was the winner in his 3X Modified. Gordie Wood was the first Limited Sportsman at the checkers and Rob Whipple was the first Vintage Sportsman to cross the line. Jimmy Zacharias claimed his fourth Sportsman win of the season in dominating fashion while Lee Sharpsteen continued to keep a stranglehold on Street Stock victory lane with his fifth win in seven events.A packed house greeted the competitors at Shangri-La II Motorspeedway on their only mid-week program of the season on Thursday night, July 5th. The track celebrated Independence Day as well as their 4th anniversary of competition. The half mile high banked concrete facility opened for the first time with a two day program on July 4th and 5th, 2009. The Must See Xtreme Sprint Series (MSXSS) was on hand to dazzle the fans with their speed and handling for the very first time. The Mid State Vintage Stock Car Club was also on hand for the first time, reminding everyone where the racing we see each week came from with beautiful restorations of cars from a bygone era.
For the Sportsman and Street Stocks, the night was about showcasing their talents for the fans, while collecting twenty five points for their attendance. Thirteen of the fifteen Sprints took time during time trials. Jo Jo Helberg claimed the fastest competitive lap ever at the track as he made his way around the half mile in 14.243 seconds at a speed of 126.378 mph. The track record was set by John Markovic in a Modified on July 9, 2011 as he made a competitive lap in 17.202 seconds at a speed of 104.634 mph.
The MSXSS drivers came from California, Washington State, Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana as the series made their first New York State swing stopping at Shangri-La II and Oswego Speedways. Avon, Indiana's Brian Olson, Park City, Illinois' Jason Cox and Angola, Indiana's Hank Lower were the heat race winners. Cox was the second fastest during the time trials with a time of 14.381 seconds. Lower, 70 years old, withdrew his car from competition following the heat race with some bent valves causing his exit. Jimmy McCune started on the pole and ran out to a two second lead by lap four. Outside pole sitter, Mike Larrison and Aaron Pierce ran together during the opening laps until Pierce got by Larrison on lap eleven. They continued to run together bringing along Jacob Wilson. Pierce caught McCune on lap fourteen and took the lead in turn three on lap eighteen. Pierce ran away and claimed the win over McCune by 1.5 seconds. McCune held off a last lap challenge from Wilson for second. Wilson was third with the two fast time trailers Jason Cox and Jo Jo Helberg completing the top five. The race went from green flag to checkered flag. This was the first time for a two flag race for the MSXSS in two years.
There were nine Sportsman competing in the heat race. Rusty Smith's crew found metal shavings in the oil following the heat race, and withdrew the car from competition. Tony Hanbury and Tyler Rypkema drew the front row starting spots, but elected to start at the rear of the field. This handed the front row over to heat winner, Jimmy Zacharias and points leader, John Wilber. Zacharias and Wilber ran nose to tail for the first four laps in the twenty lap feature. Rypkema made his way up to third on lap two with Hanbury just behind him. The pair swapped positions on lap three. Zach Curren, second in the points, started in sixth, but retired from the event on lap two. The Sportsman competitors ran a clean race with Zacharias claiming his fourth Sportsman win of the season by a commanding margin of 3.1 seconds over second place finishing, Wilber. For Wilber, the finish was his sixth second place finish in the seven events this season. He is still looking for his first win in 2012. Three time winner in 2012, Hanbury finished third with Rypkema and Mike Nichols completing the top five. The event was the first Sportsman event of 2012 for Nichols this season at Shangri-La II.
The Mid State Vintage Stock Car Club was on hand with ten cars making the haul to Tioga Center, NY. Tex Gordon's '36 Studebaker Six Cylinder lost a head gasket during hot laps, and withdrew from competition. Shirley Morden lost an engine in her '36 Chevy Limited Sportsman at the end of the heat race. Eight Vintage cars took the green flag. Watertown, NY native, Alex Ammel started on the pole in his '33 Chevy Modified and he was flanked to his outside by Rob Casti from Mahopac, NY in his '36 Plymouth Modified. Casti took the top spot going into turn one of the first lap with Ammel in second. Bill Fitzsimmons from Spencerport, NY took third in turn two of the second lap in his '36 Chevy Modified from Ovid. NY's Ray Preston piloting a 350 V8 Pinto modified. Fitzsimmons took the lead from Casti with a turn four pass on lap five. The only caution of the event came out on lap eleven when early race leader, Alex Ammel blew up exiting turn two. Fitzsimmons re-assumed the lead on the restart and never looked back. Shangri-La II Street Stock regular, Bob Ripley had his 1970 Valiant replica in competition, starting sixth and finished second. Ripley has built an authentic replica of Geoff Bodine's 1972 Race of Champions winning modified. Bodine has sat in the car and has spoken of the victories he had running the original. Ripley will have the car at this year's Race of Champions in Oswego where Bodine has agreed to be the race Grand Marshall and pace the field in the Ripley built car. Pole sitter, Ammel finished third; Phil Barkins made the haul from Dover, Delaware with his '39 Chevy modified. Weedsport, NY's Gordie Wood completed the top five in his '36 Chevy Limited Sportsman.
The Street Stocks closed out the program with twenty two competitors taking the green flag. Charlie Sharpsteen was behind the wheel of the 6 7/8 ride normally driven by his brother, Gil. Charlie started on the pole flanked by Dusty Snell. Dirt driver (and Charlie's cousin) Gene Sharpsteen made his first ever start at Shangri-La II driving Charlie's number 34 car. At the green flag, the front of the field scattered around the Dusty Snell ride as he did not come up to race pace as fast as the other competitors with Charlie Sharpsteen coming out as the leader in turn two and Gene Sharpsteen in second. Two time and defending Street Stock champion, Lee Sharpsteen started fifth and was up to third as lap one of twenty was completed. Lee took second on lap two followed closely by R.J. Zacharias. The pair ran down Charlie by lap five and Lee took over the lead with Charlie in second. Jimmy Zacharias, driving the Jody Buckley ride, started eleventh, and had moved up to fourth by lap eight. Jeff Goodwin drew the twelfth starting spot, and worked his way up to seventh at the half way point. Lee continued to set the pace of the race, and remained unchallenged as he took the checkers by one second over Charlie. R.J. finished third, Goodwin was fourth and Billy Coyle completed the top five. Coyle swapped sixth and seventh place back and forth with Robert Fink the entire second half of the race. Coyle was sixth on lap nineteen, and passed Jimmy Zacharias on the last lap for fifth. Tim Gullo made his first Shangri-La II street stock start of the season starting fourth and finishing seventh. Two caution periods slowed the action during the event. The first on lap seven for Chris Zacharias who pushed up high in turn four, collecting the front stretch wall in a single car event. The second was on lap thirteen when Gene Sharpsteen slowed for a flat right front tire.
Up Next at Shangri-La II is Racin Rumble Ridge Night this Saturday, July 14th. The five division program will feature the Modifieds (rescheduled from June 23rd), Latemodels, Sportsman, Street Stocks and Pudgies Pizza Four Cylinder Stocks. Pit Gates open at 4:30 pm. Grandstand Gates open and Hot Laps begin at 5:30 pm. Racing gets underway at 7:00 pm. The wristband discount will not be valid for this program.
Must See Xtreme Sprint Series Finish (30 Laps):
1.) Aaron Pierce, 2.) Jimmy McCune, 3.) Jacob Wilson, 4.) Jason Cox, 5.) Jo Jo Helberg, 6.) Brian Olson, 7.) Dave Baumgartner, 8.) Jeff Bloom, 9.) Mike Larrison, 10.) Jerry Carrier, 11.) Sondi Eden, 12.) Tim Cox, 13.) Larry Austin, 14.) Troy DeCaire DNS: Hank Lower
Heat Winners: Brian Olson, Jason Cox, Hank Lower
Sportsman Finish (20 Laps):
1.) Jimmy Zacharias, 2.) John Wilber, 3.) Tony Hanbury, 4.) Tyler Rypkema, 5.) Mike Nichols, 6.) Matt Clemens, 7.) Chris Clemens, 8.) Zack Curren DNS: Rusty Smith
Heat Winner: Jimmy Zacharias
Mid State Vintage Stock Car Club (15 Laps):
1.) Bill Fitzsimmons, 2.) Bob Ripley, 3.) Alex Ammel, 4.) Phil Barkins, 5.) Gordie Wood, 6.) Rob Casti, 7.) Rob Whipple, 8.) Ray Preston DNS: Shirley Morden
Heat Winner: Bill Fitzsimmons
Street Stock Finish ( 20 Laps):
1.) Lee Sharpsteen, 2.) Charlie Sharpsteen, 3.) R. J. Zacharias, 4.) Jeff Goodwin, 5.) Billy Coyle 6.) Jimmy Zacharias, 7.) Robert Fink, 8.) Joe Snell, 9.) Tim Gullo, 10.) Bob Ripley, 11.) Jason Duke, Sr., 12.) Chris Conrad, 13.) Brad Knapp, 14.) Gene Sharpsteen, 15.) Chris Bennett, 16.) John Whitmore, 17.) Danielle Buchek, 18.) Bill Frisbee, Jr. 19.) Guy Somers, 20.) Chris Zacharias, 21.) Dusty Snell, 22.) Jake Snell
Heat Winners: R.J. Zacharias, Charlie Sharpsteen, Robert Fink
By Tom Cummings
ASA - We Build Champions !!!