Paul Johnson Claims First Win AT Shangri-La II

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June 22, 2014

By Tom Cummings

Tioga Center, NY It took six seasons of hard work, dedication and perseverance for Wyalusing, Pa's Paul Johnson to finally tame "The Concrete Castle" on Saturday night claiming his first Sportsman Modified victory. Billy Coyle used a squeeze play move with four laps to go in the Street Stock feature, taking the top spot from teammate Bill Frisbee, Jr. claiming his second consecutive win. Gene Purvis remained undefeated in 2014 as he claimed his seventh win in Four Cylinder Stock competition.


Gene Purvis has continued to tinker with the set-up in his potent number 88 ride. His work has shown he has not gone in the wrong direction as he started fourth in the Four Cylinder Stock feature and quickly weaved his way to the front by the time lap one was counted. Nick Morich started on the pole with Alan Blackwell to his outside. Morich tried to hold off Purvis, but had to settle in to a position he is getting all too familiar with. Morich kept Purvis within six car lengths, but Purvis would prevail once again with Morich finishing second for the third consecutive race. Blackwell was third, Shannon Gresham finished fourth and Devon Bailey completed the top five.

Nick Morich hopped out of his Four Cylinder Stock and right into his Sportsman where he was starting on the pole and fellow rookie, Connor Sellars starting outside front row. Morich would claim the lead as the field headed into turn one. Sellars was a close second. Paul Johnson settled in to third behind the rookies and ahead of Tommy Rought and T.J. Zacharias. The first of only two cautions occurred on lap three when Rought got very loose entering turn three. He caught the car before heading into the outside wall, and was able to continue. The restart had Morich once again in the lead, but the second and final caution of the race happened on lap five when Tyler Rypkema had a right front flat exiting turn two. He was able to make it to the pits, get a new tire and return to the race. Morich would once grab the lead on the lap five restart, but was heavily challenged by Johnson. Johnson got to the inside of Morich, and made the pass for the lead exiting turn two, and brought Zacharias along with him as they hit turn three. Morich would settle into third as the lead pair opened up a ten carlength gap between second and third. Morich slipped to fourth on lap seventeen when Sellars got by. Zacharias trailed Johnson by a carlength from laps six through seventeen. Johnson would widen the gap with five laps to go, and would win for the first time at Shangri-La II by six carlengths, ending Zacharias' win streak at four. Zacharias held on to finish second and holds a seventeen point lead over Johnson in the season long championship. Sellars finished third for the second week in a row, Morich was fourth and Tyler Rypkema recovered from the flat tire to finish fifth.

R.J. Zacharias and Bill Frisbee, Jr led the Street Stock field to the green flag, in what would end up being the only time the field saw the green. The Street Stocks ran a competitive two flag race which saw three leaders. Zacharias would lead the opening lap, but was passed down the backstretch by Frisbee as lap two went into the record book. Gary Noe started third and ran there until he was passed by fourth place starter, Billy Coyle on lap three. Coyle caught Zacharias by lap six and moved into second on lap seven. Robert Fink made his second start of the season in the fifth spot and ran there until he was passed by Jason Duke, Sr on lap seven. Frisbee set a quick pace, but his teammate Coyle was running him down. The 1J of John Noe was a slower car, running on the inside lane exiting turn four on lap twelve. Coyle looked inside of Frisbee exiting turn four, and the leaders ended up three wide with Noe hugging the bottom. The same situation presented itself just past lap twenty. John Noe was to the low inside of turn one. Frisbee went high in turn one, opening the door for Coyle. Frisbee tried to close down exiting turn two, but Coyle shot the gap between Noe and Frisbee to take the lead. Coyle won by three carlengths for the second week in a row. Frisbee finished second, Zacharias was third with Gary Noe and Duke completing the top five. The Street Stock points battle tightened up as Gary Noe and Bill Frisbee, Jr are tied for first place and Jason Duke, Sr is just four points behind the leaders in third.

Concrete Nuggets; Shangri-La II announcer, Carol Houssock reports she is recovering well from her hip replacement surgery, and is anxious to return to the local tracks. Track Scorer/Handicapper Keisha Sinsabaugh gave birth to her second child, a son named Joshua Tyler Sinsabaugh on Friday June 20th. Keisha is the daughter-in-law of track Manager/Pit Steward, Jerry Sinsabaugh. Shangri-La II welcomes Mid-State Basement Authorities on board as title sponsors for the Independence Day Special on July 5th. Race Fans who were in attendance are reminded to bring back their wristbands in July 5th for $2.00 off grandstand admission.

There will be no racing at Shangri-La II in June 28th as the speedway will be silent for high school graduations. Racing will continue at Shangri-La II Motorspeedway on Saturday July 5 th with our Independence Day Special presented by Midstate Basement Authorities. The four division program will feature the Street Stocks, Sportsman, Four Cylinder Stocks and the INEX Legends. The INEX Legends will be making their first visit to The Concrete Castle since September 2012. The Four Cylinder Stock Division is now open to Front Wheel Drive and Rear Wheel Drive cars for the remainder of 2014. There will be two winners in the Four Cylinder division. For this special event, the Sportsman will run under Shangri-La II or RoC rules, and the Street Stocks will run under Shangri-La II, Chemung, RoC or Big 10 series rules. Midstate Basement Authorities have increased the winners share on July 5th making the Street Stock feature a $1,000 to win race. There will be a free Post Race Pig Roast/Pit Party and a gigantic Fireworks display will cap off a great night as the speedway celebrates it's sixth anniversary. There will also be a special tribute to the late engine builder Gail Clark just before the National Anthem. Grandstand admission price on July 5th is $ 10.00 for adults age 16 and above. Youth under age 16 are admitted free. Pit Gates open at 4:30 pm, Grandstand Gate opens and Practice begins at 5:30 pm with racing beginning at 7:00 pm. There is always plenty of free camping at Shangri-La II Motorspeedway.

Street Stock (25 Laps) 1) Billy Coyle 2) Bill Frisbee, Jr., 3) R. J. Zacharias, 4) Gary Noe, 5) Jason Duke, Sr., 6) Chris Pozzi, 7) Robert Fink, 8) John Noe, 9) Mike Nichols Heat Winners: Billy Coyle, Bill Frisbee, Jr.

Sportsman Modifieds ( 25 Laps) 1) Paul Johnson, 2) T.J. Zacharias, 3) Connor Sellars, 4) Nick Morich, 5) Tyler Rypkema, 6) Tommy Rought, 7) Mikayla Rypkema, 8) Matt Clemens, 9) Billy Coyle Heat Winners: T.J. Zacharias, Connor Sellars

Four Cylinder Stocks (8 Laps) 1) Gene Purvis, 2) Nick Morich, 3) Alan Blackwell, 4) Shannon Gresham, 5) Devon Bailey, 6) Duane Bailey Heat Winner: Gene Purvis