Shangri-La II Booth at Motorsports Expo A Busy Place; Momentum Starts to Build Toward 2010 Opening Day "Concrete Duals"


There may not have been a shiny metal ball sliding down a pole like New Year's Eve in Times Square, but it was easy to feel the excitement building toward the start of the 2010 Shangri-La II Motor Speedway racing season last weekend during the Motorsports Expo at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Hundreds of racing fans visited ASA Member Track Shangri-La II's booth to pick up 2010 schedules while dozens of competitors also made their appearance, with many of them registering their entries for the new year. As always when racers and fans gather with the new season just over the horizon, everybody had something to say.

Speedway representatives fielded questions about the practice days set for April 18 and 25 and the opening race of the season, the Concrete Duals on Saturday, May 1, which will showcase the tour-type modifieds, ASA late models, sportsman modifieds, and street stocks in twin features to launch the second season of weekly competition at the Concrete Castle. Also drawing plenty of attention was the inaugural appearance of the Race of Champions Modified Series on Sunday, 
May 16, and the recently-announced concept of the Duel Tracks Championship, combining drivers from Shangri-La II and its sister track, SkyView Drags, in a season-long team challenge.

While there were plenty of tales told about good times at the original Shangri-La Speedway which ran its last race in 2005, the fact that the new concrete half-mile has begun to build its own tradition after just half a season of operation was clear as well. The single most talked about incident was probably the last lap tangle in the ASA late model season finale between Travis Fisher and track champion Jim Lamoreaux, whose car was on display. Not far behind, however, were the return of the legendary gold No. 71 modified to victory lane courtesy of Jimmy Zacharias, the late-season heroics of Tony Hanbury,  the amazing consistency of modified title winner John Markovic, the toughness of  Rick Zacharias that nearly made him a champion in two classes, Patti Pruitt's feature win in her Shangri-La II debut, and the great street stock championship battle betwen Chad McDonald and Ajay Potrzebowski that went down to the final race.

"From the way people who were with us throughout the opening season talk about the track, it's clear that Shangri-La II has already become a part of their way of life. It's amazing to realize that one year ago George Swansbrough's dream was just a rough-graded oval and the footings for a grandstand," remarked track manager Amy Stilson, adding "The enthusiasm we see from all sides for 2010 is really gratifying.

"Two things stand out from our conversations with race fans at Syracuse," she continued. "First, the whole New York state racing community knows about Shangri-La II. Second, almost everyone we met left our booth by saying 'see you this summer'. Those are the best words a track operator can hear,"

The exciting events leading to the opener will be covered fully on the official website, and will help spread the word to a wider audience, as will the print and broadcast media throughout the Southern Tier of New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. The track office is in full operation and can be reached by telephone at 607-330-2622 during business hours.