Tioga Center, NY Nervous tension sweeps over athletes as they anticipate a big contest. Add to that equation a rain out the previous week and that led to several teams anxiously awaiting the features. For Gene Purvis, he had already clinched the title in the Four Cylinder Stock division, but his nervous tension was an even bigger honor. He was attempting to become the first driver in track history to win every event they competed in for the regular points season. For T.J. Zacharias, the pressures of racing in a family with a tradition of winning championships and him collecting his first at Shangri-La II weighed on his mind. Paul Johnson was chasing Zacharias all season and having himself the best season of his racing career. He was the most recent winner and was curious if the same set-up would carry him to a title. Jason Duke, Sr. had held the point lead three times during the season and held a slim lead going into the night. He knew that he had to have everything just right as the Bill Frisbee, Jr. was close behind. For Frisbee, he had a strong car out of the Coyle Racing stables, but a crash two weeks ago caused a huge amount of damage to the front suspension of the car, and also a broken right wrist for the West Danby, NY driver.
The heat races ran off without incident and the teams brought their cars out to the front stretch. The crossover gate opened, and the fans were allowed out on the track to see the cars up-close. Drivers posed for pictures and gave autographs. Six drivers also drew the names of six lucky children who were presented new bicycles. Once the driver appreciation activities were over, it did not take long for the fireworks to begin. In the Four Cylinder Stock feature, Alan Blackwell and Joe Lane started on the front row with Nick Morich and Ryan Purvis in row two. Gene Purvis started fifth, and immediately went to work on the rear bumper of Morich as they headed into turn one. The Outside line worked past Blackwell with Lane taking the lead exiting turn two. Ryan Purvis put the pressure on Lane, and as the pair entered turn three there was contact. Both cars were out of shape, but Lane recovered first and maintained the lead in the low lane. Ryan was more out of shape than Lane. He nearly had the car corrected, but as Lane neared the start/finish line, Ryan got into the right rear of Lanes car, turning him sideways to the track. The Lane #4 rolled on to its roof, and slid in a shower of sparks to turn one. Safety crews were immediately at Lane’s car to assist him in getting out of the car. He walked to the ambulance where he was checked out. Ryan went to the pits and did not return. The restart had Blackwell flanked by Nick Morich with Gene Purvis immediately behind. The trio exited turn two with Gene Purvis to the inside of Blackwell and Morich to the outside. After a brief three wide drag race to turn three, Gene took the top spot, and Morich was second, Blackwell third as the first of fifteen laps was logged. Morich ran with Gene for the next six laps, but would start to fade around lap four. Gene opened up a straightaway lead on the field. Scott Knowlden, Jim Harding and Justin Hall made their first starts at Shangri-La II. Knowlden ran down Blackwell with three laps to go, but was held off by Blackwell. At the checkers, Purvis wrote history becoming the first driver in the six year history of the track to win each event (Heat race and Feature) he competed in. He totaled 13 feature wins and 10 heat race wins. Nick Morich finished second to Purvis for the seventh time this year. Blackwell was third with Knowlden and Harding completing the top five. Justin Hall was the first finishing Front Wheel Drive Car.
The Sportsman feature had Tommy Rought and Nick Morich lead the field to the green flag with the Zacharias brothers (T.J. and Jimmy) in row two. Paul Johnson and Tony Hanbury were in the third row. As the field entered turn one on the first lap, T.J. pushed the Rought machine down the frontstretch and into turn one. Rought’s car spun from the contact. The restart had Jimmy Zacharias and Hanbury on the front row. The pair broke away from the field with Jimmy leading the first eight laps. On lap nine, T.J. was running third, Morich in fourth and Johnson was fifth. Caution flew for the second and final time when Hanbury had a tire go down as he was working turn three. He came to a stop entering turn one, but was able to drive to the pits to change the tire. The restart had the Zacharias brothers on the front row, Johnson was third, Morich fourth and Rought fifth. T.J. took the lead, but had a challenger coming his way. Hanbury had recovered from the flat tire and took over second position with three laps to go. Hanbury tried to catch T.J., but Jimmy challenged Hanbury back for second. . At the white flag, Hanbury stretched his advantage over Jimmy for second place by four car lengths. Johnson was holding strong in fourth. The checkers had T.J. winning his eighth feature of the season and his first ever championship at Shangri-La II. Hanbury crossed the line second, but was penalized one spot for rough riding. Jimmy was credited for the second finishing spot, Hanbury moved back to third, Johnson finished fourth and Connor Sellars got by Morich and Rought at the end to finish fifth.
The Street Stocks had the tightest point battle of the night. Jason Duke, Sr. held a slim seven point advantage entering the night over Bill Frisbee, Jr. Duke won his heat race, while Frisbee finished third in his. Now, the advantage for Duke was nine points entering the feature. Billy Coyle Served notice during his heat race that he had a very fast car for the night. He admitted during an interview during Driver Appreciation that he had mixed emotions going into the feature. “I have a very good car tonight and I want to win, especially after the big wreck seven weeks ago. I also want to see my friend and teammate (Frisbee) win the title. This is a tough one. We’ll just have to wait it out”. Coyle would start on the pole with Gary Noe starting to his outside. The second starting row had title contenders Duke and Frisbee starting side by side. R.J. Zacharias and Nick Robinson comprised row three. The green flag saw Coyle and Noe run side by side with Coyle edging Noe at the line for the lead. Noe battled right back on the outside but could not get the grip he needed coming off turn four. Coyle would finally pull ahead of Noe on lap three. Zacharias and Robinson got by Frisbee on lap one and began their chase of Duke who maintained third. The first of two cautions came out on lap seven when Robert Fink spun in turn two. The restart was a carbon copy of the initial start with Noe trying to get by Coyle. The second and final caution flew for Nick Robinson who spun off of turn four. He was able to refire the car and continue. Once again, the restart had Noe challenging Coyle. Noe finally was able to pull off the pass on lap sixteen, but would be passed back by Coyle on lap twenty. Also on lap twenty, Frisbee was able to crack the top five for the first time, ironically chasing Duke in fourth place. The checkered flag brought down the sixth points season at Shangri-La II with Billy Coyle capturing his third win of the season. Noe was second, and Zacharias finished third. Duke finished fourth and captured his very first ever championship. Frisbee completed the top five coming up eleven points shy of the title.
Concrete Nuggets: Thanks go out to Noe Racing, Coyle Racing and Skyview Drags for providing the bicycles which were given away Saturday night. Former Chief Starter, Gary Folk, Jr. filled in as the Head Flagger on Saturday night as regular Head Flagger Ray Robbins was away. Gene Purvis received a $100.00 bonus from Bowen Trucking in Victory Lane for his efforts and consistency in the 2014 racing season. The Sportsman win by T.J. Zacharias now places him second on the All-Time wins list in Sportsman competition behind his brother, Jimmy. Jimmy has twenty two wins and T.J. now has twelve. The win broke a tie with Tony Hanbury for Sportsman wins at the track. Three members of the Zacharias family have claimed four of the six Sportsman titles at the track. Rick Zacharias was the inaugural title winner in 2009. Jimmy claimed back to back titles in 2010 and 2011, and now T.J. winning in 2014.
The final event of the season is The Fall Brawl on September 26-28. Friday September 26th is Practice from 1:00 pm until dark. Saturday will feature the Sportsman Modifieds, Four Cylinder Stocks and The Big 10 Street Stocks. Sunday September 28th will have the INEX Legends, Street Stocks and the RoC Modified Championship. Grandstand admission price for Friday practice is only $ 5.00 for adults age 16 and above. Youth under age 16 are admitted free. Grandstand admission for Saturday September 27th is $20.00 adults age 16 and above. Sunday September 28th Grandstand Admission is $25.00 There is a 2 day Grandstand admission pass available for $40.00 - a $5.00 savings over purchasing both days separately. Keep up with what is happening at Shangri-La II by visiting us on the web at: www.shangrila-2.com . For information regarding The Fall Brawl, go to the Shangri-La II website, click the schedule tab, 2014 schedule, Fall Brawl.
Street Stocks (25 Laps) 1) Billy Coyle 2) Gary Noe, 3) R.J. Zacharias, 4) Jason Duke, Sr., 5) Bill Frisbee, Jr., 6) Nick Robinson, 7) Charlie Sharpsteen, 8) Chris Pozzi, 9) Robert Fink, 10) Derrick Tarbox, 11) Brad Knapp Heat Winners: Jason Duke, Sr., Billy Coyle 2014 Street Stock Champion: Jason Duke, Sr.
Sportsman Modifieds (25Laps) 1) T. J. Zacharias, 2) Jimmy Zacharias, 3) Tony Hanbury, 4) Paul Johnson, 5)Connor Sellars, 6) Nick Morich , 7) Tommy Rought, 8) Matt Clemens, 9) Gene Sharpsteen, 10) Chris Clemens Heat Winners: Tommy Rought, T.J. Zacharias *Tony Hanbury 1 spot penalty at the finish due to rough riding 2014 Sportsman Modified Champion : T.J. Zacharias
Four Cylinder Stocks (15 Laps) 1) Gene Purvis, 2) Nick Morich, 3) Alan Blackwell, 4) Scott Knowlden, 5) Jim Harding, 6) Justin Hall, 7) Duane Bailey, 8) Joe Lane DQ: Ryan Purvis Heat Winners: Gene Purvis, Joe Lane
RWD WINNER: Gene Purvis FWD WINNER: Justin Hall 2014 4 Cylinder Stock Champion: Gene Purvis