J.R. Kent picked a prestigious occasion to score his first Modified win at Shangri-La II Motor Speedway, leading from flag to flag in capturing Saturday night's 61-lap Richie Evans Memorial. "Next to my dad, he was my hero when I was growing up," he exclaimed in victory lane. It marked Kent's first Modified win for car owner Terry Zacharias a well.
A ton of championships were represented in that victory lane. J.R. was a two-time champion of the original Shangri-La and his father, George Kent, scored eight championships and closed the history of the old track down in the valley as the all-time leading Modified race winner. The man honored by Saturday's race, nine-time national champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Richie Evans, was a three-time champion of the original Shangri-La in 1975, 1977, and 1982.
Travis Fisher claimed the ASA Late Model feature Saturday night, while Jimmy Zacharias and Lee Sharpsteen continued their domination of the Sportsman Modified and Street Stock ranks. The biggest winner of all, however, was the Spalding Foundation for Injured Drivers. An auction of memorabilia items and a fun-filled auction of lunch dates with leading drivers and track officials netted $1,053 for the area's favorite racing charity.
J.R. Kent started on the pole of the 61-lap feature and was seriously challenged only once by runner-up Jim Storace, who took that spot on a lap 8 restart. With the final 53 laps run caution-free, the leaders caught fifth place Scott Conover with 18 laps to go. Storace tried to squeeze between Kent and Conover at the flagstand, but Kent slammed the door in turn one and held a narrow lead the rest of the way. Behind Kent and Storace, Jimmy Zacharias and Dean Rypkema were a close third and fourth. Conover and Ken Canestrari placed fifth and sixth, a lap down, trailed by Rick Coyle, T.J. Zacharias, Danielle Buchek, and Tommy Farrell.
Jerry Dineen switched to his back-up car for the ASA Late Model feature but it didn't slow him down as he led the first ten of the 30 laps. Chris Zacharias, looking for his second win in a row, took over with Travis Fisher in close pursuit. On lap 26 C. Zacharias slowed suddenly and pitted with rear end failure, handing the lead to Fisher who romped home with a 9.3 second margin for his third 2010 victory. Scott Nurmi and Jim Lamoreaux tangled twice early in the race without damage but wound up battling for second, with point leader Nurmi coming put on top. Dineen hung on for fourth and Joe Burns was fifith.
Veteran Tom Shiner led the first three circuits of the 25-lap Sportsman main before Jimmy Zacharias got rolling. From that point it was no contest as J. Zacharias turned laps in the 18.3 second bracket- less than half a second off a competitive Modified time- and pulled away to another commanding win. Shiner held off J.R. Kent in an entertaining battle for second,. Scott Adams, in his second week at Shangri-La II, took fourth with Jesse Kent, who battled with his dad J.R. for part of the race, taking home fifth.
Last week Lee Sharpsteen took the Street Stock checker but was penalized one position for rough riding. This time the point leader left no doubt as he swept around Cricket Clonch for the lead on the eighth of the 20 laps and pulled away, leaving Billy Coyle and Clonch to duel for second. Coyle won the battle but lost the war as he was disqualified for an unapproved carburetor, leaving Clonch, Gil Sharpsteen, Charlie Sharpsteen, and Charle Lohmeyer to fill out the top five.
Next week Shangri-La II hosts the "Return of the ROC'n Concrete Rumble" on Sunday, August 22 with the Race of Champions Modified Tour going 100 laps in the event rained out on August 1. ASA Late Models, Sportsman Modifieds, and Steeet Stocks will be joined by the INEX Legends on the supporting card. Due to the special Sunday show, there will be no racing on Saturday, August 21.
SHANGRI-LA II MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Results - Saturday, August 14, 2010
"Richie Evans Memorial Night"
MODIFIED (61 laps)
1. 16 J. R. Kent
2. 74 Jim Storace
3. 71 Jimmy Zacharias
4. 24 Dean Ryplema
5. 26 Scott Conover
6. 17 Ken Canestrari
7. 56 Rick Coyle
8. 67 T.J. Zacharias
9. 97 Danielle Buchek
10. 08 Tommy Farrell
11. 7 Chris Ostrowsky
12.34 Rusty Smith
Heat winners: Kent, Storace
Lap leaders: Kent 1-61