Chicagoland: Patrick Sheltra preview

Patrick Sheltra Looking To Blow The Competition Away In Chicago Joliet, Illinois (August 26, 2009) - - Fresh off an well deserved and much needed third place finish last Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield), ARCA RE/MAX Series...

Patrick Sheltra Looking To Blow The Competition Away In Chicago

Joliet, Illinois (August 26, 2009) - - Fresh off an well deserved and much needed third place finish last Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield), ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Patrick Sheltra heads to the "Windy Cindy" this week looking to blow away the competition in Friday's Ansell Cut Protection 150. Literally.

Friday's event though is more about running strong; it's about gaining those much needed points that could further propel the team up the championship ladder board with just seven events remaining this year.

As for Chicagoland, Sheltra is gearing towards his first top-10 finish in his fourth start. "Mr. Showtime" has never had a problem running close to the front but for one reason or another the glory of finishing inside the top-10 has eluded the avid hunter.

At the age of 19, Chicagoland Speedway was the site of Sheltra's inaugural ARCA RE/MAX Series start. After qualifying an impressive 21st, Sheltra hovered in the top-20 before being knocked out of the race with mechanical failure. Since then, he has made two more starts at the 1.5-mile speed plant with a best finish of 13th in 2007.

Sheltra has made it obvious that a strong run on Friday will keep his confidence headed in the right direction.

"Chicagoland Speedway hasn't been one of my best tracks for whatever reason," said the Indiantown, Florida native. "We were capable of finishing in the top-10 last year but we had a mechanical failure. I am hoping that our bad luck is over at Chicagoland and we can have a great run on Friday."

In order to prepare for the 15th race of the 2009 ARCA season, the Sheltra Motorsports team led by Crew Chief John Hayden elected to participate in the open test at the Joliet, Illinois based track last week and overall the team was pleased with the session. Driving coach Ted Musgrave, the former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion spilt the day behind the wheel with the 23-year old phenom.

"We had a good test. It was very productive," recalled Sheltra. "I know we were not the fastest car on the charts but we weren't looking for that. We worked on setup for both qualifying and the race. From shocks, springs, wedge, we worked on it all. Ted also helped us a bunch. He knows his stuff. I'm pumped about going back this week."

With his fourth top-five finish of the year in the books last weekend, Sheltra closed the cap considerably in the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship chase and now sits just 120 markers from overtaking the fourth position. Last year the team began a similar streak of success which propelled the team from 10th to sixth in the final point standings. Sheltra is hoping for a similar path this year.

"We had a good point's day at Springfield, we need to keep that going at Chicagoland," Sheltra explained. "Points are crucial from here on out. I know we're out for the actual title but we can rally and have a top-five finish and that's what I want. We aren't going to give up. Springfield was just the start."

Crew Chief John Hayden has elected to use Sheltra Motorsports Chassis No. 13 this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. This is the same piece the team raced to a sixth and ninth place finish at Kentucky Speedway this year. This car has also had track time at Michigan International Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway and Chicagoland Speedway last season. The former Penske Racing ride has four top-10 finishes including a best of sixth at Michigan (2008) and Kentucky (2009) in five starts. It will be run for just the sixth time in Sheltra's career. Chassis number 16 will serve as the team's back-up automobile. That former Richard Childress Racing entry is a new addition to the team's fleet. The Whitesville, Kentucky based team tested this Dodge Charger at Michigan International Speedway in May. It has yet to see any ARCA race competition.

-credit: sm

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Ted Musgrave , John Hayden , Patrick Sheltra
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Team Penske