Chicagoland: Patrick Sheltra race report

Solid Finish For Patrick Sheltra At Chicagoland JOLIET, Illinois (September 11, 2007) - - Still feeling positive about a top-10 performance at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds just five days earlier, ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Patrick Sheltra...

Solid Finish For Patrick Sheltra At Chicagoland

JOLIET, Illinois (September 11, 2007) - - Still feeling positive about a top-10 performance at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds just five days earlier, ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Patrick Sheltra reunited with Chicagoland Speedway this past weekend looking to keep some momentum alive.

Two years had separated Sheltra and the 1.5-mile speedway and while the finish didn't prove anything for the Floridian, he knew that a second chance usually provides strong results.

Driving the No. 60 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for Sheltra Motorsports, the rising star would pull together his thoughts and prepare to tame Chicagoland Speedway for the first and only practice session of the weekend.

During the two-hour session, Sheltra kept his multicolored machine close to the top-10. At the conclusion of practice, the Indiantown, Florida native racked in a time of 31.502 seconds equaling a speed of 171.418 MPH positioning himself 12th on the charts.

"Tight off. That's what we're fighting. The car has some steam, so I'm not worried about that, it's all about handling on some of these tracks. We'll be fine though. The Sheltra Motorsports team is a dedicated bunch and I think we have a car that can move into the top-10 and stay there if we don't put ourselves in that position later today."

Earlier on Friday, Sheltra drew the 46th position for ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, the second-to-last car to make a time trials attempt around the Joliet, Illinois track.

During his run, Sheltra hustled to a fast lap of 31.324 seconds at 172.392 MPH putting the team 16th on the starting grid.

"We picked up some, but I want to start inside the top-10, so I'm feeling a little disappointed," explained Sheltra, an avid dirt racer. John (Hayden, crew chief) made some significant changes to the car before qualifying and I think it paid off. We need to stay in the top-10 in points, so hopefully a good run on Saturday will keep this team alive."

At the start of the Chicagoland ARCA 200, Sheltra kept his machine in contention with the lead pack. Despite not moving through the field, Sheltra was turning competitive lap times and was controlling the 16th position when the first caution flag waived on lap 11.

Back to racing, Sheltra remained focused on the top-10 and despite battling a tight machine, he promised his team he wasn't going to give up.

A scary incident on lap 28 brought out the yellow flag with Sheltra in the 15th position.

Pit road would open the next lap allowing Sheltra to bring his automobile to the attention of his crew. Changing four tires, making a chassis adjustment and adding Sunoco Racing fuel, the team sent their driver back into the hunt.

Restarting 16th, Sheltra used the next forty laps to move into the 13th position. Still reporting a tight racecar, the rookie vowed to give no mercy and bring home a good finish.

Making another pit stop on lap 73, the team had hoped their last stop of the day would overturn the handling condition of Sheltra's machine.

Despite a gallant effort by Sheltra, the rookie would hover comfortably inside the top-15 for the last quarter of the race to cross the line 13th, a career best finish for Sheltra at Chicagoland Speedway.

"No matter what we did we couldn't change the handling of the car," offered Sheltra, following the event. "We tried a lot of things during the pit stops, but nothing seemed to work. We did the best we could under the circumstances and I'm proud of what we accomplished. The boys worked hard and I appreciate it. Hopefully we can come out of Salem with our fifth top-10 finish of the season."

CP Concrete Products, US Construction, SawHorse Outfitters, Brady Ranch and FloraGanics continued their sponsorship of Sheltra Motorsports No. 60 entry in the seventh ARCA race held at Chicagoland Speedway this past Saturday.

Sheltra remains a competitive seventh in the ARCA RE/MAX Series standings heading into a return trip to Salem Speedway this Saturday night for the Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic by Advance Auto Parts. Earlier this year, Sheltra made his debut at the demanding short track finishing an impressive 11th.

-credit: PatrickSheltra.com

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Patrick Sheltra