Daytona: Patrick Sheltra qualifying report

Sophomore ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Patrick Sheltra will be one of 43 starters in Saturday's 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona. After posting a very reasonable single-car run (50.70 seconds) during yesterday's five-hour practice, crew chief John ...

Sophomore ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Patrick Sheltra will be one of 43 starters in Saturday's 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona. After posting a very reasonable single-car run (50.70 seconds) during yesterday's five-hour practice, crew chief John Hayden and team manger Keith Strunk went back to the drawing board making changes on the team's No. 60 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS hoping to find more speed for today's qualifying run.

It paid off.

Sheltra, the 21-year old Indiantown, Florida native clocked in the 26th fastest lap after turning a time of 50.482 seconds at 178.281 MPH. At first, Sheltra claimed the 21st position but slipped in the grid after five of the remaining 12 machines were able to post better qualifying times.

Sheltra, driving for his family-owned and Whitesville, Kentucky based Sheltra Motorsports team will make his inaugural debut at the 2.5-mile superspeedway in his 26th career ARCA start Saturday afternoon.

PATRICK SHELTRA, NO. 60 FERGUSON PIPE ENTERPRISES, INC.-FLORAGANICS CHEVORLET MONTE CARLO SS:

SHELTRA: (HOW WAS YOUR LAP?) "I am pretty happy with that. Honestly. We were solid in the single car runs and extremely competitive in the draft and the changes that the Sheltra Motorsports team made were very beneficial. I'm just excited to be competing in my first ARCA 200 at Daytona."

SHELTRA: (ON HIS STARTING POSITION -- 26TH ) "It's mid-pack and again around where I expected to qualify. This was an extremely tight field to make and I emphasize that. I cannot believe the times that the other teams were posting. It only makes everyone realize that you have to be completely on top of your game when you come to a place like Daytona."

SHELTRA: (ON THIS AFTERNOON'S DRAFTING SESSION) "I have a feeling there's going to be some heavy drafting out there. The plan for us is to take it easy. I don't think you will see us out for the entire hour of practice, but we'll get our fair share of track time in. There's no sense of staying out there throughout the entire session and risk taking a chance of the unexpected happening and destroying a very good racecar."

SHELTRA: (ON THE WEATHER CHANGES FROM YESTERDAY) "Night and day, that's really the best way to describe it. I wasn't sure if the late draw was going to help us or hurt us, but it didn't seem to matter. The car was very solid and I didn't leave anything on the table. It will be interesting however to see how the car will react from daylight to darkness."

SHELTRA: (ON THE ARCA 200 AT DAYTONA BEING A HOMETOWN RACE) "It's important. Last year we had Lakeland (USA International Speedway) as my home town track, but this year it's Daytona and that's huge. I have a lot of family and friends here for this event and that's extremely important to be surrounded by the people who care about your racing career. Hopefully by the conclusion of the race tomorrow we all can be celebrating our first career ARCA victory."

SHELTRA: (ON CLOSE COLLEGAUE JEREMY CLEMENTS MISSING THE ARCA 200 AT DAYTONA) "Absolutely devastating. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it. Jeremy is so strong on these plate races and to see the No. 3 missing from the starting grid tomorrow is everyone's loss. The field was tight this year, there's no hiding that, but I don't think anyone anticipated seeing Jeremy Clements not being a part of the 2008 ARCA 200 at Daytona. I know how he is feeling though, I was in this same position last year."

SHELTRA: (ON THE 2008 ARCA RE/MAX SERIES SEASON) "I'm really excited about this year. I'm not coming into blindsided like I did last year. That's important. I'm lucky to have a great group behind me and some superb marketing partners onboard as well. I know there's a lot of competition this year, but there's no doubt that we're going to give everyone a run for the trophy."

-credit: PatrickSheltra.com.

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Series ARCA
Drivers John Hayden , Jeremy Clements , Patrick Sheltra