Illinois: Patrick Sheltra race report

Top-Five Run Stalled For Patrick Sheltra At Springfield "Sheltra Motorsports Continues Strong Performances; Lacking Luck" SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (August 18, 2008) - - Patrick Sheltra looked well on his way to his second top-five finish of the...

Top-Five Run Stalled For Patrick Sheltra At Springfield
"Sheltra Motorsports Continues Strong Performances; Lacking Luck"

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (August 18, 2008) - - Patrick Sheltra looked well on his way to his second top-five finish of the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, but a flat tire inside 10 laps remaining forced a late-race pit stop with Sheltra rebounding with a 12th place finish in Sunday's Allen Crowe 100.

Sheltra, the 22-year old Indiantown, Florida native returned to his third career ARCA RE/MAX Series dirt track looking to back up his impressive third place finish in last year's Allen Crowe 100. Bringing a Dodge Charger to the track this weekend, Sheltra and his Whitesville, Kentucky Sheltra Motorsports team had high hopes for the 15th race of the season.

The one-day show started on a strong note for Sheltra as immediately in practice, Sheltra went to second on the speed charts in his first completed lap. Whipping his No. 60 Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Dodge Charger around the 1.0-mile clay oval to a time of 34.157 seconds at 105.396 would see the Grace Sheltra-owned automobile land 11th in the final practice rundown, but Sheltra wasn't fazed.

"The track picked up speed and we were focusing on our qualifying setup, so that's why we slipped in the rundown," offered the dirt track ace. "Our car is very stable and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the day."

Drawing 20th in ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, Sheltra nailed the throttle and began preparing for his one-lap hustle around the Springfield, Illinois racetrack. During his qualifying lap, Sheltra's machine showed serious power but the window net unlatched itself causing the sophomore driver to get distracted. Despite the hiccup, Sheltra nailed the 11th fastest position.

"We left a little out their on the table," Sheltra noted. "The guys had the window net up, but it unlatched itself for whatever reason. One of those things that you don't expect to happen. The guys are working on it to make sure we don't have any issues for the race. We'll take 11th and go to the front."

Taking the green flag shortly after 1:15 p.m., Sheltra immediately showcased his dirt track by maneuvering into the top-10 by the conclusion of lap number one. Settling in his comfort zone by lap five, Sheltra's machine started picking up speed as the fuel began to diminish and Sheltra had moved into the seventh position by lap 20 with the yellow flag flying two laps later for a two-car incident.

The Sheltra Motorsports team along with the rest of the field took the opportunity under the caution to make their mandatory pit stop consisting of topping off the fuel and removing two strips of tape to cool off the motor. The quick work of the team allowed Sheltra to reenter the racetrack fourth on the board and looking to move into podium territory.

On the restart, Sheltra continued to hover inside the top-five but quickly make the move into the third but would be overpowered by another competitor a short time later forcing the avid hunter to hold the fourth position.

Through the halfway point, Sheltra would show consistency and continue to hold a comfortable position in the top-five.

Inside 20 laps remaining, Sheltra was still looking stout with the goal of locking his second top-five finish of the season but radioed to his team that his car was getting a "loose" feeling.

Hugging his position in the top-five, Sheltra's stellar day would take a turn as on a restart inside 10 circuits remaining saw the No. 60 go backwards in the running order with Sheltra reporting to his crew that the car did not take off and he felt like he had a tire going down.

Sheltra's instinct proved to be true forcing the second-year driver to relinquish his top-10 run and bring his machine to pit road for two tires. Restarting 17th, Sheltra would have just a handful of laps to move through the field and look for his seventh top-10 finish of the season.

On the restart, Sheltra moved into the 14th position and continue to hustle before being halted for another yellow flag. With a green-white-checkered on the line, Sheltra gave it everything he had, picking off two more positions to take 12th, his third straight top-12 finish.

"We had a top-five car today," said Sheltra. "Every time we seem like we're going to have a great day, bad luck always strikes. I'm proud of my Sheltra Motorsports team for giving me a great racecar. Our performance was stellar compared to the finishing result. Also want to thank our marketing partners for their continued support, our time is coming. We'll go get them in DuQuoin."

Sheltra maintains 10th in the championship standings with just five events remaining on the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series calendar.

-credit: PatrickSheltra.com.

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Series ARCA
Drivers Patrick Sheltra