Illinois: Patrick Sheltra race report

Patrick Sheltra Stuns Springfield Field With ARCA Victory "Sheltra Vaults Mangled No. 60 Dodge To Second Career Win" SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (August 22, 2010) - - Where did he come from? That was the most asked question in the ARCA Racing Series...

Patrick Sheltra Stuns Springfield Field With ARCA Victory

"Sheltra Vaults Mangled No. 60 Dodge To Second Career Win"

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (August 22, 2010) - - Where did he come from? That was the most asked question in the ARCA Racing Series (ARS) presented by RE/MAX and Menards garage following the running of Sunday afternoon's Allen Crowe 100 after "Mr. Showtime" a.k.a. Patrick Sheltra blasted past the front-runners on a late race restart to lead the final 15 laps of the 14th ARCA event of the season and claim his second career victory.

Sheltra arrived at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in a great mood knowing he was returning to his original racing roots of dirt -- not to mention having a pretty healthy overall record at the one-mile clay oval. After finishing third on two of his three previous Springfield occasions, the 24-year old was determined to put his Sheltra Motorsports team in victory circle.

The Indiantown, Florida native was the first to tackle the track on Sunday morning and quickly mounted his No. 60 Sheltra Motorsports Dodge Charger to the top of the speed charts before eventually landing in the third position overall in the short one hour practice session. Sheltra complained of a loose condition on his Chrysler nameplate with crew chief Jon Wolfe quickly going to work and adjusting the team's machine in order to prepare for Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying which began an hour after practice had concluded. Going out 16th, Sheltra maneuvered at the time the fourth fastest lap only to be dropped one position by pole-sitter Steve Arpin to start the event from the inside of row number three or fifth. Sheltra though disappointed with the qualifying run was confident in his car's capabilities by reminding his crew, "it doesn't matter where you start; it matters where you finish."

At the start of the 100-lap shootout, Sheltra quickly put the moves on fourth place runner Justin Marks before settling in a comfortable position inside the top-five before the first round of pit stops cycled under caution on lap 27.

Sheltra reported to his team that his car was tight from the center off which resulted in Wolfe calling for a chassis adjustment, four new Hoosier tires and fuel. The top-10 starters on the restart each played different pit strategies which made the restart exciting -- but breathtaking at the same time.

By lap 37, Sheltra had moved into the sixth position and rose to fifth by lap 41.

However, just 16 laps later, Sheltra's day took a dramatic turn. Trying to negotiate past a group of lap down machines, Sheltra lost control of his automobile in turn three and slapped the outside retaining wall. Able to re-fire his machine, the ARCA pro brought his car to the attention of his team for new tires and damage control which consisted of heavy-rear damage. Despite the car's outside character, Sheltra quickly answered his critics questions on whether or not the No. 60 would be able to return to contention mode. In a matter of four laps, the question had been answered as the all camouflage decked out Dodge Charger would roar back into the top-10. However, just as the team felt like their day was heading back in the right direction a gaggle of cars came together on the backstretch on lap 64 which included the No. 60 of Sheltra. Despite now battling front-end damage, the avid hunter was able to keep his car on the lead lap and escape another round of damage control on pit road and restart the race in the 13th position.

Methodically, Sheltra was able to weave his way back into the top-10 and sat eighth on an impending restart on lap 91. However, Sheltra's attentiveness and aggressiveness on the restart in an unopened outside lane left the field in complete disarray and the grandstands in an uproar chant.As leaders Ron Cox and Mikey Kile came to the green flag, Sheltra made a legal move to the outside of his competition and stormed his mangled No. 60 into the top-spot by the entry of turn one. He would be credited with officially leading the field on lap 92 after passing seven vehicles on the initial restart and was able to stretch his lead and put his family-owned piece on cruise control until the yellow flag flew after Sheltra took the white flag when second and third place competitors Cox and Kile locked horns in turn one.

Sheltra, known for his enthusiastic personality was silent on the radio as he was concentrating on the biggest restart of his racing career, thus far. With words of encouragement from spotter Timmy McKichan and Wolfe on the one-to-go signal, Sheltra keyed the radio and said, "boys, this one's for you!"

With the green and white flags waiving together, Sheltra circled the Illinois State Fairgrounds perfectly and held off Mikey Kile to claim his second career ARCA Racing Series victory in his 81st attempt. The race would be extended from its original 100 lap distance to 106 circuits allowing the four-year ARCA team to continue an impressive season which has consisted of one win, seven top-fives and 11 top-10s in 14 races.

Sheltra scored his inaugural victory at Salem (Ind.) Speedway in April 2009 after recovering from injuries sustained in a vicious and near career-ending incident in the season-opening Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway just six weeks earlier.

"Man, I don't know what to say," said the jubilant driver in victory lane. "I have to thank everyone on this Sheltra Motorsports team. I did a bone head move about 50 laps into the race. I went on the outside of a lapped car and I thought it cost us the race today. It almost destroyed the car; I backed it into the fence. We came back in and fixed it up a little bit.We knew the tow was out.Then we got in the other wreck; I think Arpin had a flat and it got them balled up off of two over there. We just came through it you know and got hit again.The fender was beat in and everything.We came back down pit road and fixed it up. We just proved that when you put your mind to it; anything is possible."

"These guys work so hard and we've been so close several times this year, it just feels good to finally seal the deal," Sheltra continued on the win. "This has been one of my goals since I came to the ARCA Racing Series in 2007 to win a dirt race. We finally accomplished that today. I can't thank the guys enough; we're going to be celebrating tonight for sure!" [IMAGE]

When asked about his powerful move to the lead on the second-to-last restart, Sheltra stated, "The green was out and they started to check up in front of me, so I went to the high side and the next thing I knew I was leading. I wasn't worried that I did anything wrong, because I knew I didn't. From there, I was just focused on winning the race.

I can't thank everyone enough who helps keep this team going. Recycling Services, Ferguson Pipe, CAM 2 Blue Blood Racing Oil, Martin County Petroleum, Speed Media, DMC Graphics, our other affiliates and especially and most importantly my parents. The first win was awesome, but this win feels just as good."

The NASCAR bound driver concluded by saying, "we left the hood bare for a reason this weekend. We wanted to let everyone know that we have a good home to bring on another great marketing partner. One thing is for sure, I think you'll see an announcement or two in the near future and I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the year!"

With his triumph on Sunday afternoon, Sheltra unofficially moves up to fourth in the ARCA Racing Series championship chase, 40 markers in the arrear to nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel for the top spot. Before Springfield, Sheltra sat 95-points behind the long-time ARCA veteran and thanks to his dramatic win; he was able to chop 55 points off his initial deficit. 30 credits keep Sheltra from moving into third now held by former points leader Craig Goess. Just 35 tallies separate Sheltra from second held by Cherry Hill New Jersey's Tom Hessert. Sheltra became the 13th different winner in 14 races this year in the 1,307 race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards since it was formed in 1953.

Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards is their annual trip to Chicagoland Speedway for the running of the Ansell Protective Gloves 150.

-source: sheltra motorsports

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Ron Cox , Justin Marks , Tom Hessert , Patrick Sheltra , Steve Arpin , Mikey Kile , Craig Goess