Persistence Pays Off For Patrick Sheltra & Co. In Iowa "Never Give Up Attitude Yields First Top-10 Finish Of 2008" NEWTON, Iowa (April 21, 2008) - - Not even a soggy weekend at Iowa Speedway could keep Patrick Sheltra and his Whitesville, ...
Persistence Pays Off For Patrick Sheltra & Co. In Iowa
"Never Give Up Attitude Yields First Top-10 Finish Of 2008"
NEWTON, Iowa (April 21, 2008) - - Not even a soggy weekend at Iowa Speedway could keep Patrick Sheltra and his Whitesville, Kentucky team from a top-10 finish in Saturday's Prairie Meadows 250.
After Mother Nature invaded the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour for a second consecutive week; persistent rain showers forced the cancellation of ARCA practice on Friday at the .875-mile paved oval. With the voidance of practice ARCA officials were forced to set the starting grid based on 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series car owner point's; positioning the team eighth on the starting grid.
When teams arrived on Saturday morning, the track was still drenched but operating officials were in full-force trying to dry the Newton, Iowa facility. A very short practice was given to the team's Saturday morning opting to give the teams an opportunity to log some laps before the start of the third event of the season.
[IMAGE]Sheltra logged the 23rd fastest time during the session but quickly notated that his No. 60 Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS was solid. "We were not 100 percent," Sheltra said. "The car is fine, but everyone was taking it real easy out on the track. It was incredibly green with all of the rain and there were a couple of slick spots, but I'm happy with the performance of the car. We're starting up front and that's important towards gathering a good finish."
At the start of the 250-lap event, Sheltra quickly inched his machine into the top-five by lap two and continued to hold that position until early handling issues would slide the 21-year old talent back through the running order.
Maintaining his position inside the top-12, the first caution flag would waive on lap 28 with Sheltra reporting to crew chief John Hayden that his car was "spinning" coming out of the corners. Hayden acknowledged his request calling for four tires, fuel and two rounds in the rear as a chassis adjustment to help Sheltra's handling issue.
Restarting 12th, Sheltra would hover just outside the top-10 over the next series of 50 circuits. Reporting to his Sheltra Motorsports team his car was still "loose" the late model dirt ace would change his line around Iowa Speedway which would show in Sheltra's lap times which would continue to strengthen as the race charged along.
The exceptionally clean ARCA race would put several cars off the lead lap and Sheltra would lose a lap to the leaders despite running in the top-12 approaching lap 72. The caution flag would waive just four laps later but Sheltra was the second car a lap down making him illegible for the "free pass" back on the lead circuit.
The sophomore ARCA team would not have to wait long to ream the benefits of the "lucky dog" as on the next caution on lap 81, Sheltra would find himself back on the lead circuit.
Sometimes rewards means concessions and as the beneficiary of the "lucky dog", the lead lap car must start at the tail-end of the longest line which consisted of a huge line of lap-down machines which would put Sheltra clear towards the rear of the field.
The amount of heavy traffic would hinder Sheltra as it took longer than expected for the No. 60 to move through the congested field which would find the Indiantown, Florida native falling off the lead circuit again.
Luckily, the yellow flag would fly on lap 131 with Sheltra again being the recipient of the "lucky dog." Returning to the lead circuit for the second time of the day, Sheltra would find himself holding the 10th position.
Having to go through again just what he accomplished could have spelled disaster for Sheltra but he emerged like a veteran and was able to line up with the lead group after a lap 163 caution. Electing to stay out which move Sheltra back into the top-five right behind fellow competitor Bryan Silas.
Sheltra would maintain his spot inside the top-five before being overtaken by competitors with fresher Hoosier rubber. Another yellow flag inside fifty laps remaining would allow the Sheltra Motorsports team to bring their No. 60 to pit road for last minute adjustments and a final shot to return to the top-five.
On the final run of the day, Sheltra tried to maneuver through the field but instead was forced to fight for every position on the race track including a nice battle with fellow Floridian Bryan Silas. A vibration would keep Sheltra at bay crossing the line ninth notching the team's first top-10 finish of the year.
"We're real happy with the finish," said Sheltra, who recorded his sixth career top-10 finish in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Saturday. "While we were glad to receive the lucky dog award twice, it really is a lot of work for the teams to battle back into the lead group. Other than that, it was a good clean solid weekend which is what we need to keep doing to stay in the championship chase. I'm really proud of everyone on the Sheltra Motorsports team for all their efforts and they are a big reason we finished in the top-10."
With his ninth place finish, Sheltra maintains sixth in the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship point standings heading into Friday's Kansas Lottery $150 Grand at Kansas Speedway. Sheltra did however gain ground on fifth and fourth place runners Tom Hessert III and John Wes Townley respectively.