Patrick Sheltra Overcomes Adversity To Notch Top-15 Finish At Iowa "Sheltra Motorsports Fights Hard For Solid Finish" NEWTON, Iowa (July 13, 2009) - - Patrick Sheltra overcame a spin and a flat tire during Saturday night's Prairie Meadows 200 at...
Patrick Sheltra Overcomes Adversity To Notch Top-15 Finish At Iowa
"Sheltra Motorsports Fights Hard For Solid Finish"
NEWTON, Iowa (July 13, 2009) - - Patrick Sheltra overcame a spin and a flat tire during Saturday night's Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway to finish 14th in his third trip to the Newton, Iowa race track. The finish put the Whitesville, Kentucky based team back on the right path after suffering misfortune in the two previous races leading up to the 10th race of the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series season.
The veteran ARCA team tested at the .875-mile speed plant last week hoping to put Sheltra in contention for his second win of the season but like the team found out during the test and race weekend, handling would be critical to a positive finish.
In practice, Sheltra posted the 16th fastest effort after maneuvering his No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger around the track in 24.335 seconds at 129.443 miles per hour. While the result was the team's best lap of the day, Sheltra informed his team that he had a vibration.
Unable to determine the exact source and to be better safe than sorry, the Sheltra Motorsports team led by crew chief John Hayden went to work extracting the gear and transmission on Friday before making the decision on Saturday afternoon to change engines prior to qualifying.
In qualifying, Sheltra laid down a lap of 24.305 seconds or 129.603 miles per hour, nearly identical to his practice speed. The effort lined the No. 60 automobile 18th on the starting grid. Sheltra described his qualifying lap as loose but felt that it would pay dividends during the 200-lap event. On a more positive note, Sheltra enlightened his organization that the vibration he had been experiencing the day before was gone.
From the drop of the green flag, Sheltra's machine began motoring to the front. With a confident driver behind the wheel, the lap times were comparable to the top-five positions with Sheltra continuing to inch his way up the leader board.
During the course of the event, Sheltra's machine began to suffer handling woes forcing the Indiantown, Florida native to change his line around the Iowa Speedway to adapt to his car's capability. Despite the setback, Sheltra remained on the lead lap -- amidst a torrid pace by the leaders.
A caution inside the final 50 circuits of the event allowed Sheltra to duck down to pit road for a set of Hoosier Racing tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to counteract the handling challenges Sheltra was facing.
Hovering in the 11th position, Sheltra's machine broke loose four laps after the restart with Sheltra taking an innocent spin through the frontstretch bringing out the yellow flag. Sheltra re-fired his machine and returned to competition still on the lead lap. After a trip to pit road, Sheltra returned to competition hoping to pick up the two positions he lost because of the spin.
Despite his gallant effort, Sheltra's night would take a blow as the right front tire gave way inside the race's final 15 circuits throwing out another caution flag for the field. Sheltra brought his Grace Sheltra owned machine to pit road for a change of right side tires and damage control before his team returned the 23-year old to competition one lap off the pace.
A chance at the Aaron's Lucky Dog "free pass" would never come to fruitation forcing Sheltra to solider home to the 14th position. The finish is Sheltra's best finish in a month since finishing third at Pocono Raceway on June 6.
"We would have liked a top-10, but we'll take a top-15, especially after the night we experienced and the way our luck has been lately," said Sheltra. "We had a pretty good car; the track conditions kept changing which threw off the handling of the racecar. We battled back the best we could and we'll take this and move on to a big race at Kentucky and hope for a great night under the lights."
Sheltra's never give-up attitude also put his No. 60 on the top-10 board and kept the team's streak of running in the top-10 at one point or another during an ARCA RE/MAX Series event alive to 33 consecutive races.
Exiting Iowa, Sheltra has 56 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with one career victory at Salem Speedway (April 2009). During his ARCA tenure, Sheltra has accumulated nine top-fives and posted 18 top-10 finishes. A third place qualifying effort at Rockingham Speedway (April 2009) is Sheltra's best time trials efforts to date. He has controlled the ARCA field five times for 109 laps.
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the second of three consecutive races under the lights with a return trip to Kentucky Speedway for the running of the Click It Or Ticket. Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 at Kentucky Speedway. The race, the 11th of 21 installments on the 2009 ARCA schedule is set for Saturday, July 18th with the green flag scheduled to waive just after 9:30 p.m. local live on SPEED. In May, Sheltra finished sixth propelling the driver to his third top-10 finish at the 1.5-mile speedway.