Patrick Sheltra Splashes To A Top-10 Finish At Palm Beach "Indiantown Native Leaves PBIR With Points Lead In Sights" JUPITER, Florida (March 1, 2010) - - Indiantown, Florida native Patrick Sheltra approached Saturday's race at Palm Beach (Fla.)...
Patrick Sheltra Splashes To A Top-10 Finish At Palm Beach
"Indiantown Native Leaves PBIR With Points Lead In Sights"
JUPITER, Florida (March 1, 2010) - - Indiantown, Florida native Patrick Sheltra approached Saturday's race at Palm Beach (Fla.) International Raceway optimistic but after everything that his Sheltra Motorsports team experienced throughout the weekend, the team was satisfied with their performance in Saturday's Tire Kingdom 150 presented by ModSpace.
Attention was surrounding the 23-year old Floridian approaching the ARCA Racing Series second event of the season. With the 2.034-mile road course sitting just 15 minutes from his home in Indiantown, the media frenzy was high and even the garage and stands were packed with "Sheltra Nation."
Armed with the same road course car that Sheltra utilized for the two past seasons at New Jersey Motorsports Park, the Mooresville, North Carolina based team was hoping to keep their early season surge alive.
In practice on Friday, the team led by crew chief Jon Wolfe made several changes to Sheltra's No. 60 Recycling Services-Sheltra & Son Construction Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS looking for the ideal setup that would put their hometown hero in contention for his second career win on Saturday.
The team's goals would be sidetracked briefly as Sheltra during practice accidentally missed a gear and over-revved the motor for a quick second. The team would be in lengthy discussions following practice whether or not to change the motor or keep the same one in place. After examining what they could - - the team decided to keep the same motor in but missed the in-line time for pre-qualifying technical inspection which penalized the team by making them start the event from the rear of the field, no matter where they qualified.
The purpose of qualifying was to obtain a respectable pit box on pit road and put the motor through another rigorous test with Sheltra making lefts and rights and shifting through the gears several times. He qualified 12th.
"We'll make the race exciting," said Sheltra after qualifying. "The car is fast and the motor doesn't seem hurt, so we'll be okay for the race."
Under gloomy skies, Sheltra and the rest of the field took the green flag shortly after 1:00 p.m. with Mr. Showtime quickly on the move in his black and green Chevrolet.
By the time Sheltra crossed the line completing the first lap he has passed 12 competitors. While continuing to mount an impressive charge through the field -- his charge would be stalled when Sheltra made an improper turn on the course which yielded a pass-through penalty.
Despite the setback, Sheltra continued to move back through the field before rain began to fall around the Jupiter, Florida-based track 20 laps into the event. Wolfe would call his driver to pit road when ARCA officials through the yellow flag two laps later to allow the team to switch from Hoosier slicks to Hoosier wets. The pit stop would also allow some time to make some adjustments to prepare to compete in the rain.
Back on track with rain falling, Sheltra would take the green flag in the 19th position, Sheltra was impressive in the rain as he maneuvered the field to as high as seventh before sliding back through the field after some tire wear on his Grace Sheltra owned automobile.
With an impressive green flag run in the rain, Wolfe would bring his driver to pit road under green in the final stages of the event for rear tires and some Sunoco racing fuel. Sheltra would lose a lap under the green flag pit stop as the leaders who were more experienced on a road course in wet conditions would take the ARCA pro from the lead circuit.
The team would not be fazed by the loss of the lead lap status as Sheltra continued to inch up the leader board. Inside the final 10 laps of the event, the rain began to pick up more fiercely forcing ARCA officials to the throw the yellow flag with seven laps to go for the final time. The very next lap the yellow and white flags would be waived together -- shortening the race by a mere five circuits.
With no vision from the windshield of his machine, Sheltra relied on his spotters located throughout the track to guide him through the other cars stopped on the racetrack not to mention the constant downpour to cross the finish line 10th, his second consecutive top-10 finish this season.
"We had a good day overall," said Sheltra. "We started from the back, went to the front and then came from the middle of the pack to the top-10 again. It was a busy day that's for sure, but we made it through and we're content with the finish."
When it comes to racing in the rain, Sheltra was mixed. "The tires did real good in the rain. They wear just like every other tire we race on in the ARCA Racing Series. But, overall they did great and it was nice to know how they would handle if we have to race in the rain at New Jersey later in the year."
With his second consecutive top-10 finish of the year, Sheltra is only joined by Steve Arpin who has also finished in the top-10 in both events from Daytona International Speedway and Palm Beach International Raceway this season.
With his 24th career top-10 finish in ARCA, Sheltra leaves PBIR unofficially fourth in points, five markers behind Arpin and Robb Brent. Just 35 credits keep Sheltra from the point's lead retained by Palm Beach winner Justin Marks.
-source: sheltra motorsports