Patrick Sheltra Turns Away From New Jersey With Top-10 Finish MILLVILLE, New Jersey (September 15, 2009) - - A couple of minor off-course excursions may have cost Patrick Sheltra a lead lap finish in Sunday's The South Jersey Building Trades 150...
Patrick Sheltra Turns Away From New Jersey With Top-10 Finish
MILLVILLE, New Jersey (September 15, 2009) - - A couple of minor off-course excursions may have cost Patrick Sheltra a lead lap finish in Sunday's The South Jersey Building Trades 150 but it wasn't enough to keep Sheltra from capturing a solid seventh place finish in just his second career road course race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
After qualifying a noteworthy eighth on Saturday afternoon, the Sheltra team buckled down on strategy entering Sunday's event.
From the drop of the green flag, Sheltra quickly throttled forward through the competitive field and had moved into the top-five inside the first five laps complete.
Setting safely in the top-five, Sheltra had moved into the second position when the first full-course caution waived approaching lap 30. A trip to pit road for four tires and fuel saw the Sheltra Motorsports gang bolt off a brilliant pit stop which put Sheltra back solidly in the top-10 with the urge to move back to the front.
On the restart, Sheltra quickly began mowing down his competition but a daring move on the track would cost Sheltra several positions as the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS went for a quick spin.
Quickly refiring his machine, Sheltra would fall to the last car of the lead lap. Obviously discouraged with his move, Sheltra was driving extra hard to try and catch the competition ahead of him before another slip would send Sheltra off-course but quickly escape the dirt and rejoin the field.
Many laps later, the leaders would catch Sheltra and the Indiantown, Florida native would do an excellent job but his in-experience at road course racing would prove to be no match for the pros and the leaders would out-brake the Buffalo Wings & Rings Racing machine and erase Sheltra from the lead lap. Vying for the lucky dog, the avid hunter would find himself battling with nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel for the Lucky Dog award.
Despite a gallant effort to catch Kimmel, just the second yellow flag of the day would come out inside 10 laps remaining meaning that Kimmel was ineligible for the Lucky Dog putting the duo on the same lap.
A call by Hayden brought the car down pit road for four tires and a splash of gas proved to be the right one as on the restart, Sheltra was easily able to overtake the No. 44 Ford Fusion and move into the seventh position. Over the final four laps, the No. 81 of Craig Goess tried to overtake the third-year ARCA competitor but Sheltra was able to fend off the challenge and collect his eighth top-10 finish of the year.
"I messed up, I was just trying to hard," said Sheltra after the race. "I apologized to my guys but the bright side is we were still able to walk away with a top-10 finish. Realistically, we had a fifth to seventh place car, so I'm pretty happy to take away a good effort on a road course. A little redemption from last year's race at NJMP too."
With his run on Sunday, Sheltra was able to move up into the seventh position in the ARCA RE/MAX Series standings and now sits just 135 markers from entering the top-five. "It's without a doubt realistic that we can finish inside the top-five. We just need these next three races to go our way."
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a return trip to Salem Speedway. Sheltra is the most recent race winner at the half-mile oval. In April, Sheltra answered his return to ARCA RE/MAX Series competition after a vicious incident in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway with his first career victory in his 48th career ARCA start.
Exiting New Jersey, Sheltra has 64 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with one career victory at Salem Speedway (April 2009). During his ARCA tenure, Sheltra has accumulated 10 top-fives and posted 22 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.