Nashville: Patrick Sheltra race report

Obstacles Can't Keep Sheltra Motorsports From Top-10 Finish At Nashville LEBANON, Tennessee (August 11, 2008) - - Sheltra Motorsports endured their fair share of obstacles this past weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, but those obstacles would...

Obstacles Can't Keep Sheltra Motorsports From Top-10 Finish At Nashville

LEBANON, Tennessee (August 11, 2008) - - Sheltra Motorsports endured their fair share of obstacles this past weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, but those obstacles would prove to be no match for the second-year ARCA RE/MAX Series team as driver Patrick Sheltra would persevere and bring home a top-10 finish in last Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150.

Returning to the track for the third time in his ARCA career, the 22-year old driver was looking to change his luck at the 1.33-mile concrete facility. After enduring a tough finish in the spring of 2007, Sheltra bounced back with a top-15 finish last August. Knowing that experience has paid off in his sophomore season of competition, Sheltra was leaning on that fact heading into the 14th race of the season.

The weekend didn't start off to keen for the Whitesville, Kentucky based team. At the beginning of practice, Sheltra successfully mounted his No. 60 Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Dodge Charger into the top-15. The run would be short lived as exiting turn four on a practice run, Sheltra lost the grip of his racecar causing the machine to slap the wall in turn four.

The contact wasn't severe but good enough to pull-out the backup machine heading into ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying Saturday morning.

"I'm not worried, we'll be okay," said Sheltra, after the incident. "The car just took off in the corner and into the wall I went. The damage isn't heavy but enough to send it to the house. We don't have any laps on the backup car before qualifying, but it is the same piece we tested with last month. I'm confident that the Sheltra Motorsports bunch will have it in tip-top shape come Saturday morning.

Drawing the 10th position for ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, Sheltra knew he had to take it easy during his two-lap qualifying run but also lay down a lap that would keep his Grace Sheltra-owned machine near the front.

During his two-lap time trials run, Sheltra maneuvered his Dodge Charger to a lap of 30.153 seconds at 159.148 MPH, landing the team 16th on the starting grid.

"All things considered, we're happy with that," noted Sheltra following qualifying. "The car seems real stable and it might even be a little better than the primary. Our goal now is to head to the front and stay there."

At the start of the TOYOTA ARCA 150, Sheltra hovered safely in the top-15 and had worked his way into the 12th position when the first caution flag waived on one for a two-car incident in turn four. Remaining quiet on the radio, Sheltra was focused on the group ahead of him.

On the restart, Sheltra's charge would again be short lived as another competitor lost control in turn two bringing out the second yellow flag of the event in just the first seven laps. Ready for some green flag action, Sheltra reported to crew chief John Hayden that his car was good, he was just riding.

Back to racing, Sheltra would have to endure one more yellow flag before he found himself in a long-green flag run with the rest of the field. During the run, Sheltra had knocked on the door of the top-10 and had moved into the 10th position approaching lap 25.

A side-by-side battle with the No. 09 of John Wes Townley would prove to be one of the fierce battles on the track with the two drivers trading the position back and forth on several occasions. Eventually, the No. 09 would win the battle with Sheltra holding strong in 11th.

The caution would waive just short of halfway allowing the opportunity for the Sheltra Motorsports team to go to work. Sheltra asked for no changes as his machine was neutral. Four tires and fuel were the order of the stop with the team performing flawlessly. Sheltra reemerged in the 10th position.

Under the caution, Sheltra reported to his team that there was smoke inside the cockpit. Unsure of the source of the smoke, Sheltra was advised to bring his machine to the attention of his crew where the team went under the hood and tightened the power steering fluid line.

Sheltra keyed the radio and announced that the smoke had disappeared just in time for Sheltra to take the green-flag.

Over the course of the next 50 circuits, Sheltra would climb in the running order to as high as ninth before slipping back to 13th when the yellow flag waived with 10 laps remaining.

Under the caution, Hayden saw the opportunity with just five cars behind Sheltra on the lead lap to duck down pit road and slap four new Hoosier tires and add fuel with Sheltra emerging back on the track with some of the freshest rubber on the circuit.

The call paid off.

Working his way back to 11th, Sheltra would take advantage of a green-white-checkered finish to move up one position in the running order to grab the 10th position, his best finish at Nashville Superspeedway.

"We had to work for that one," said Sheltra, who completed all 117 circuits. "We thought we were having some issues with the power steering or brake fluid but under review we diagnosed the problem was with an oil leak after the race. I have to give our engine builder Greg Iossi credit for building a great motor that stuck together despite the leak. I'm really proud of the Sheltra Motorsports team. We had a tough weekend but the guys never gave up and we bounced back from some adversity to record a 10th place finish. We'll take it."

With his top-10 finish at Nashville Superspeedway, Sheltra set a new season record by posting six top-10 finishes in a single season. Last year, in his inaugural season of competition, Sheltra racked up two top-fives and five top-10 finishes. Thus far in 2008, Sheltra has amassed one top-five and six top-10s in 14 events.

Even with the solid performance at Nashville, Sheltra slipped to 10th in the championship standings but only stands a mere 25 points from moving into ninth and 110 markers from the sixth position.

-credit: PatrickSheltra.com.

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers John Hayden , Patrick Sheltra , John Wes Townley