After a successful first day of ARCA RE/MAX Series pre-season testing at Daytona International Speedway (DIS), junior-bound ARCA driver Patrick Sheltra returned to the track for the second of a three day test session. Early morning fog stalled ...
After a successful first day of ARCA RE/MAX Series pre-season testing at Daytona International Speedway (DIS), junior-bound ARCA driver Patrick Sheltra returned to the track for the second of a three day test session. Early morning fog stalled practice for thirty minutes before Sheltra aboard his Sheltra Motorsports No. 60A Dodge Charger joined the other 40 plus teams in attendance for the February 7 season opener, the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona.
In the morning session, Sheltra, the 22-year old Indiantown, Florida native clocked off the third fastest lap with a time of 49.81 seconds at 180.676 miles per hour. Sheltra held the top spot (first) for a majority of the two and a half hour session.
Three of Sheltra's actual five on-track lap times were run in the 49-second bracket and the Whitesville, Kentucky-based team was the first to post times in the 49-second bracket range Saturday morning.
The afternoon session looked much liked the morning with Sheltra at the controls of the field after setting a blistering fast drafting time early with a time of 48.954 seconds at 183.846 miles per hour. The avid hunter set his fastest time on lap three of his afternoon practice session. The No. 60A Dodge Charger was the only machine to crack the 48-second bracket around the legendary 2.5-mile speedway Saturday afternoon. Second fastest JR Fitzpatrick (No. 71 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS) was 0.229 seconds slower than Sheltra.
The team's single-car runs Saturday afternoon would have easily negotiated a top-five starting position in this past February's ARCA 200 at Daytona.
In the final minutes of practice, Sheltra took the team's second car No. 60B out for drafting producing a lap time of 49.863 seconds at 180.495 miles per hour landing in the top-25 overall.
Here are some quotes and notes from today's session:
PATRICK SHELTRA, NO. 60A PATRICKSHELTRA.COM DODGE CHARGER:
SHELTRA: (ON FRIDAY'S SESSION) "It was a good day for the Sheltra Motorsports team. We worked on our "back-up car" a bunch on Friday and we were able to move from 14th fastest to third fastest by the afternoon. I just have to thank my guys. They have worked their tails off since Toledo making sure our restrictor plate cars are top-notch. It's showing."
SHELTRA: (ON SATURDAY'S MORNING SESSION) "It was awesome. It was really nice to see our number at the top of the charts for a long while. We'll keep digging. I again can't say enough about my guys, our marketing partners and everyone that has helped prepare our cars for Daytona. We have some great Dodge steam under the hood and our efforts this weekend have me very excited about the race in February."
SHELTRA: (ON SATURDAY'S AFTERNOON DRAFTING SESSION) "We weren't planning on drafting right away but we found ourselves right in the thick of the draft in our first three laps on the track and the car drafted brilliantly. We just wanted to make sure it could suck up. It did that and more. I can't take credit for everything. These guys that work on these racecars are the best and it's because of their hard work that we're sitting atop of the charts."
SHELTRA: (ON SATURDAY'S AFTERNOON NON-DRAFTING SESSION) "The car is still real good even by itself. The times we were running would have put us solidly in the top-five (qualifying) here in February. We're fast by ourselves and in the draft and those are the two main components to restrictor plate racing."
SHELTRA: (YOU SPENT THE WEEK WITH RENOWED DIRT DRIVER SHANNON BABB. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?) "Shannon and his wife came down to our ranch in Texas this week and they spent some time with us before I headed out for the test. We're going to join forces on the dirt side in 2009 and we're all excited about it. He can win races, he's proven it. To unite our two banners under one roof will be electrifying. Talking to him a lot about racing this week I think has helped my confidence a bunch. He's going to come to some of our races when he's not competing on the dirt so it will be nice to have him on the same side of the fence."
SHELTRA: (ON THE LUCAS OIL SLICK MIST 200 AT DAYTONA BEING CONSIDERED A HOMETOWN RACE) "We ran exceptionally well here at Daytona last year and got trapped a lap down on a controversial call but we rebounded to finish in the top-15. To come back a year later and to say the bar hasn't been raised is an understatement. We know how important and crucial these restrictor plate races are and that's why we've put a lot of emphasis on them. With the race being a home-town race for me it puts a little extra pressure on me but I would be lying if I said it wasn't exciting. We'll have plenty of support at home and in the stands and as a driver, you can't ask for much more than that."
SHELTRA: (ON MAKING THE SWITCH FROM CHEVROLET TO DODGE FOR DAYTONA) "So far it really appears the move has paid off for us. I'm really excited about running the Dodge banner in 2009. We had some monstrous success with them last year and almost gave them a win on the dirt, but I know as a team we've continued to work on strengthening our team for next season. Our goal for Daytona is to come back in February and be in contention and put our team and marketing partners in position to win the first race of the year."
SHELTRA: (ON CAR NO. 60A) "This thing is bulletproof (laughs)." It's a real good car. It's the same car that we finished fifth with at Talladega Superspeedway in October. We also raced this same car at Daytona in February. Converting it over to Dodge doesn't seem to have an effect on it. It's fast, that's the bottom line!"
SHELTRA: (ON CAR NO. 60B) "It's been a while since this car has had any track time but it's a good piece. We last raced this car at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2007. I was very pleased with its performance on Friday and I know that should the unthinkable happen with our primary car, we still have another car that we can contend with. Changing this car over to Dodge as well has had little side effects."
SHELTRA: (ON SUNDAY'S PLANS:) "Good question. I don't really know what the scoop is for Sunday. I think we'll try and do some single runs in the morning and then maybe draft in the afternoon. We're so good right now, we don't want to take any chances."
SHELTRA: (OUTLOOK ON THE 2009 ARCA RE/MAX SERIES SEASON) "We are looking forward to next year. We've taken a different approach to the season and believe me we don't plan to hold anything back. The guys are excited and our marketing partners are ready for victory lane. I really believe that 2009 is our year to the win the ARCA championship!"
SHELTRA: (ON PLANS FOR CHRISTMAS) "I'm flying back to Texas on Monday morning, so I'll spend Christmas with the family before making the hike back to Florida after New Year's."