After rain washed away the second official open test of the season for the ARCA RE/MAX Series yesterday, Mother Nature cooperated Friday with blue skies and plenty of sunshine allowing several ARCA RE/MAX Series teams to tackle the 1.5-mile speed...
After rain washed away the second official open test of the season for the ARCA RE/MAX Series yesterday, Mother Nature cooperated Friday with blue skies and plenty of sunshine allowing several ARCA RE/MAX Series teams to tackle the 1.5-mile speed plant of Kansas Speedway in preparation for the fourth race of the season, the Kansas Lottery $150 Grand on Friday, April 25th.
The series returns to the facility for an eighth time since 2001 with ARCA driver Patrick Sheltra poised to make his second career start at the facility.
Last year, Sheltra aboard his familiar No. 60 Chevrolet entry, qualified an impressive ninth before finishing a respectable 12th. This year however, the Whitesville, Kentucky based Sheltra Motorsports will unload a Dodge Charger for competition, the first of 10 scheduled races which the sophomore ARCA team will carry the Chrysler nameplate.
Teams took to the track shortly after 9:00am local time with the complete day of testing scheduled to end at 4:00pm local time.
PATRICK SHELTRA, NO. 60 FERGUSON PIPE ENTERPRISES, INC.-AMERICAN CONCRETE INDUSTRIES, INC., THE CASITE COMPANY DODGE CHARGER:
SHELTRA: (ON KANSAS SPEEDWAY) "It's hard not to like this place. I really enjoy the mile-and-a-half tracks on the ARCA circuit and Kansas probably ranks at the top of the list. We had a solid run last year but we're looking for a little more this year."
SHELTRA: (ON THE TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT OF SWITCHING TO A DODGE CHARGER FOR THE KANSAS LOTTERY $150 GRAND) "We are very excited about bringing the Dodge emblem to Kansas. Today's test was the first time I ever sat in a Dodge and it was a good feeling. Dodge has enjoyed success in every form of Motorsports they have competed in. We're hoping to be a part of that success in 2008."
SHELTRA: (ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS AND DODGE CHARGER MODELS) "Not much. They are both good manufacturers and models, we just felt that we would be at a better advantage on the mile-and-a-half tracks with the Dodge Charger. Of course there are some concessions you may have to make between the two models but it's all in the interest of going fast. I'm excited about our future sporting the Dodge logos."
SHELTRA: (ON THE NEW CAMOFLAGUE PAINT SCHEME) "When we knew we were making a switch for Chevrolet to Dodge, we thought about also unveiling a new paint scheme. A lot of people helped make our camouflage scheme what is it today and I think it looks great on the track. Everyone knows I'm a big fan of hunting so the scheme is right up my alley. It's a little different from my dirt (UMP and WoO) camouflage paint job and that was a big priority. I'm just really anxious to see how it will look under the lights."
SHELTRA: (ON THE DODGE ENGINES BUILT BY RC CONSULTANTS) "They are making some power. It's really no secret why they are so popular in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. They have been a huge asset in our transition to Dodges. We know that when we come back for the race that we'll have something even better than what we had here at the test today and that could spell trouble the rest of the competition."
SHELTRA: (ON THE CAR; PURCHASED FROM PENSKE RACING IN THE OFF-SEASON) "We weren't just going to acquire and buy Dodges from anyone, we knew the teams we were targeting. We also know what type of cars Penske Racing built and put on the racetrack. That's so crucial in racing today. If you don't have a good car, it's hard to run up front. I believe we've learned so much from Penske in buying the cars we did. I know that what we've learned today is only a fraction of what will learn as we continue to put the Dodges out on the track this season. They are good cars. No worries."
SHELTRA: (ON THE OVERALL TEST) "We're pretty happy. We were a little tight. We're going to make some wholesale changes before we come back for the race. This isn't our only test with the Dodge(s) before the Kansas race. After Salem, we plan to participate in the open-test at Kentucky Speedway, which will give us a chance to take what we learned here make some changes and see how they adapt at Kentucky. By the time we return here at the end of the month, we should unload fast and competitive."
SHELTRA: (ON KANSAS'S SISTER TRACK; KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY) "Kentucky Speedway has a lot of memories for me. It was the very first race I attracted my first top-10 finish in ARCA competition. I'm planning on continuing that trend when we go there twice this year, but I have some unfinished business here at Kansas. Kentucky Speedway and Kansas Speedway are very similar but each track has it's own characteristics. It's a good thing for sure. Luckily, we're able to coordinate the notes between the two tracks and give us a good baseline on where we should be."
SHELTRA: (ON NEXT WEEKEND'S SECOND EVENT OF THE SEASON AT SALEM SPEEDWAY) "I'm ready to get back after it. It seems like an eternity since we've actually had a point's race in ARCA. I raced at Salem twice last year and finished in the top-15 in both races. I'm not looking to repeat those runs. I want to win. We have a test coming up on Sunday and I have good vibes not only heading into the test but the race as well."
SHELTRA: (ON HANGING OUT WITH STUDENTS FROM SWEET SPRINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL EARLIER TODAY) "The kids were great. You really would have thought they were at a race by showing all their excitement. All of them had smiles and we're just extremely grateful. I enjoyed signing autographs and taking pictures in victory lane with them. Hanging out with great kids like that is one of the plus sides of being a racecar driver. I hope I gained some fans today."