Salem II: Patrick Sheltra race report

Patrick Sheltra Makes Most Of Salem Rumble SALEM, Indiana (September 21, 2009) - - Patrick Sheltra in the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger didn't complete the Salem Speedway sweep Saturday night but the Indiantown, Florida native did...

Patrick Sheltra Makes Most Of Salem Rumble

SALEM, Indiana (September 21, 2009) - - Patrick Sheltra in the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger didn't complete the Salem Speedway sweep Saturday night but the Indiantown, Florida native did make most of an eventful night to bring home a 16th place finish in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic.

Armed with the same Dodge Charger that Sheltra catapulted to his first career ARCA victory in April, the Sheltra Motorsports had high hopes entering the 19th race of the season.

In practice, Sheltra quickly put his Grace Sheltra owned machine in the top-10. Teetering between sixth and 10th for much of the session, the team led by veteran crew chief and former ARCA driver John Hayden tackled with shock, carburetors and minor chassis adjustments. When the cross flags were thrown in the hour and a half session, Sheltra landed 10th overall.

"The car is real good," said the 23-year old phenom. "I know the guys are real excited to be here and believe me I am too. We worked on making our Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger better."

In qualifying, Sheltra mounted a lap of 17.588 seconds at 113.600 miles per hour. The run placed the Sheltra Motorsports team ironically 10th on the starting grid.

"It was decent," said Sheltra, who picked up a little over three-tenths of a second from his fastest practice lap. "I strongly believe that the car is good in race trim and that's when it counts the most."

At the start of the Fall classic, Sheltra immediately bolted solidly into the top-10 and had moved into the eighth position by lap five and picked up an additional spot a few laps later to settle in seventh.

Chasing down the fifth and sixth place cars, Sheltra was biding his time but as he caught his competition the two cars ahead got together and with little reaction time for Sheltra -- he made contact with the No. 81; the altercation caused some damage to the fender of Sheltra's Buffalo Wings & Rings Racing machine.

A caution flew a few laps later with Sheltra reporting normal car conditions and he was just "riding." Little was said about the incident with his colleagues.

On the restart, Sheltra went backwards in a hurry. Flabbergasted about the direction of the car, Sheltra radioed his team that something was "bad wrong". During the time, Sheltra lost a lap to the leaders but managed to stay from going two laps down when a yellow flag waived with the leader directly behind Sheltra.

Hayden called his driver to pit road after Sheltra reported a possible broken shock. Sheltra brought his machine to the attention of his team where they diagnosed the problem to be with an actual tire and toe-in problem and nothing to do with shocks. Four tires, damage control and a splash of gas later, Sheltra was good to go.

Back to racing, Sheltra put on a show and tried to retain his lost lap back but as he made the charge through the field, Sheltra found himself in a gutsy three-wide battle with the car in the middle drifting up into Sheltra with the No. 60 making solid impact with the turn four wall.

Sheltra regained control of his machine but the damage was enough to diminish the momentum and ultimately saw Sheltra go into the wall several laps later thanks to a cut tire.

Upon further review of the damage, the Sheltra Motorsports crew determined that the lower right control arm was bent in the contact and instead of taking the chance of destroying the car even further, the team efficiently made the repairs to the control arm and toe under green flag conditions. Sheltra would return to the track several laps later and take advantage of an attrition filled race to climb back up from 23rd to claim 16th.

"I was really hoping for a sweep but given all the circumstances we'll take a 16th and move on to the final two races," said Sheltra. "I did everything I could to avoid the cars in-front of me early in the race but everything happens so quick at Salem, I just couldn't stop in time. I didn't think that would hurt us too bad. The car was still acting fine until the tire really started to disaggregate."

He added, "The guys did a great job repairing our Buffalo Wings & Rings car and then we got shoved into the wall and then our night was never the same. We needed to finish the race to keep us in the hunt for finishing fifth in the championship chase and despite a not so good run that finish is still within reach. We'll move on from here and head to Kansas."

Sheltra slipped back to eighth in the ARCA RE/MAX Series point's standings with just two races remaining. A mere 105 points keeps the veteran ARCA driver from the fifth position controlled by Craig Goess Jr.

Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is their final intermediate track of the season from Kansas Speedway. The Kansas Lottery 150 is set for Thursday, October 1. Last year at the 1.5-mile speed plant, Sheltra Motorsports debuted their Dodge program in fashion with Sheltra qualifying a speedway-best of eighth and leading his first ever ARCA RE/MAX Series laps before capturing his second top-10 finish of the 2008 season.

-credit: sm

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers John Hayden , Patrick Sheltra , Craig Goess