Talladega: Patrick Sheltra race report

Patrick Sheltra Answers Talladega Debut With Strong Top-20 Finish TALLADEGA, Alabama (October 9, 2007) - - Consistency pays off. That statement surrounds the Sheltra Motorsports team and this past Friday at Talladega Superspeedway was no...

Patrick Sheltra Answers Talladega Debut With Strong Top-20 Finish

TALLADEGA, Alabama (October 9, 2007) - - Consistency pays off. That statement surrounds the Sheltra Motorsports team and this past Friday at Talladega Superspeedway was no different as Patrick Sheltra reeled in a very clean and respectable 16th place run in the ARCA RE/MAX 250.

Sheltra, the 21-year old Rookie-of-the-Year contender in the ARCA RE/MAX Series headed to the 2.666-mile facility optimistic after a solid day of testing the week before.

Heading into the first practice, Sheltra jumped on to the track producing a lap of 52.572 seconds at 182.150 MPH positioning the team 29th on the speed charts.

"Our Chevrolet Monte Carlo is running very good here at Talladega. The only thing we have to look at is that we don't know what we really have because a lot of the cars were out there drafting. I have a great group of guys so we're going to put our heads together and come up with a setup which we think will pay off for us in qualifying."

Drawing a late number in ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, the Indiantown, Florida native was hoping that latter drawl would pay off for the Kentucky based operation.

During his two lap tango with Talladega, Sheltra maneuvered the track in a time of 52.975 seconds at 180.765 MPH lining Sheltra up 27th for his first career restrictor plate start.

"I'll take that," Sheltra answered following qualifying. "That's not a bad lap. I would have liked to have been closer to the front of the grid, but we didn't hold anything back. We made the field on time, so that's a good note for us. We'll change the car a little in the morning for "Happy Hour" and see what can put together."

On Friday morning, ARCA etched a welcomed "Happy Hour" practice session allowing the teams to draft and learn setting up for the 22nd race of the season. In final practice, the avid dirt late racer produced the 24th fastest lap after marking a time of 52.023 seconds at 184.072 MPH. "We didn't get into the group that we wanted to. I know that our car will be in the lead draft for the race. I am looking forward to it."

At the start of the 94-lap event, Sheltra quickly fell into the lead draft. With crew chief John Hayden and team manger Keith Strunk helping call the shots, the rookie would use the help from Hayden and Strunk and his spotter to maneuver himself comfortably into the top-20.

By lap 15 though, Sheltra had slipped to the 32nd position. Slicing and dicing through the competitive field, Sheltra would reach into the top-25 by the first caution approaching lap 30.

Sheltra pitted on lap 34 for right side tires before rejoining the field for the restart.

Back to green, Sheltra continued to motor his way back to the lead draft. Moving back towards the front, Sheltra hovered safely in the top-20 when the next caution flag waived on lap 53 for a two car incident.

The Sheltra Motorsports team utilized the yellow flag as another opportunity to bring the No. 60 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to pit road. Taking on four tires and fuel, Sheltra would exit the pits holding a firm position in the top-20.

When racing resumed, Sheltra wasted no time getting down to business. Over the next 15 laps, Sheltra would flirt inside the top-10 when the next caution waived for a multi-car incident coming out of turn four.

After the cleanup, the teams would come to a 12-lap shootout which saw Sheltra continue to lay comfortably in the top-12.

With two laps remaining, Sheltra ducked out of line to make a move to further position himself comfortably in the top-10, unfortunately, Sheltra didn't receive any help in the drafting department forcing several cars to overtake the brightly colored machine with the freshman driver falling in line in the 16th position.

[IMAGE]He would hold his line and stay in line to claim that position when he took the checkered flag.

"I learned a lot out there today," Sheltra noted. "I had a run on the car in front of me and I thought the group would go with me and it wound up costing us a top-10 finish. I can't frown upon our run. We had a good car and what I learned I wouldn't trade for the world. We were able to come from the back to the front and stay there. I'm happy. We'll just see if we can end our season on a high note at Toledo."

Continuing their sponsorship of Sheltra's No. 60 entry this past weekend was CP Concrete Products, US Construction, SawHorse Outfitters, Brady Ranch and FloraGanics.

Sheltra maintains seventh in the championship standing heading into next Sunday's season finale at Toledo Speedway.

-credit: PatrickSheltra.com

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers John Hayden , Patrick Sheltra