Patrick Sheltra Fights Hard Under Tough Circumstances At Toledo TOLEDO, Ohio (September 5, 2009) - - Toledo Speedway had been particularly kind to Patrick Sheltra over the past year and a half but in 2009, it's a track that offered nothing but...
Patrick Sheltra Fights Hard Under Tough Circumstances At Toledo
TOLEDO, Ohio (September 5, 2009) - - Toledo Speedway had been particularly kind to Patrick Sheltra over the past year and a half but in 2009, it's a track that offered nothing but frustration including Friday's ARCA RE/MAX Series 200.
The Sheltra Motorsports team headed to ARCA's hometown track hoping to recover from a sour 29th place finish in May. This time around, Sheltra and his team had plans of putting their Toledo success back on track.
In practice Friday afternoon, Sheltra posted the 15th fastest lap but reported to crew chief John Hayden that his No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS needed to be freer for qualifying. In time trials, Sheltra found a little bit of speed but only good enough to produce a 17th place qualifying run. Overall, the lap was decent for the Indiantown, Florida native who had never been a great qualifier at the Toledo, Ohio track.
"It's not where we exactly wanted to start but it is what it is and we'll just try to make the best of it during the race," Sheltra said after qualifying.
At the start of the 200-lap event, Sheltra didn't wait to begin his charge to the front, quickly overtaking several cars on the track -- Sheltra had moved into the 14th position when the first caution flag waived near lap 15.
Sheltra reported to Hayden that his car was good but needed to get around the No. 1 car of Ken Butler III.
On the restart, Sheltra continued to chase the No. 1 Ford Fusion and saw an opportunity to overtake KB3 but as Sheltra dived down into the corner of turn two on lap 32, the No. 60 Chevrolet spun sideways. With no contact with the wall, Sheltra tried re-firing his machine and escaping the incident scene but his car would not go into reverse. Sheltra tried everything to back up his car but would have to wait from a push from the ARCA RE/MAX Series safety crew before Sheltra could rejoin the field.
The misfortune cost the third year ARCA team three laps which would shift the team's agenda for the rest of the night.
Back to racing, Sheltra began feeling out his Buffalo Wings & Rings ride before keying the radio to inform Hayden that he was hearing an unfamiliar sound from under the hood. Under the next caution the crew brought their driver in where they diagnosed the problem to be cylinder related.
Instead of now running seven cylinders the team would be forced to run the rest of the event on six cylinders.
During the course of the race, the team tried to overcome the hurdle of the motor which saw the competitors have an advantage over Sheltra on the straightaways but Sheltra would win his battles going in and pushing through the corners.
The racing gods would reward the team for their never-give-up attitude with two of their three lost laps back. The team would have the final forty circuits to try and regain that final lap back but unfortunately to no prevail.
Sheltra would take the checkered flag in the 17th position.
"This was a tough one to swallow," said Sheltra who completed 199 of 200 laps. "I really thought our night was going to be okay when the race started but as good as everything was heading in the right direction -- it went the other way just as fast. Still, we turned what could have been a really bad night into something decent. We're not proud of the finish but we do realize it could have been a lot worse. We'll just move on to DuQuoin with no holds bar."
He added, "This didn't help us real well in the point's deal either. Most of what we gained in the past two races has been erased and now it's going to be a serious fight to the end to finish inside the top-five. I know we can do it; we just don't need any more bad luck."
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a trip to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds for the series' annual Labor Day tradition of the Southern Illinois 100. The race will get the green flag shortly after 1:00 p.m. Monday.