Strong Run For Patrick Sheltra Cut Short In Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (July 6, 2009) - - In his dramatic return to Daytona International Speedway, ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Patrick Sheltra had high hopes for his first NASCAR Nationwide ...
Strong Run For Patrick Sheltra Cut Short In Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (July 6, 2009) - - In his dramatic return to Daytona International Speedway, ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Patrick Sheltra had high hopes for his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race of the season in Friday's Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola but an incident just after half-way sidelined Sheltra and the MacDonald Motorsports team.
Knowing that MacDonald Motorsports has had a very strong superspeedway program in the past, Sheltra, a native of Indiantown, Florida was looking forward to climbing in the No. 81 D.H. Griffin-Quality Turf-Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger.
In practice on Thursday, Sheltra and the MacDonald Motorsports team worked on the handling of their Dodge Charger. Sheltra reported a loose condition in the center and exiting the corners of the 2.5-mile speedway. MacDonald Motorsports crew chief David Ingram made several minor adjustments to tighten up Sheltra's machine.
In final practice, the team was able to improve on their 25th place practice position with Sheltra posting a very solid 14th fastest lap. Still battling a little bit of a loose condition, the team would make a few minor tweaks before their qualifying run on Friday afternoon.
During his qualifying run, Sheltra would lay down a solid lap which at the time would put Sheltra 15th on the rundown. With Sheltra's machine in race trim, several other competitors had their cars in qualifying mode which backslid the No. 81 in the lineup. A brief shower would delay qualifying for nearly two hours forcing the team to have to sit and wait to see where Sheltra would lineup for his NASCAR restrictor plate debut. All said and done, nearly five hours after qualifying had started, Sheltra lined up 27th, a career best for the 23-year old.
At the start of the event, Sheltra wasted no time finding his groove inside the lead draft. With a very competitive field on hand, Sheltra would find himself racing with the best of the best and was hovering in the top-25 during the race's first five circuits before moving up the leader board when the first caution flag waved approaching lap 15.
The yellow flag offered an opportunity for Sheltra to duck to pit road for two tires and fuel. The team with a gang of Sheltra's ARCA RE/MAX Series pit stop crew had a solid pit stop which lined Sheltra up in the 22nd position.
Back to green, Sheltra would find himself back in a strong draft and inching his way towards the front. A long span of green flag racing would see Sheltra hang on to the lead draft but sitting in a conservation mode to keep the fenders clean on the No. 81 Dodge.
The yellow flag would waive just seven laps before Sheltra was scheduled to make a green flag pit stop approaching lap 45. Under the yellow, Ingram informed his rookie driver to bring his car to pit road for four tires and fuel. The pit crew made a brilliant stop which gained Sheltra three positions on the track and finding himself 16th on the restart.
Racing resumed just after halfway with Sheltra looking racy and heading towards the top-10. Just as the team's night was looking better and better, as the cars exited turn two on lap 57, the No. 07 of Chase Austin tapped the rear of Sheltra's No. 81 which slammed Sheltra hard into the outside wall collecting Dale Earnhardt, Jr and Steven Wallace. The damage was too severe to drive back to the garage area but Sheltra climbed from his mangled machine unscathed.
The team would be credited with a discouraging 41st place finish.
"I'm disappointed and frustrated," said Sheltra. "We had us a good piece. The motor underneath our Dodge was strong and we were just biding our time and saving our stuff for the final 20 laps. I don't know what happened with the accident, I just felt like I got turned and when that happens here, you have no control. I hate it for all of our marketing partners and the team, because we really don't deserve to be ending our night in the garage. I feel like we had a car capable of finishing in the top-five."
Sheltra added, "I want to thank the MacDonald's, David Ingram and the rest of the MacDonald Motorsports team for their efforts at Daytona. We worked well together and we had a competitive race going, just didn't get the finish we deserved."
Next up for Sheltra is the resumption of the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series season with at trip to Iowa Speedway for the running of the Prairie Meadows 200. Sheltra finished ninth at the Newton, Iowa race track last year and heads to the newly built short track in search of his second win of the season.
Future plans for Sheltra to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season are forthcoming.