PATRICK SHELTRA BRINGS HOME CAREER BEST NATIONWIDE FINISH AT TALLADEGA Talladega, AL (4-25-2010) -- ARCA Racing Series veteran driver, Patrick Sheltra, overcame a spin on lap 20 to lead his first laps of NASCAR Nationwide Series competition and...
PATRICK SHELTRA BRINGS HOME CAREER BEST NATIONWIDE FINISH AT TALLADEGA
Talladega, AL (4-25-2010) -- ARCA Racing Series veteran driver, Patrick Sheltra, overcame a spin on lap 20 to lead his first laps of NASCAR Nationwide Series competition and bring home RAB Racing's fifth top-20 finish of the 2010 season. The 18th-place finish in the Aaron's 312 was Sheltra's career best NASCAR Nationwide Series finish in five starts at the larger-than-life superspeedway.
Sheltra, who pulled double-duty this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway and finished 2nd in the ARCA Racing Series, Talladega ARCA 250 on Friday made his fifth NASCAR Nationwide Series start but his first at the 2.66-mile tri-oval.
The solid effort by Sheltra catapulted the No. 09 Ford Fusion two positions in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series owner point standings. The sophomore team currently sits 21st in points, a mere 70 markers outside the top-15.
The No. 09 Ford Fusion was the 28th car to take time during time trials on Friday morning, posting a lap time of 52.126 seconds (183.709 mph), lining the 23-year-old driver up on the outside of row 11 in the 22nd position.
Following a rain-out on Saturday, the NASCAR Nationwide Series hit the track following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action on Sunday evening for the 117-lap shootout. Sheltra, who sits 3rd in the 2010 ARCA Racing Series point standings, made a strong effort to scale his way up the leader board in the opening laps of the event. However, a spin on lap 21 to avoid contact in a 13-car pile-up left the Indiantown, FL native sitting in the 26th position when the caution flag was displayed.
Ben Gable, RAB Racing's crew chief, brought Sheltra's Ford Fusion down pit road twice during the four lap caution period for four tires, fuel and to work on the right rear quarter panel that suffered minimal damage due to the right rear tire following the spin. When racing resumed on lap 28, Sheltra was scored in the 27th position.
Sheltra wasted no time making a charge to the front of the 43-car pack over the next 20 laps. He was 17th by lap 30, ninth by lap 43 and sitting inside the top-5, in the fourth spot, on lap 48 when the evening's second caution flag was displayed when the 60 car of Carl Edwards, spun off turn-2. The Ben Gable led crew would change two right side tires and add a can of Sunoco fuel before sending the machine back out to the racing surface in the 4th position.
Before the field crossed the start/finish line on lap 51, Sheltra had taken the lead on the backstretch. Holding his own for the next two laps, the No. 09 Ford Fusion would get forced to the center line and shuffled back as far as the 20th position by lap 57.
Sheltra would race between the 22nd and 13th positions over the next 30 circuits. At lap 87, the leaders began their way down pit road for scheduled stops. It wasn't until lap 94, that the No. 09 Ford Fusion hit pit road for two left side tires and fuel. However, making his way down pit road, Sheltra tagged the 18 machine causing minimal left side hood damage on the RAB Racing machine. A few extra moments were spent on pit road to evaluate the damage. Sheltra would be scored in the 25th spot on lap 96 when green-flag pit stops cycled through. Due to the long green flag run and the lengthy pit stop, Sheltra would lose one lap to race leader, Kevin Harvick.
Fortunately for the RAB Racing team, a seven car pile-up on the backstretch brought out the third caution of the evening and Sheltra, running 28th, would be the beneficiary of the "Lucky Dog" award, regaining a spot on the lead lap.
When racing resumed on lap 118 for the first of three attempts at a green-white-checker finish, Sheltra was sitting in the 18th position which is where the ARCA Racing Series veteran driver would remain despite getting caught up in the "Big One" involving 10 cars coming out of turn-4 of the final lap. Brad Keselowski would go on to win the Aaron's 312.
"I would like to thank Robby Benton, Brack Maggard and the entire RAB Racing team for the opportunity at Talladega," said Sheltra. "We had a fast Ford Fusion, led some laps and hopefully made a statement."
Up next up for RAB Racing is the first of two trips to Richmond International Raceway. Hermie Sadler, an Emporia, VA native will pilot the No. 09 TNA Wrestling Ford Fusion and make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start since 2004.
-source: rab racing