Berlin: Patrick Sheltra race report

Patrick Sheltra Finishes One Position Shy Of Victory At Berlin Raceway "Team Enthusiastic About Performance; Points Gain And Remainder Of 2010" MARNE, Michigan (August 8, 2010) - - 24-year old Patrick Sheltra earned the nickname "Mr. Showtime"...

Patrick Sheltra Finishes One Position Shy Of Victory At Berlin Raceway

"Team Enthusiastic About Performance; Points Gain And Remainder Of 2010"

MARNE, Michigan (August 8, 2010) - - 24-year old Patrick Sheltra earned the nickname "Mr. Showtime" in his earlier years of dirt racing by putting himself in the spotlight and drawing the attention away from his competitors for his breathtaking moves and "never give up" attitude. Sheltra lived up to his nickname perfectly Saturday night at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway as Sheltra stormed to a second place finish in the Berlin ARCA 200.

The .4-mile based short track located in the western roots of the lower peninsula of Michigan was the site of Sheltra's first career top-five effort in the ARCA Racing Series (ARS) presented by RE/MAX and Menards in 2007. Itching for a similar type of performance in the 12th race of the season, Sheltra and his Jon Wolfe led team began preparing several weeks in advance for the 23rd ever ARCA race held at the legendary oval. On Friday, track officials opted to open the racetrack to the stars and cars of the ARCA Racing Series for three practice sessions broken into different time slots. The Sheltra Motorsports team was one of a dozen operations that participated in the "free" practice session with the crew, despite only running in two of the three sessions leaving the track confident about their performance of the No. 60 Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant / Speed Media Dodge Charger.

In the lone practice session on Saturday afternoon, Sheltra maneuvered his machine to the 10th fastest time overall. The team was somewhat satisfied with the results but still felt they had more to show.

Unfortunately, earlier in the day, the team drew the number one position for Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying which proved to be a disadvantage for the Mooresville, North Carolina team. Sheltra's qualifications lap of 17.510 seconds at 102.798 miles per hour was a solid pickup from the team's fastest lap in practice but put the fourth year ARCA team 16th in the official starting lineup.

"I think the early qualifying draw hurt us," Sheltra admitted. "The car is good, but as qualifying rolled on, the track began to cool down and the speeds intensified. Sometimes that's just how it goes. I'm pretty comfortable with the car, so hopefully we can have a good night."

Taking the green flag shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time, Sheltra immediately began his impressive and what some called "jaw dropping" march towards the front as by lap seven, the No. 60 Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant / Speed Media Dodge Charger had climbed into the top-10. On a roll, Sheltra continued to inch his way up the leader board and by lap 50 had hunkered himself into the fourth position.

The first caution of the night flew on lap 54; when the No. 23 machine of Levi Youster spun in turn one. Sheltra advised his team that his car was good, though he was a little free but wasn't pressing the issue too much. Crew chief Wolfe acknowledged his driver's assessment while also informing his pilot that if the leaders ducked to pit road, they would come too. The leaders though stayed out, leaving the ARCA pro fourth on the restart.

Methodically, Sheltra continued to stalk his prey and by lap 108, the NASCAR bound driver passed nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel for the top-spot. Despite endless efforts from Kimmel and track favorite Brian Campbell to retake the lead from the Floridian, Sheltra controlled the field until lap 132 where the No. 24 of Campbell made the move on the high side around the No. 60 as Sheltra's tires began to fade.

Slowly, Sheltra's green and orange machine began to backpedal through the field before the driver keyed the radio and said "my right front tire is gone." Wolfe answered his driver's concern with confidence instructing Sheltra to keep doing what he was doing and new tires were on the horizon.

Approaching the final 50 circuits of the night, the second yellow flag of the evening waived welcoming the opportunity for Sheltra to bring his Sheltra Motorsports machine to pit road for four tires, fuel and a minor air pressure adjustment. A flawless stop by his pit crew allowed Sheltra to pick up one position on pit road and restart the event in the third position behind leader Joey Coulter and second-place Mikey Kile.

On the restart, Sheltra was fending off Kile's teammate Steve Arpin in third while trying to outmaneuver the No. 25 of Kile. Sheltra was finally able to make the move on the Venturini Motorsports driver on lap 165 and move into the runner-up position.

Two late race cautions on lap 168 and 175 respectively allowed Sheltra to stay on the back bumper of Coulter's No. 16 Chevrolet. Textbook style restarts by the avid hunter kept the No. 60 in contention for his second career win in the ARCA Racing Series but over the course of the final 10 circuits, Coulter was able to fend off the strong presence of the No. 60 Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant / Speed Media automobile to claim his first career ARCA victory. Sheltra settled for second, his best finish since finishing in the runner-up spot at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April."That was a lot of fun," said Sheltra, who led 25 laps and collected his fifth top-five finish of the year. "Congratulations to Joey (Coulter) and his team. They are good people and if I had to lose to someone, I'm glad it was them."

He added, "I truly felt though if we had a handful more of laps we would have been able to make the move around Joey (Coulter). I'm not going to complain though. We didn't have the qualifying run that we wanted to but man when the green came out, our car came to life. I can't thank Jon (Wolfe) and the entire Sheltra Motorsports team enough for their hard work. We had folks from Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant and Speed Media here cheering us on, so I was glad I was able to give them a good showing. I just really though have to thank everyone, including my mom and dad (who were not in attendance Saturday night) and all of our marketing partners for standing behind our race team. We definitely still have a shot at the championship."

Indeed, Sheltra does still have the potential to be crowned the 2010 ARCA Racing Series champion as significant ground was made up in the point standings. Incoming point's leader Justin Marks battled transmission woes in the second portion of the event which allowed Craig Goess from Eddie Sharp Racing to inherit the top-spot after Marks finished 21st.

With his stunning performance Saturday night, Sheltra unofficially advances one position in the ARCA Racing Series championship chase to fourth and now sits just 65 credits behind new point's leader Goess. 20 credits separate Sheltra from third now held by Marks. Frank Kimmel moved into the second position and is 40 points ahead of Sheltra, the driver with the most top-10 finishes in ARCA Racing Series competition in 2010 with 10 in 12 races.

Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards is their annual trip to New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) for the running of the third annual Garden State ARCA 150 presented by American Red Cross.

-source: sheltra motorsports

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Justin Marks , Patrick Sheltra , Steve Arpin , Mikey Kile , Craig Goess , Joey Coulter