Patrick Sheltra Sidelined At Chicagoland Speedway JOLIET, Illinois (September 8, 2008) - - In one of the best rebound performances of the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season, sophomore ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) driver Patrick Sheltra looked well...
Patrick Sheltra Sidelined At Chicagoland Speedway
JOLIET, Illinois (September 8, 2008) - - In one of the best rebound performances of the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season, sophomore ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) driver Patrick Sheltra looked well on his way to collecting his eighth top-10 performance of the season before engine problems sidelined Sheltra 58 laps from the finish in the Chicagoland ARCA 200.
Running the Dodge emblem for the final time in 2008, Sheltra and his Whitesville, Kentucky-based Sheltra Motorsports team entered the Windy City with hopes of being in contention for their first ARCA victory in the 17th event of the season.
Practice didn't start off too keen for the Indiantown, Florida native as the driver struggled to gain comfort while dealing with a loose from the center off racecar. Putting together the 24th quickest lap in practice, Sheltra consulted with crew chief John Hayden and Director of Competition Larry Moore on the changes to make their No. 60 Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Dodge Charger stronger in ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying.
"We just couldn't get the car to grip as much as we wanted to," said Sheltra, who entered the race ninth in the championship standings. "We'll be all right."
Sheltra stepped up to the plate in a big way in ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying after charging to a lap of 30.796 seconds at 175.347 MPH, a pickup of nearly four-tenths of a second from his fastest practice lap. The effort put the team 14th on the starting grid.
"I'm happy with that, especially after the time we placed in practice," said the 22-year old driver. "I'm really proud of my Sheltra Motorsports team for their hard work. This is a team effort and we proved that in qualifying."
With a solid top-15 qualifying effort in the books, Sheltra could breathe a little easier heading into the race late Saturday afternoon.
At the start of the Chicagoland ARCA 200, Sheltra wasted no time planting his Grace Sheltra owned automobile to the front as the avid hunter muscled his way to the 10th position when the yellow flag waived at the conclusion of lap one.
Unable to give Hayden a clear indication of how is machine was handling, Sheltra remained quiet on the radio reading off his temperature gages before getting back to business 15 laps later.
Still on the move, Sheltra had peaked into the eighth position before reporting a loose racecar. The condition worsened with Sheltra sliding back to ninth when the caution flag waived on lap 45.
During the yellow flag, Hayden instructed his team to be on the ready with Sheltra scheduled to make his first stop of the day. Hayden called for four tires, fuel and a pull of tape to ease the motor temperature. Entering ninth, a lighting fast pit stop accelerated Sheltra off in the third position.
Exiting pit road, Sheltra congratulated his team on a flawless pit stop. With Sheltra now in sight of the leaders, he would use the track position to his advantage and try and lead his second laps of the season.
Back to racing, Sheltra maintained a healthy third but under pressure from the No. 20 car saw Sheltra get loose and made a great recovery before settling back in the fifth position.
As the laps ticked away, the loose condition returned on the No. 60 with Sheltra sliding back in the eighth position. On lap 78, Sheltra reported to his crew that he had lost all power and the motor wasn't refiring. Hayden informed his driver to bring the machine behind the wall where they would try to diagnose the problem. The failure proved to be internal seizing Sheltra from returning to competition.
He would be credited with a disappointing 31st place finish.
"We had a top-10 car and probably would have finished there," offered Sheltra after the race. "I think we could have worked on the loose condition a little more and put us in the playing field with the top-five, but we'll never know now. I'm proud of my guys for their hard work this weekend. We overcame some obstacles and we'll head to Salem next weekend and see if we can't put ourselves back in the top-five."
Despite the finish, Sheltra remains ninth in the championship standings, just a mere 75 markers from the sixth position.J Exiting the "Windy City", Sheltra has 42 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with a career best finish of second at Toledo Speedway (May 2008) and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 2008) with two additional top-five finishes (third) at Illinois State Fairgrounds (August 2007), (fourth) at Berlin Raceway (July 2007) while holding additional top-10s at Nashville Superspeedway (August 2008), Michigan International Speedway (June 2008), Kentucky Speedway (May 2008), Kansas Speedway (April 2008), Iowa Speedway (April 2008), Kentucky Speedway (June 2007), DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 2007) and Toledo Speedway (October 2007). An eighth place qualifying effort at Kansas Speedway (April 2008) is Sheltra's best time trials efforts to date. He has controlled the ARCA field twice for 15 laps.
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is their traditional stop at Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana for the running of the Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 by Advance Auto Parts. The 18th race of the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series will take the green flag on Saturday, September 13 at 7:15 p.m. local time.