Daytona Is Here; Patrick Sheltra Revving To Go "21 Year Old Driver Thrilled About First Daytona Start" DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (February 5, 2008) - - If you ask sophomore ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Patrick Sheltra what Saturday's ARCA 200 ...
Daytona Is Here; Patrick Sheltra Revving To Go
"21 Year Old Driver Thrilled About First Daytona Start"
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (February 5, 2008) - - If you ask sophomore ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Patrick Sheltra what Saturday's ARCA 200 at Daytona means to him; he'll tell you it's one of the most critical events on the 2008 schedule and most likely his career. With that being said, Sheltra, the 21-year old Indiantown, Florida native will make his inaugural debut at the breathtaking 2.5-mile Speedway in his 26th career ARCA start.
Aiming towards his second-career restrictor plate start, Sheltra and his Whitesville, Kentucky-based Sheltra Motorsports team put a massive amount of hours into their restrictor plate program hoping to produce a better effort than the team's 16th place finish last October at Talladega Superspeedway. Banking on the results of the team's successful off-season tests confidence is high heading into the 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona.
"We've stepped up our restrictor plate (superspeedway) program up a ton," said Sheltra, who will spend the 2008 season running a mixture of Chevrolet Monte Carlos and Dodge Chargers. "We started out the Daytona test with two machines and we went to Talladega with one. We know what our backup machine is capable of and we made significant changes to our primary car with the intent to find crucial speed and car control. We ironed out all the kinks and I believe we are in great shape."
Sheltra isn't just depending on his former Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS to lead the way in Saturday's season opener; the veteran dirt ace also knows that he has plenty of knowledge and experience on his side. Former ARCA driver John Hayden will call the shots as crew chief, with former ARCA champion crew chief Keith Strunk overseeing the team's efforts. "Experience is everything and Sheltra Motorsports has plenty of it," Sheltra noted. b^0x001cJohn and Keith are very two influential and knowledgeable people and they are the back-bone of our operation. It's because of them and the hard work of the entire Sheltra Motorsports team that we're heading into this weekend's event with high hopes," Sheltra noted.
With just his second restrictor plate event on tap on Saturday, Sheltra knows that experience isn't exactly on his side, but he's leaning on his knowledge at Talladega and the heavy drafting sessions during the open test at Daytona to weed him through any potential traffic and in contention for his first career ARCA victory. "Daytona is a huge chess game. It's really night and day between Talladega. Daytona is all about having a car that will handle. If you don't have a car that you can maneuver, you odds of winning the race diminish. With the Sheltra Motorsports team being locked into the race, we can spend most of our focus on our race setup. Of course, we'll dabble with our qualifying setup, but Daytona is the type of track that if you have a good car, you can come from the back to the front in a hurry even after a pit stop. We're prepared for anything that this race may throw at us," Sheltra advised.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series 2008 schedule consists of 21-races, two less events from the 2007 season. Sheltra is fully aware of the difference heading into the weekend and while many of his competitors are concentrating all of their efforts on Daytona, Sheltra is expanding his mind and keeping the coveted championship on deck.
"There's just more than one reason to walk away from Daytona with a good run," sounded Sheltra. "A good finish means you've started off your season in the right direction, not to mention your championship bid. We made a statement at the ARCA banquet (December 2007) that we want to win a championship this year and we have all the components to make it happen. We just need to be consistent, finish races and let the points fall into place. We finished seventh in our rookie season; not bad. But we are looking for more, much more in 2008."
Immediately following Daytona, Sheltra will have zero time to relax as he'll head to Volusia County Speedway two days later and return to his racing roots behind the wheel of the No. 23 Chevrolet for six nights of dirt racing in both the UMP and WoO Series. "February is always busy for me," continued Sheltra. "I can make one of my dreams come true by competing at Daytona while still slipping and sliding on the dirt just two days later after competing in the biggest race of my ARCA career."
Sheltra will make his first career start at "The World Center Of Speed" on Saturday afternoon. He notched a 16th place finish at Talladega Superspeedway, the other lone restrictor plate track on the ARCA circuit last October.