Patrick Sheltra Feeling Comfortable Heading Into DuQuoin Territory DUQUOIN, Illinois (August 28, 2008) - - Territory is a pretty big word to use in racing. But for ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) driver Patrick Sheltra he is comfortable in using that...
Patrick Sheltra Feeling Comfortable Heading Into DuQuoin Territory
DUQUOIN, Illinois (August 28, 2008) - - Territory is a pretty big word to use in racing. But for ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) driver Patrick Sheltra he is comfortable in using that word as the ARS heads to their final dirt track race of the season at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on Monday, September 1st.
Sheltra, himself an accomplished dirt racer heads to the traditional Labor Day event looking to bounce back from a 12th place finish at the Illinois State Fairgrounds two weeks ago where Sheltra climbed into the top-five but fell victim to a tire failure late in the race.
Returning to action after a one-week break and with some rejuvenated confidence, Sheltra and his Whitesville, Kentucky based Sheltra Motorsports team head to DuQuoin eyeing their second top-five finish of the season but most importantly, looking for that elusive first victory.
"It was a nice break, but I'm ready to get after it," said Sheltra, who spent his downtime at his new hunting property in Dryden, Texas where the local population is a stunning 11. "I finished sixth last year at DuQuoin and I was pretty disappointed with that. Monday's race is another opportunity to make the climb forward and put this team in victory lane."
The Southern Illinois 100 is a very short race. A quick 100 lap dash, so Sheltra realizes that there is no time to fool around. The mission; get to the front and stay there.
"These dirt races are over in a hurry, feels more like a long heat race than an actual ARCA race," Sheltra sounded. "The goal for DuQuoin is to get a good reading in practice, then make our presence known in qualifying and stay a contender in the race. If we can do all that, then the Southern Illinois 100 is our oyster."
Monday's race serves a couple of purposes for the Sheltra Motorsports team. The event provides a major opportunity to reel in some much needed points but the 16th event of the season always officially kicks off the Bill France Triple Crown award. The award benefits the driver who accumulates the most driver points at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, the rough and demanding Salem Speedway and the ultra-fast Talladega Superspeedway. Sheltra was a contender last year but lost the title to nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel.
"The Bill France Triple Crown is a big deal," Sheltra explained. "Last year we ran good at all three tracks, but this challenge is different from the actual point's championship which gives me an extra drive. I feel confident in our equipment and a year later, I have a ton more experience, so the crown is ours to lose."
For the ninth time this season, Sheltra and his team will bring a Dodge Charger to the track. With four top-10s already in the books under the Dodge banner, the team is hoping to record their first top-five under the Chrysler nameplate. The team answered their inaugural debut with Dodge with a respectable eighth place finish at Kansas Speedway. A week later the team proved that the finish was no fluke as Sheltra steered through late race carnage and confusion at Kentucky Speedway to record an seventh place finish. In June, Sheltra mounted his best finish in a Charger after recording a sixth place finish at the two-mile oval of Michigan International Speedway. Sheltra also battled back from adversity to nail a 10th place finish in the TOYOTA ARCA 150 at Nashville Superspeedway in early August. The new manufacturer also catapulted Sheltra to record a career best qualifying effort (Kansas) while also leading the field for four laps at the 1.5-mile race track of Kansas Speedway.
"We made the move from Chevrolet to Dodge at Springfield this year and I feel it paid off for us," said Sheltra, who plans to run the full 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. "We're confident that we can bring back the same car to DuQuoin and have phenomenal results."
Crew Chief John Hayden has elected to bring Sheltra Motorsports chassis number 7 to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds for Labor Day. This is the same automobile the team participated with the Illinois State Fairgrounds on August 17th. This piece also has track time at USA International Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Gateway International Raceway and The Milwaukee Mile last year. The team converted the former Dale Earnhardt, Inc. automobile to a Dodge Charger during the off-season. Chassis number 4 will serve as the team's backup automobile. This car has not run in 2008 but is the same piece that Sheltra ran in both ARCA dirt events last year in addition to a top-five finish at Berlin Raceway last July.
Sheltra Motorsports welcomes for DuQuoin, Motorsports veteran Larry Moore who will take the role of Director of Competition for the No. 60 effective immediately. Moore, a Daytona Beach, Florida resident will oversee the competition side of the team's ARCA RE/MAX Series program for the final six events of the 2008 season.
Entering DuQuoin, Sheltra has 40 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with a career best finish of second at Toledo Speedway (May 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.
The Southern Illinois (100 miles/100 laps) is the 16th of 21 events on the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. The 26th ARCA event held at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds is a one-day show. Practice begins Monday, September 1 with a one hour practice session planned from 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m. The field will take the green flag Monday afternoon shortly after 1:00 p.m. The event will be tape-delayed on MavTV (Friday, September 5 at 8:00 p.m.) but additional race coverage including live timing and scoring and radio coverage courtesy of the ARCA Radio Network will be available online at arcaracing.com. All times are local.