DuQuoin: Patrick Sheltra preview

Patrick Sheltra Looks For Magic On DuQuoin Dirt DUQUOIN , Illinois (September 5, 2009) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran driver Patrick Sheltra was so close to victory last year at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds he could taste it. Instead, Sheltra...

Patrick Sheltra Looks For Magic On DuQuoin Dirt

DUQUOIN , Illinois (September 5, 2009) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran driver Patrick Sheltra was so close to victory last year at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds he could taste it. Instead, Sheltra had to settle for a close second behind nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel. On Monday, Sheltra will look to finish what he started in the Southern Illinois 100.

Sheltra will make his third start at the "Magic Mile" Monday and is aiming for his third straight top-10 finish at the one-mile dirt oval. Should Sheltra accomplish the feat it will mark the fifth time that Sheltra has finished inside the top-10 in an ARCA dirt race in six starts. His only finish outside the top-10 was a 12th last year at Springfield when Sheltra blasted through the field after cutting down a tire running in the top-five but ran out of time on his march towards the front.

"I'm going to DuQuoin to win and that's the bottom line," said Sheltra, who will pilot the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger. "I could have used my bumper and took Frank (Kimmel) out last year but I don't want to race like that. After the run we both jumped in the lake afterwards to celebrate our battle. It sure though would be nice to finally get a win ARCA style on the dirt."

Knowing that Sheltra is an accomplished dirt racer off the ARCA scene, the Sheltra Motorsports team is always considered a threat and a pre-race favorite when the ARCA cars sling the dirt. Some say that's adding extra pressure to a rising star but for the 23-year old Sheltra, it's just part of the biz.

"I don't feel any added pressure on the dirt," he said. "I treat this like any other ARCA race. Yeah, I feel like sometimes we have the extra hand but anytime we go to a dirt race you have other drivers who have a wealth of knowledge on the dirt too. Our advantage is that we're a full-time ARCA team with great guys, good cars and an awesome marketing partner. The dots all connect together and that's why we are such a success."

Should the Indiantown, Florida native pull it off on Monday, the win would be just as meaningful as his first career ARCA victory at Salem Speedway where Sheltra pulled off the upset in April and set a true Cinderella story after battling back from severe injuries sustained in the ARCA opener at Daytona International Speedway in February.

"Winning on the dirt would be huge for me," Sheltra sounded. "It's been one of my goals since I've come over here to ARCA. We've been close but we need to make that move now and put a checkmark next to victory on dirt. I think we'll have a better car than we did at Springfield (finished third) and if we can keep the tires cool and the tread together we should be the one being chased to the start-finish line."

Crew Chief John Hayden has elected to bring Sheltra Motorsports chassis number 7 to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds this weekend. This is the same automobile the

team participated with the Illinois State Fairgrounds last month and finished third. It's also the same piece that Sheltra utilized to notch a runner-up finish at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in 2008. The team converted the former Dale Earnhardt, Inc. automobile to a Dodge Charger during the last year. It will be run for just the eighth time in the rising phenom's career. Chassis number 5 will serve as the team's back-up automobile. That former Joe Gibbs Racing entry is the same automobile that Sheltra rocketed to his first victory at Salem Speedway in April.

Entering DuQuoin, Sheltra has 62 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with one career victory at Salem Speedway (April 2009). During his ARCA tenure, Sheltra has accumulated 10 top-fives and posted 20 top-10 finishes. A third place qualifying effort at Rockingham Speedway (April 2009) is Sheltra's best time trials efforts to date. He has controlled the ARCA field five times for 109 laps.

The Southern Illinois (100 miles / 100 laps) is the 17th of 21 events on the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. The 27th ARCA event held at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds is a one-day show. Practice begins Monday, September 7 with a one hour practice session planned from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m. The field will take the green flag shortly after 1:00 p.m. The event will not be televised but broadcast coverage will be available live through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com. All times are local.

-credit: sm

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Frank Kimmel , John Hayden , Patrick Sheltra
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing