Patrick Sheltra Suffers Heartbreaker In DuQuoin DUQUOIN, Illinois (September 8, 2009) - - It appeared early on in Monday's Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds that Patrick Sheltra in the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge ...
Patrick Sheltra Suffers Heartbreaker In DuQuoin
DUQUOIN, Illinois (September 8, 2009) - - It appeared early on in Monday's Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds that Patrick Sheltra in the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger had one of the fastest machines in the ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) field but a mechanical failure just 30 laps in erased the Indiantown, Florida's native hopes for securing his second victory of the season.
Sloppy weather in the DuQuoin, Illinois area created a challenge for the teams Monday morning forcing ARS to adjust their schedule by pushing practice, qualifying and the race ahead by a half-hour.
When practice finally rolled on, Sheltra quickly went to a familiar place on the dirt; first. Sheltra retained the top spot for a majority of the session before other competitors took their turn at the top of the leader board. Adjustments by the Sheltra Motorsports team tried to improve the handling of the Dodge Charger with Sheltra shoving himself back in the top-five but with an early draw in qualifying; the team halted their session early with the No. 60 sliding back in the rundown to 13th overall.
Drawing first in qualifying can pose a disadvantage to any team no matter what the track but the Whitesville, Kentucky team was poised to make the best of the situation. During his one lap run, Sheltra ran a time of 35.107 seconds at 102.544 miles per hour; the effort was Sheltra's best lap of the one day show thus far.
"The track is really free," said the 23-year old phenom, who qualified 10th. "It's going to be an interesting race because of the track conditions. You're going to see a lot of the cars on the edge but I think that can be an advantage for us."
At the start of the Southern Illinois 100, Sheltra did not waste any time moving forward in the competitive field. By the completion of lap two, Sheltra had easily moved into the seventh position.
Trapped behind the No. 39 of Kelly Kovski, Sheltra was mining his matters but trying to setup his fellow dirt racing colleague to move into the first half-dozen. The patience paid off with Sheltra finally making the pass around Kovski before being halted with a caution two laps later.
During the caution, Sheltra reported to crew chief John Hayden that his car "was good but a little snug." Hayden acknowledged his drivers response while also asking for the water temperature. Sheltra responded with "220."
On the restart, the dirt late model ace made quick work of the No. 36 of Robb Brent solidly moving into the top-five while closing in on the fourth position of Josh Richards when Sheltra immediately keyed the radio and reported a major climb in his water temperature.
The temperature had climbed to 270 with the veteran ARS driver ready to make an unscheduled stop to pit road. The caution flag waived though for Sheltra's stopped machine in turn three with Sheltra refiring his Grace Sheltra owned automobile and catching up to the tail end of the field.
Hayden brought his driver down to pit road for removal of tape and a hook-up to the cool-down system. Quick work by the team kept the Buffalo Wings & Rings Racing team on the lead lap.
Sheltra restarted deep in the pack but charged through the field before another yellow flag waived allowing the team to make another trip to pit road. Another hook-up to the cool down system brought the temperature down. The team released their driver back to competition planning to bring him back in the next caution lap but Sheltra reported over the radio that the motor was skipping.
The return trip to pit road proved to be the final resting place for the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger where the mechanical failure left the team with a disappointing 31st place finish.
"It's a real heartbreaker," offered Sheltra. "We had a car capable of winning the race for sure but the monkey just won't get off our back. I'm disappointed and frustrated to say the least. I want to thank my guys for giving me a fast car; it's just a shame that we couldn't make it to the end."
Sheltra added, "I also want to continue to thank Buffalo Wings & Rings, Ferguson Pipe and all of our marketing partners for continuing to stand behind our team in this funk. We'll refocus and move on to the final four races where it will be all about winning for the Sheltra Motorsports team."
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a return trip to New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) for the running of The South Jersey Building Trades 150. The 18th event of the season is set for Sunday, September 13 set to roll off at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Last year, Sheltra finished 11th in his inaugural road course debut after starting 21st.