Patrick Sheltra Secures Career Best In Springfield SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Tuesday, August 21, 2007) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie-of-the-year candidate Patrick Sheltra reached into the spotlight this past weekend at Illinois State Fairgrounds,...
Patrick Sheltra Secures Career Best In Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Tuesday, August 21, 2007) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie-of-the-year candidate Patrick Sheltra reached into the spotlight this past weekend at Illinois State Fairgrounds, as the Florida native attracted his career best finish Sunday with a third place podium finish.
Heading into the Allen Crowe 100, Sheltra was looking to flex his muscle on the dirt, a track characteristic that he is known for dominating outside the ARCA RE/MAX Series.
With threatening skies hovering around Springfield, the team was feeling optimistic about getting practice in. However, the rain let up and ARCA RE/MAX Series officials granted the team with a forty-five minute session nearly two hours later than anticipated.
Sheltra stormed on to the charts early putting his No. 60 inside the top-five. The track picked up speed throughout the session. At the conclusion of the lone practice, Sheltra had netted the 12th position with a time of 34.189 seconds at 105.297 MPH.
"The car is handling really well, we left a little on the table," said Sheltra. "My Sheltra Motorsports team really wants to win this race badly and believe me; I'm going to give it everything I have to make that a reality."
With an extremely tight schedule set for Sunday, ARCA officials decided to cancel ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying based on Mother Nature's intrusion and set the field based on the 2007 car owners point. The rule book lined Sheltra up in the ninth position.
At the start of the event, Sheltra played the conservative mode. Hovering inside the top-10, the team had planned to make their mandatory pit stop early, giving the team the rest of the event to maneuver their way back to the front.
That opportunity came on lap 11 when Bill Baird and AJ Fike tangled. Sheltra brought his bright green machine down pit road to the attention of his Sheltra Motorsports team. The team made a slight chassis adjustment and added some Sunoco Racing fuel.
On the restart, Sheltra charged through the field on a mission. Sheltra reported the car was awesome, but he was threading the needle through the traffic.
By lap 36, Sheltra had climbed into the fourth position. At that point, Sheltra had tied his career-best finish, but for the fast rookie, he was looking for more, much more.
Just after halfway, Sheltra was continuing to hold the fourth position, Sheltra knew he still had some power underneath him.
By lap 73, Sheltra had picked off Justin Marks and moved into the third position. Reporting to the crew that he wore out his tires, Sheltra maintained a strong podium run.
Several passing attempts in the closing laps against second place runner Michael McDowell went to no avail, with Sheltra crossing the line third, a career best in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.
"It was a great day," said Sheltra. "The car was hooked up today, but we smoked our tires in the end and that hindered our finish. I'm really proud of everyone on the team, they did a great job. We have some momentum going into Milwaukee; we'll look for a win there."
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a showdown at The Milwaukee Mile. The Governors Cup 200 weekend is set to start with practice and ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying Saturday. The event is scheduled to roll off at 1:00pm EST Sunday with live coverage on SPEED.