Patrick Sheltra Earns Well Deserved; Hard Fought Top-10 At Kentucky "Mr. Showtime Recovers From Mishaps To Notch Solid Finish Under The Lights" SPARTA, Kentucky (July 20, 2009) - - Hard work shall be rewarded. Veteran ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS)...
Patrick Sheltra Earns Well Deserved; Hard Fought Top-10 At Kentucky
"Mr. Showtime Recovers From Mishaps To Notch Solid Finish Under The Lights"
SPARTA, Kentucky (July 20, 2009) - - Hard work shall be rewarded.
Veteran ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) driver Patrick Sheltra earned a well deserved top-10 finish in Saturday night's Click It Or Ticket. Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 at Kentucky Speedway. The finish though didn't come without its challenges but as the Sheltra Motorsports team has shown time after time, they are able to produce and rebound in times of potential trouble.
After notching a sixth place finish at Kentucky Speedway in May, Sheltra looked to return to the 1.5-mile speedplant looking to put his No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings on the board after a recent slew of less than satisfying performances have tried to derail the third year ARCA team. Armed with the same car that team mounted their third top-10 performance of the year just two months ago; they were anxiously hoping for a similar performance.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series teams would have to maneuver around an awkward schedule which consisted of two practice sessions and late night garage closings. For the Whitesville, Kentucky based operation, they were thankful for all the time they were granted.
In the first practice session, Sheltra showed that he had a solid car after posting times in the top-15. The team endured a scare though as Sheltra exited turn four on one of his practice laps, the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings racing machine broke loose with the team's Dodge Charger spinning wildly down the frontstretch. With minimal damage, the team finished the session 19th overall.
With the valance repaired and new tires secured, Sheltra and Co. had hoped for a better showing in happy hour. Picking up two tenths of a second in the second practice session, Sheltra still only managed the 19th fastest lap which set the team into overdrive to put a solid race handling package underneath the Indiantown, Florida native's machine.
In qualifying, Sheltra found a little more speed by maneuvering a lap of 31.328 seconds at 172.730 miles per hour which ironically lined up the Grace Sheltra owned machine 19th for the 11th event on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule.
The stars of the ARCA RE/MAX Series took their green flag approximately a half hour after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event concluded in an exciting double header in Northern Kentucky.
From the drop of the green flag, it appeared that "Mr. Showtime"; as he's known through the ARCA garage was shot out of a cannon as the No. 60 blasted its way from the 19th position to the ninth position before the yellow flag came out for an incident involving the No. 90 Toyota.
Sheltra informed his team that his car was free in the center of the corner early on. The freeness showed for Sheltra on lap six as the No. 60 bought out the second caution flag of the night for a spin through the frontstretch grass. The incident was identical to the previous night's episode.
A trip to pit road for four tires and damage control would put the team at the back of the pack. Back to green, Sheltra continued his climb back to the front and had moved into the 19th position when the yellow flag waived approaching near lap 25 which sent the leaders to pit road. Crew Chief John Hayden elected to put just fuel in the No. 60 machine which shifted Sheltra from inside the top-20 to sixth on the scoring pylon.
On the restart, Sheltra would maintain a healthy position in the top-10 and battle cars on the same pit sequence. Hayden praised his driver on lap 47 for turning his fastest lap of the race at 31.490 seconds.
The final round of pit stops would occur inside the final 35 laps of the event where the Sheltra Motorsports pit crew warriors bolted on four new tires and added fuel. Hayden, a former ARCA driver himself also made a tire pressure adjustment to help Sheltra with a "snug" condition he was battling during the last run. As Sheltra exited his pit stall, the No. 60 stuttered and stalled costing the team a couple positions.
Once re-fired, Sheltra apologized to his crew for the mishap. The crew told their pilot to shake-it off and focus on returning to top-10 form.
A wacky restart kept Sheltra from making a significant charge towards the front but the driver was able to pick off two positions before the yellow flag waived for an incident coming out of turn four. Two cars collided in front of Sheltra throwing up enormous smoke forcing the dirt late model ace to take abrasive actions. Thanks to a great call from spotter Kevin Huffines to duck low, the No. 60 emerged unscathed.
On the final restart of the event, the cameras were focused on the leaders but it was Sheltra from behind that was making some noise as he began slicing and dicing his way through the pack and passed three cars inside the final eight laps of the 100-lap event to record a well-earned ninth place finish in his sixth trip to Kentucky Speedway. The finish was also the team's best performance since a third place finish a month and a half ago.
"This is what we needed," sounded Sheltra. "We didn't have the best car but the team pulled together and we fought hard to a top-10 finish even after the spin and the hiccup on pit road. This is hopefully the start of a turn-around for us. We've had a couple tough races but a finish like this really boosts the team's morale as we head to Berlin next weekend. We're not out of the hunt for a top-five championship finish; and that's what we are aiming for. Kentucky was a step in the right direction towards making that goal become a reality."
Sheltra remains eighth in the ARCA RE/MAX Series point standings but closed the gap on returning to the top-five in the championship chase.
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a trip to Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan for the running of the Wolverine Power Systems 200 presented by Generac set for next Saturday night, July 25. Sheltra will make his third ever start at the .4-mile Great Lakes short track. In 2007, Sheltra recorded his first ever top-five finish in ARCA competition at Berlin Raceway by finishing fourth.
Exiting Kentucky, Sheltra has 57 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with one career victory at Salem Speedway (April 2009). During his ARCA tenure, Sheltra has accumulated nine top-fives and posted 19 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.