Strong Run Shattered For Patrick Sheltra In Kentucky "Incident With Lap Car Destroys Impressive Run For 22-Year" SPARTA, Kentucky (July 21, 2008) - - Patrick Sheltra in the No. 60 Groupe Beton Brunet-Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Dodge Charger...
Strong Run Shattered For Patrick Sheltra In Kentucky
"Incident With Lap Car Destroys Impressive Run For 22-Year"
SPARTA, Kentucky (July 21, 2008) - - Patrick Sheltra in the No. 60 Groupe Beton Brunet-Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Dodge Charger looked well on his way to his second top-five finish of the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season but a late incident with a lapped car diminished his hopes and brought his first accident-based DNF (Did Not Finish) of the season in Friday night's Kentucky ARCA RE/MAX 150.
46 ARCA RE/MAX Series teams entered Kentucky Speedway on Friday morning with Sheltra focused and determined to back-up or better his seventh place run in May.
[IMAGE]In the lone accident-plagued practice session of the day, Sheltra in Grace Sheltra's owned Dodge Charger posted the 17th fastest lap with a time of 31.712 seconds at 170.283 MPH. "We really didn't get a good shot to post a fast practice time because every time we tried to make a clean run we were held up by traffic," noted Sheltra. "However, we made changes to the Groupe Beton Brunet-Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Dodge and the car responded very well on the last run."
Earlier in the day, Sheltra's team drew the final qualifying position (46th) for the 11th event on the 2008 season giving Sheltra plenty of free time to watch his other competitors in ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying.
The session proved to be trouble-filled with many cars making contact with the wall. Sheltra stood quietly beside his Sheltra Motorsports automobile trying to remain focused on gathering a good starting position for the event.
Sheltra would take to the 1.5-mile speedway under slightly cooler conditions than some of his other competitors which he hoped would play into his hands. During his two-lap qualifying run, Sheltra posted a lap of 31.363 seconds at 172.177 MPH placing the Whitesville, Kentucky team just outside the top-10 in 11th.
"I'll take that," Sheltra commented after his run. "It was incredibly slippery out there and I about lost control of the car on the second lap. The car is real good. The guys at the shop once again gave me a great racecar."
At the start of the Kentucky ARCA RE/MAX 150, Sheltra proved just how fast he was. By the conclusion of lap one, Sheltra had picked off six positions and had marched into the fifth position.
An early caution would keep Sheltra at bay before moving powerfully into the top-three by lap 20.
Over the next twenty circuits, Sheltra would try to emerge his Dodge Charger to the top-spot but Sheltra's machine got sideways while racing with the No. 25 of Brian Scott. Sheltra recovered but lost a couple positions.
Approaching halfway, the yellow flag would waive again offering an opportunity for the Indiantown, Florida native to bring his camouflage machine to the attention of his Sheltra Motorsports team. The team performed masterly bolting out a quick 16.6-second pit stop putting Sheltra out ahead of the other teams ahead of him.
While Sheltra emerged ahead of the teams he was racing with, he would restart eighth as several cars elected to stay out. On the restart, Sheltra began his mission back to the front. Unfortunately, the charge wasn't as powerful as earlier in the race as Sheltra informed his team of a tight condition.
Sheltra adjusted his line around the Sparta, Kentucky facility hoping to aid the team back to the front. As the laps began to tick away, Sheltra's machine began to come back around with Sheltra closing in on the top-five.
As Sheltra came onto the front stretch on lap 83, a lapped car shifted its line from the bottom of the circuit directly in the path of Sheltra. The 22-year old driver tried slamming on the binders but made contact with the rear of the No. 23 with that car coming back up the track and clipping Sheltra's No. 60.
Sheltra struck the outside wall hard before coming to a stop in the grass just before entering turn one. Sheltra climbed from the car and made the mandatory trip to the infield care center. Sheltra was examined and released and walked back to his transporter where he consulted with his team about the incident.
[IMAGE]b^0x001cThat was U-G-L-Y," Sheltra offered after the race. "Not really sure why the No. 23 pulled up but there was absolutely nothing I could do. There was a great amount of difference in the speed between the two of us and I tried checking up, but I didn't have a chance. Their spotter apologized for the incident, but it really ruined our night. Our Groupe Beton Brunet-Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Dodge was awesome. We were going to have a top-five finish, now I think the car is going to the junkyard. It just stinks."
The 31st place finish hurt the team in the point standings as, Sheltra slid from ninth to 10th with 230 markers keeping the avid dirt racer from reappearing back in the top-five.