Michigan: Patrick Sheltra race report

Patrick Sheltra Battles To Third Place Finish In Irish Hills "Point's Leader Doesn't Disappoint; Delivers Eighth Straight Top-10 In '10" BROOKLYN, Michigan (June 11, 2010) - - Searching for his first win of the 2010 ARCA Racing Series (ARS) ...

Patrick Sheltra Battles To Third Place Finish In Irish Hills

"Point's Leader Doesn't Disappoint; Delivers Eighth Straight Top-10 In '10"

BROOKLYN, Michigan (June 11, 2010) - - Searching for his first win of the 2010 ARCA Racing Series (ARS) presented by RE/MAX and Menards season, Indiantown, Florida native Patrick Sheltra arrived at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) this week with an impressive streak which included all top-10 finishes in the first of seven races this year. Banking on a successful test at the two-mile oval two weeks ago, the Sheltra Motorsports team had high hopes for the Racing for Wildlife 200.

After posting the second fastest time in practice Thursday morning, Sheltra and his Mooresville, North Carolina based operation were looking forward to qualifying later in the day. The 24-year old rising star elected to only run one of two allotted laps in Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying after negotiating his No. 60 Recycling Services / Ferguson Pipe Toyota Camry to a time of 38.691 seconds at 186.090 miles per hour. At the time, Sheltra went to second on the overall qualifying board only to be bumped by eventual pole sitter Craig Goess. The fast lap was over three and a half tenths faster than the organization's second fastest time in practice Thursday morning.

Content with his career-best qualifying run on a speedway, Sheltra remained focused on Friday's contest, which would mark his 75th career start in the ARCA Racing Series. Rain showers early Friday afternoon would threaten the start of the eighth race of the season but Mother Nature quickly exited the area as fast as she had rolled in.

Taking the green flag shortly after 5:15 p.m., Sheltra immediately moved into the runner-up position where he remained through the race's first nine circuits. However, as the race progressed under green flag conditions his No. 60 Camry began to backslide as he notified his team that he was battling a tight racecar. Wolfe acknowledged his driver's assessment and assured the ARCA pro that the team would make changes to the automobile on the first pit stop.

The first yellow flag waived on lap 27 allowing Sheltra the opportunity to bring his machine to the attention of his crew where they changed four tires, added fuel and made a track bar adjustment in an effort to correct the car's handling woes.

Restarting sixth, Sheltra maneuvered his way back into the top-five two laps later only to be challenged several laps later by Nelson Piquet. Sheltra would not go down without a fight but after nearly six laps of battling, the former Formula One driver was able to pass the Floridian before Steve Arpin eventually slipped back into the clutches of Sheltra. The NASCAR-bound driver easily made his way around the No. 55 Chevrolet and set his sights on climbing further up the leader board.

During the long-green flag run, Sheltra notified Wolfe that his car was good entering the corners, loose in the center and tight off. Wolfe replied to his driver with confidence vowing to make another adjustment to his automobile on the final pit stop of the race.

Maintaining a comfort zone inside the top-five, green-flag pit stops began within the final 25 circuits of the event and with the veteran ARCA team planning to make their dash to pit road by lap 80. Luckily, three laps before having to pit under green, a spin in turn four forced a much-welcomed yellow flag. With four cars including Sheltra's on the lead lap, pit road would be clear of clutter allowing the team to take on an additional four tires, a splash of fuel and a left-side chassis adjustment to ease Sheltra's handling struggles.

Restarting third, Sheltra set his sights on the No. 16 of Joey Coulter and despite a gallant effort, "Mr. Showtime" as he is known in the ARCA garage came up short having to settle for his fifth top-five finish of the 2010 ARCA season. The run also extended Sheltra's impressive on-track performance as he is yet to finish outside the top-10 this season.

"It was a hard fought third," Sheltra admitted after the race. "We really thought that we would have something for the win, but we just couldn't get the car to handle the way we needed to. It was a good day though nonetheless. This championship isn't going to come easy this year, so we just need to keep doing what we've been doing and eventually the wins will come. I'm proud of the guys and I cannot thank them enough. I also have to give Jimmy Kitchens a special thanks. He spotted for me last weekend and again this weekend at Michigan. I appreciate him stepping in and helping us out, he did a good job."

Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is the annual trip to Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa for the running of the Prairie Meadows 200 on Saturday July 10th.

-source: sheltra motorsports

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Nelson Piquet , Jimmy Kitchens , Patrick Sheltra , Steve Arpin , Craig Goess , Joey Coulter