Patrick Sheltra Salvages Top-15 Finish At New Jersey Motorsports Park "Mr. Showtime Overcomes Plenty Of Adversity To Finish 13th"J MILLVILLE, New Jersey (August 16, 2010) - - ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards driver Patrick ...
Patrick Sheltra Salvages Top-15 Finish At New Jersey Motorsports Park
"Mr. Showtime Overcomes Plenty Of Adversity To Finish 13th"J
MILLVILLE, New Jersey (August 16, 2010) - - ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards driver Patrick Sheltra finished 13th in Sunday's Garden State ARCA 150 presented by American Red Cross at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) but the finish was bittersweet for the 24-year old pilot after overcoming several obstacles in the 1,306 race held for the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA).
Sheltra, the Indiantown, Florida native returned to New Jersey Motorsports Park for the third time in his career hoping to earn another top-10 effort after placing seventh last September in the South Jersey Building Trades 150.
After practicing ninth and eighth respectively in the two practice sessions Saturday leading up to Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying, the driver of the No. 60 Sheltra Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS felt confident about where he could place his automobile in time trials. Sheltra took to the 2.25-mile road course and posted a time of 84.183 seconds or 96.219 miles per hour, the third fastest of his group. Despite picking up from his fastest practice run, the avid hunter could only manage the 10th fastest qualification lap overall, placing his Sheltra Motorsports machine on the outside of row number five.
Still upbeat about the overall handling of his racecar, Sheltra was optimistic leaning into his fourth career road course race in a stock car. At the drop of the green flag, Sheltra in his typical "Mr. Showtime" fashion quickly became the center of attention after his black No. 60 began surging up the running order.
Inside the first 10 laps of the event, Sheltra had climbed inside the top-five and locked fourth before an off-track excursion on lap 16 left the ARCA pro fighting for his position inside the top-10.
Approaching lap 25, Sheltra informed his team led by crew chief Jon Wolfe that his car was free-up off. Wolfe acknowledged his driver's concern but instructing his driver to remain focused and the team would make an adjustment during the first round of pit stops.
Green flag pit stops began on lap 27 with Sheltra expanding his fuel mileage and rising to a race-high second on the leader board before ducking down to pit road on lap 32 to the attention of his Mooresville, North Carolina based crew. A solid stop put the driver back on the track still contending on the lead lap.
A few laps later, a caution flag flew allowing Sheltra to catch-up to the field hoping to make a gallant charge back towards the top-five. Unfortunately for the team, their day would take a dramatic return two laps after the restart.
While just hovering outside the top-10, Sheltra informed Wolfe that he believed the rear shock had broken. Wolfe responded to his driver's concern, advising him that his team would take a look at the problem on the next yellow.
With 18 laps remaining the caution flag flew for an accident on the frontstretch which proved to be the opportunity the veteran team needed to bring their driver to pit road and make a further diagnosis about the shock issue. When pit road opened, Sheltra brought his Chevrolet bow-tie to the attention of his crew where further evaluation of the shock deemed a broken shock tower, which the team could not correctly repair under the yellow flag.
Knowing the situation; Sheltra returned to racing action hoping to hang on for a solid finish. The NASCAR bound-driver though managed to hover safely inside the top-15 when the caution flag waived on a restart on lap 54 when pole sitter and then leader Justin Marks was turned by another competitor and plowed the inside wall.
In the meantime, the Sheltra Motorsports team on pit road were creatively putting together a plan to hopefully repair their shock tower issue; not to mention hoping another yellow flag would waive allowing them to put their repair into affect. Luckily, the caution waived shortly after the impending restart which allowed the No. 60 to come to pit road for service. Quick work by the team allowed the repair to be made, with Sheltra restarting the final laps near the tail-end of the field.
Sheltra thanked his crew for their efforts and said "it looks like its fixed boys, thanks!" Wolfe responded by saying, "it's all up to you now buddy." On the restart, Sheltra sliced and diced his way from his 14th place starting position and quickly maneuvered back into the top-10 only to be stalled on the last lap when the engine gave way forcing Sheltra with the help of the No. 1 of Chad McCumbee to be pushed across the finish line in the 13th position.
The finish yielded the four-year ARCA team with their 11th top-13 finish of the 2010 ARCA Racing Series season. The team was credited with completing 66 of the scheduled 67 circuits.
"It's tough to swallow," said Sheltra. "We had a good car at the start; I think we easily proved that. I went off the track racing with some of the other lead cars and it put us back there inside the tail end of the top-10. We were going to be fine but then we had the shock problem. From that point, the car was an extreme handful to drive. I wasn't going to give up though. Like always, they (the team) came through for me and our temporary fix worked. The car was solid; and I was sure that we were going to bring home another top-10 but then the motor gave up near turns seven and eight and that pretty much summed up our day, eventful."
Sheltra added, "I want to thank Chad (McCumbee) for pushing us to the line, I appreciated that. A huge thanks to my guys for never giving up. It wasn't a great day but it could have been a whole lot worse too. We'll chalk up this finish and go to Springfield next weekend and look for a victory trophy."
With his finish on Sunday afternoon, Sheltra unofficially controls fifth in the ARCA Racing Series championship chase, 95 markers in the arrear to nine-time ARCA champion and new leader Frank Kimmel. 50 credits keep Sheltra from moving into third now held by Tom Hessert. 20 credits separate Sheltra from fourth now held by Marks.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards is their annual trip to Illinois State Fairgrounds for the running of the Allen Crowe 100. The stop in Springfield, Illinois is the first of two dirt races for the 57-year old tour this season. Sheltra will make his fourth career start at the one-mile clay oval with hopes of landing his second career ARCA Racing Series victory next Sunday, August 22, 2010. In 2007 and 2009 respectively, Sheltra posted a track-best of third. Last year, Sheltra qualified fourth en-route to one of his eight top-10 finishes in his junior year of ARCA competition.