Under brisk but crystal clear blue skies over a dozen ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) teams participated in the fifth open test session of the 2008 season preparing their automobiles for the ninth event on the 2008 ARS calendar, the Michigan ARCA 200 set...
Under brisk but crystal clear blue skies over a dozen ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) teams participated in the fifth open test session of the 2008 season preparing their automobiles for the ninth event on the 2008 ARS calendar, the Michigan ARCA 200 set to commence on Friday, June 13th shortly after 5:00 p.m. EST live on SPEED.
The series returns to the facility for the 27th time since 1980 with ARCA driver Patrick Sheltra poised to make his third career start at the two-mile oval. Last year, Sheltra aboard his familiar No. 60 Chevrolet entry, qualified 24th but showed maturity and patience by guiding his Grace Sheltra owned machine to the 14th position, one of 20 machines on the lead circuit (100 laps complete). In 2006, Sheltra driving for veteran NASCAR driver Ken Schrader Sheltra finished 33rd after experience in an engine failure in the Hantz Group 200.
Unlike the previous two seasons, Sheltra will not bring a Chevrolet for race competition. Instead, Sheltra and his Whitesville, Kentucky based Sheltra Motorsports team will bring a Dodge Charger with their signature Camouflage paint scheme. Prior to Tuesday's test, the team has run a Dodge Charger in two of the seven ARCA RE/MAX Series events this season awarding the team with two straight top-10 finishes at Kansas Speedway and Kentucky Speedway respectively.
Teams took to the track shortly after 9:00am local time with the complete day of testing scheduled to end at 5:00pm local time.
Here are some notes and quotes from today's session:
PATRICK SHELTRA, NO. 60 FERGUSON PIPE ENTERPRISES, INC.-FLORAGANICS-THE CASITE COMPANY DODGE CHARGER:
SHELTRA: (ON MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY) "Michigan International Speedway is an amazing place. A huge track with a lot of history. I've raced here twice with one bad finish and one solid finish. This year, I would like to make a statement at Michigan International Speedway and put our team in victory lane in the "Motor City."
SHELTRA: (YOU CHANGED MOTORS JUST PRIOR TO THE BREAK) "Yeah, we felt like we were losing some horsepower. We were turning some pretty good laps early and then we just started falling off the pace. We didn't want to completely lose the motor so we pulled it out and put the back-up in. We're not worried, just glad that we diagnosed the problem here at the test rather than race weekend."
SHELTRA: (ON WEDNESDAY'S TEST SESSION) "This is a brand new piece for us this weekend. It's another Dodge that we've acquired from Penske Racing and I know it will be a great piece. We just want to get a good feel for this car, shake out the bugs and make sure our RC Consultants motors have some serious steam. We want to come back here in a couple weeks and be the car to beat."
SHELTRA: (WHAT IS THE KEY TO MASTERING MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY?) "You have to have a good down force car and you have to some power under the hood. We're lucky enough we've acquired some great equipment from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series side and it's been dividends for us. RC Consultants does our engines for the Dodge program and they have really stepped up to the plate and poured out some horsepower. I'm very confident in our abilities for this race and I know that we can be a car to beat."
SHELTRA: (ON THE DODGE PROGRAM) "We can not be any more pleased with the progress and performance of our Dodge program at Sheltra Motorsports. We weren't really sure what to expect when we announced the switch, but it's very likely that you'll see us run more Dodges this year than Chevrolets."
SHELTRA: (HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR ARCA TO COME BACK TO MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY YEAR AFTER YEAR?) "Well, I've only been here twice but I believe the series has been coming here since the 1980s, that's a long time. A couple years before I was even born. The ARCA RE/MAX Series is an important series, it really is. The officials at Michigan International Speedway have realized that as well and that's why we see MIS in the schedule every year. I really wish they would go back to two races here though. Maybe that's something we'll see for 2009."
SHELTRA: (HOW IMPORTANT IS A SPOTTER AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY?) "A spotter is so crucial anywhere you go but at Michigan International Speedway I wouldn't want to race without one. Things happen in a hurry here and you want to have another set of eyes on the track looking out for you. I have a great spotter in Kevin Huffines and I wouldn't want anyone but him up there for me."
SHELTRA: (MICHIGAN IS HOME TO ONE OF YOUR MARKETING PARTNERS, THE CASITE COMPANY) "Yes, it's very cool to have a company like The Casite Company this close to the race track. I tell you what; their products at The Casite Company are the best on the market. We use them fluently at the shop and the track and we would not consider using anyone else. I want to thank The Casite Company for all they've done for me and Sheltra Motorsports and we hope that we can deliver them a victory in their own back yard next month."
SHELTRA: (POINTS ARE EXTREMLY TIGHT, WHAT CAN AN ARCA RACE AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY DO TO YOUR SEASON?) "Much like any big racetrack it can either be a real good point's day or a real bad point's day. We've been fortunate enough to be able to avoid a lot of headaches but we can't let our guard down, especially at Michigan International Speedway. We need to go out there, practice well, sit on the pole and be a contender to the win the race. I'm not worried about the guys ahead of me or behind me; I'm focused on getting the best finish possible for our marketing partners and team."
SHELTRA: (ON SEASON THUSFAR) "We really have no room to complain. We've had a good season. We had one bad run at Rockingham where we lost an engine but other than that we don't have anything to cry about. Besides Rockingham, we've finished in the top-15 and our last race we finished second. The team is really pumped up."
SHELTRA: (DID YOU EXPECT YOUR SOPHMORE SEASON TO GO THIS WELL SO FAR?) "We were hoping that it would. We announced last year at the ARCA banquet that we would going to try and be a serious threat for the championship. We have a great team surrounded by some great equipment. We just have to keep doing what we're doing and try not to have any mistakes."