Patrick Sheltra Calls ARCA Victory A Cinderella Story; Focused On Rockingham; Dega TALLADEGA, Alabama (April 8, 2009) - - It was just a matter of time before Patrick Sheltra would collect his very first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory. What many...
Patrick Sheltra Calls ARCA Victory A Cinderella Story; Focused On Rockingham; Dega
TALLADEGA, Alabama (April 8, 2009) - - It was just a matter of time before Patrick Sheltra would collect his very first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory. What many people didn't expect was that Sheltra would bounce back from one of the worst accidents of his career and stun the ARCA community with a thrilling victory in last Sunday's Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 by Federated Car Care at Salem Speedway.
The win has finally sunk in for the Indiantown, Florida native but he is more determined and focused to show that they victory won't be the last one of his ARCA RE/MAX Series career. Sheltra and his Whitesville, Kentucky based Sheltra Motorsports are busy at work participating in a two-day test at Talladega Superspeedway (April 8 and 9) in preparation for round four on the tour set for April 24.
And quite frankly, Sheltra is also geared towards the next event on the ARCA circuit which steers the tour to Rockingham Speedway for the first of two races at the legendary oval this season. With Rockingham and Talladega ahead, Sheltra is reflecting on last weekend knowing that it truly was the perfect Cinderella story.
[IMAGE]"I said going into Salem it would be a perfect Cinderella story if we were able to come out of the box knowing what happened at Daytona in February and win. We backed up everything we said and more," said Sheltra, who sits third in the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship standings entering the Carolina 200 next weekend," Sheltra said.
"As a team we shifted our focus on winning races and making our equipment safer. We know that with strong performances the points will come. I know that I am a lucky. I know that my career could have been over with. But, I'm here today. We're winning and we have a lot in-store for the rest of the season."
He continued, "We're here testing at Talladega Superspeedway this week and while I'm approaching the same type of restrictor plate racing for the second time in two months, I'm not going to hold back. I think we proved that the Daytona race didn't hinder us. We have a great team and great marketing partners who believe in us. We're going to keep doing what we've been doing and try to bring home more trophies and clutter our shop with checkered flags."
With an exciting fifth place finish in last year's ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Talladega Superspeedway, the 22-year old knows that he was so close to his first victory that he could taste but coming back six months later, Sheltra knows the routine.
"They always say the first win is always the hardest," Sheltra sounded. "We have that out of the way, so hopefully we'll be able to keep the momentum alive and be in contention once again at Talladega. I just love the place. It's fast, smooth and the racing is superb. We have a new superspeedway car we're testing this week in addition to putting our Daytona backup car back on the track since last December, so I know that our speedway program will be just as strong; if not stronger than our short track effort."
Before the avid dirt late model ace can invade ARCA's biggest superspeedway track he must be able to conquer "The Rock" a track that somewhat shattered his confidence in 2008.
While running in the top-10 in the inaugural Carolina 500K last May, Sheltra became entangled in a multi-car accident which clobbered the rear of Sheltra's No. 60 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. Even with a crinkled rear-end, Sheltra still maneuvered some impressive lap times which threw "Mr. Showtime" back into the top-10 where he stayed until motor fatigue ended the team's day.
After testing at the one-mile oval in March, Sheltra knows that testing and momentum could lead to back-to-back victories next weekend.
"We had a good test at Rockingham," admitted Sheltra. "The car we are bringing back there for the race is a bad to the bone piece. The guys have worked hard and I know that I have an even stronger car than last year, so I'm looking forward to taming "The Rock" next weekend."
Looking ahead, Sheltra is focused on securing his first ARCA championship but is also thinking about the bigger picture which includes a healthy presence in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
"The ARCA RE/MAX Series has been a great tool for me but NASCAR is where I want to be," Sheltra explained. "I've been here three years now and I know our time is coming where we'll have to move on and win races somewhere else. We dabbled a little bit in the Nationwide Series last year and we'll do the same this year. The future for Sheltra Motorsports is bright and I look forward to taking our crew to a competitive level in NASCAR when the time is right."
The Sheltra Motorsports team led by crew chief and former ARCA driver John Hayden will continue to test at Talladega Superspeedway on Thursday before turning all of their concentration towards race number three at Rockingham Speedway which is etched in stone for Sunday, April 19th for 1:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on SPEED.
Sheltra has 48 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with one career victory at Salem Speedway (April 2009). Sheltra also holds second place efforts at Toledo Speedway (May 2008) and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 2008) with four additional top-five finishes, (third) at Illinois State Fairgrounds (August 2007) and (fourth) at Berlin Raceway (July 2007), (fourth) at Toledo Speedway (October 2008), (fifth) at Talladega Superspeedway (October 2008), while holding additional top-10s at Nashville Superspeedway (August 2008), Michigan International Speedway (June 2008), Kentucky Speedway (May 2008), Kansas Speedway (April 2008), Iowa Speedway (April 2008), Kentucky Speedway (June 2007), DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 2007) and Toledo Speedway (October 2007). A fourth place qualifying effort at Salem Speedway (April 2009) is Sheltra's best time trials efforts to date. He has controlled the ARCA field four times for 101 laps.