Pocono: Patrick Sheltra race report

Patrick Sheltra Scores Podium Finish At Pocono Raceway "Mr. Showtime Climbs To Fifth In Points" LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 8, 2009) - - Veteran ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) driver Patrick Sheltra stated he wanted to have a stellar performance...

Patrick Sheltra Scores Podium Finish At Pocono Raceway

"Mr. Showtime Climbs To Fifth In Points"

LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 8, 2009) - - Veteran ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) driver Patrick Sheltra stated he wanted to have a stellar performance in the Pocono ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway. A stellar performance is exactly what he delivered with a third place finish in Saturday's seventh ARCA race of the season.

Prior to Saturday, Sheltra had only been able to muster a best finish of 11th but coming off a bad race at Toledo Speedway a few weeks prior Sheltra was bound and determined to end the bad luck streak and return his Sheltra Motorsports team to form.

Bringing back the same No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger the team competed with last year at Pocono Raceway, Sheltra and his Sheltra Motorsports bunch led by former ARCA driver John Hayden had high hopes for the first of two Pocono Raceway events this season.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature would take it's toll on the series yet again as constant rainfall would drench the Long Pond track Friday and force the postponement of practice until Saturday morning and completely wash out qualifying which subsequently would lock Sheltra eighth on the starting grid based on the team's 2009 car owner standings.

Saturday morning brought better weather conditions allowing the teams to tackle the 2.5-mile speedway for a brief practice session. Sheltra quickly moved into the top-10 before reporting to the team that he needed a gear change on his No. 60 machine. Despite falling out of the top-10 during the switch, Sheltra propelled himself back into the top-10 and eventually finished practice in the ninth position.

"The car is good," said Sheltra. "The short practice hurt us a little I think but we'll continue to get the car better and hope for a good race."

At the start of the Pocono ARCA 200, Sheltra wasted no time picking off positions and had clocked into the fifth position when the yellow flag flew on lap one.

On the restart, Sheltra began powering towards the front again and found himself in the fourth position before a tight condition would settle in. The handling woes would slip Sheltra in the running order. When the first set of pit stops began approaching half-way, Sheltra was tucked in the sixth position.

A chassis adjustment, four tires and fuel were the norm for the Sheltra Motorsports gang with the pit crew performing an awesome pit stop which allowed Sheltra to gain three positions on the track.

Back to racing, Sheltra continued to flirt with a position inside the top-five before handling problems would yet again settle in. Still, Sheltra would not go down without a fight and continued a strong presence inside the top-six when the final set of pit stops occurred inside the final 30 markers of the event.

Another solid performance on pit road gained Sheltra positions on the track with the Indiantown, Florida native holding fourth in the running order.

On the restart, Sheltra put on a great battle with the No. 16 of Joey Coulter with the two Floridians swapping positions back and forth for several laps before Coulter succumbed to Sheltra's Buffalo Wings & Rings Racing machine. Sheltra would pull away from Coulter on the final lap to cross the start finish line third, locking his first Pocono podium finish and the team's best result since finishing second at Rockingham Speedway in April.

"It wasn't an easy race," said Sheltra, who moved to fifth in points with his performance. "I had to fight for that one. It was a lot of fun though. We had a good car, just had a tight condition that we had to battle over and over again all day long. The guys did a phenomenal job on pit road. I was real proud of them. I'm happy for Buffalo Wings & Rings and everyone associated with this race team. I think we're back on track."

The 23-year old phenom added, "I had a great time racing with Joey Coulter. We raced hard together for a lot of laps and we never touched. I have a lot of respect for him and I appreciate that he raced me cleanly."

Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a trip to Michigan International Speedway (MIS) for the running of the Racing for Wildlife 200 on Friday, June 12.

-credit: PatrickSheltra.com.

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Series ARCA
Drivers John Hayden , Patrick Sheltra