Tricky Triangle No Match For Points Leader Patrick Sheltra's Impressive Season "Despite Adversity; Sheltra Recovers To Fourth; Secures Seventh Straight Top-10" LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 6, 2010) - - In only what can be described as a wacky...
Tricky Triangle No Match For Points Leader Patrick Sheltra's Impressive Season
"Despite Adversity; Sheltra Recovers To Fourth; Secures Seventh Straight Top-10"
LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 6, 2010) - - In only what can be described as a wacky day at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway during Saturday's Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200, it appeared that a strong start to the season for ARCA Racing Series driver Patrick Sheltra and his Sheltra Motorsports team would be derailed but the team fought back in classic style to post their seventh consecutive top-10 finish in the seventh race of the 2010 season.
The Jon Wolfe-led team entered Pocono this past weekend bringing a former Dodge Charger chassis transformed to a Toyota Camry during the team's intense off-season. Unable to have an opportunity to test or shake down their converted automobile, the four-year ARCA team headed into race weekend cautiously optimistic.
A short practice session on Friday morning posted the No. 60 Recycling Services / Ferguson Pipe Toyota Camry sixth on the overall rundown despite only turning six laps around the 2.5-mile triangle. The team's limited time on the track would be shortened due to a hole in the team's fuel line. With the problem corrected, the team was confident about Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying.
Due to the track's unique size and the length of time to tackle the track nicknamed the "tricky triangle", teams are only given one lap in time trials. In his Grace Sheltra owned automobile, Sheltra posted a lap of 55.242 seconds at 162.920 miles per hour, putting him second on the board at the time. After qualifications were complete, the Indiantown, Florida native slid four more positions on the pylon to land sixth, a career-best speedway qualifying effort for Sheltra, eclipsing an eighth place start at Kansas Speedway in 2008.
"Our Recycling Services / Ferguson Pipe Toyota Camry is pretty good," sounded Sheltra. "We had a pretty early draw but to maintain a good lap time compared to some of the other drivers who lost some speed from practice, we'll take sixth and hope to take our car to the front in the race."
Taking the green flag as the ARCA Racing Series point's leader in the 50th trip for the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) to Pocono, Sheltra wasted zero time moving into the top-five overtaking point's rival Justin Marks by the completion of lap one.
As the early stages pressed on, Sheltra maintained his position inside the top-five before the 24-year old began to slowly backside through the field. A severe change to the handling of Sheltra's automobile prompting the pilot to bring his Japanese nameplate to pit road under green flag conditions on lap 29 to the attention of Wolfe and his team. A quick stop that consistent of four tires, fuel and a minor chassis adjustment to correct a grip issue sent Sheltra back into the hunt inside the top-15.
After examining the tires, Wolfe informed his driver that he had a right rear flat which easily explained the vastly changing conditions of the team's No. 60 entry. Meanwhile, leader Mikey Kile was setting a blistering pace around the Pocono Raceway and when the first caution waived on lap 37, just three cars remained on the lead lap.
Fortunately for Sheltra Motorsports, the team would find themselves ahead of the three leaders on the restart; technically putting themselves on the tail end of the lead lap. The tail end group consisted of six to eight cars but Sheltra along with Frank Kimmel and Robb Brent were able to escape the chaos behind them and remain ahead of the leaders for nearly 25 laps.
Leader Kile attempted several times to overtake the green machine of Sheltra to no avail but approaching lap 67, Kile finally made the move around the ARCA pro putting Sheltra in position for the "lucky dog." While sitting in the prone position, Wolfe informed his team and spotter Jimmy Kitchens that they would have to make a trip down pit road on lap 70 for a splash of fuel. Luckily though, the caution waived on the same lap allowing Sheltra to remain on the track and take advantage of the free pass.
While the team was relieved to be back on the lead lap, they still had to make it back to pit road as Sheltra reported his car was on "fumes". Sheltra used nearly every trick in the book to save gas just praying that he would make it back to his crew. For what seemed like an eternity, Sheltra did eventually arrive at pit stall 30 and the team opted to add four new tires and a can of Sunoco racing fuel under the second yellow flag of the day.
The downside of being the beneficiary of the lucky dog meant that Sheltra would have to start at the tail end of the longest line and with just four cars on the lead lap including Sheltra's, that line was incredibly stretched. The team was hoping for a caution to put Sheltra into the mix for his first win of the season but the yellow flag never would be displayed instead, Sheltra took the checkered flag in the fourth position, completing all 80 laps of the 200-mile event.
"It was a total team effort," said Sheltra, who recorded his fourth top-five and seventh top-10 finish of the season. "We turned what could have been a disastrous day into something positive. I'm so proud of Jon (Wolfe, crew chief) and all the guys. We will never give up as a team. We're in this together and hopefully we can keep this momentum train going!"
Sheltra also added, "I want to thank Jimmy Kitchens for stepping in and helping us this weekend. He did a great job and I enjoyed working with him. Also, I know I would not be here if had not been for my parents, my fans and our marketing partners."
With his second top-five finish at Pocono Raceway in eight starts, Sheltra was able to extend his points lead over Justin Marks by another 15 points, totaling 25 markers overall after seven races. Taking the point's lead to the Racing for Wildlife 200 next Friday night.
All About Flowers, American Concrete, CAM 2 Blue Blood Racing Oil, Ferguson Pipe Enterprises and Sheltra & Son Construction, Inc. joined Recycling Services as the team's marketing partners in Saturday's contest.
Exiting Pocono, Sheltra has 74 ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards starts to his credit with one career victory at Salem (Ind.) Speedway (April 2009). During his ARCA tenure, Sheltra has accumulated 14 top-fives and posted 29 top-10 finishes. A third place qualifying effort at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway (April 2009) is Sheltra's best time trials efforts to date. He has controlled the ARCA field six times for 148 laps.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards is a stop in the "Motor City" for the running of the Racing for Wildlife 200 on Friday, June 11 at Michigan International Speedway. Sheltra and company will return to the two-mile oval on the heels of a successful test session where the team landed second overall two weeks ago.
-source: sheltra motorsport