Salem Brawl Offers Top-15 Finish For Patrick Sheltra SALEM, Indiana (September 18, 2007) - - Patrick Sheltra wasn't exactly happy with his 14th place finish at Salem Speedway Saturday night, but he couldn't complain either. Sheltra who has...
Salem Brawl Offers Top-15 Finish For Patrick Sheltra
SALEM, Indiana (September 18, 2007) - - Patrick Sheltra wasn't exactly happy with his 14th place finish at Salem Speedway Saturday night, but he couldn't complain either.
Sheltra who has drawn attention for his serious consistency during his rookie season in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition headed to the legendary Southern Indiana facility this past weekend looking to better his 11th place finish from the spring, but handling woes from the start kept Sheltra at bay and out of the spotlight.
Heading into the first practice session of the day, Sheltra was optimistic.
During the hour and a half session, Sheltra maneuvered a lap of 18.790 seconds at 106.333 MPH putting the No. 60 Chevrolet 26th on the speed charts.
"We aren't that good," said the Indiantown, Florida native. "We tested here a couple weeks ago and we were hoping that would pay off for us, but it hasn't yet. This place is tough. If you don't hit your marks, it can screw you up. We'll make some adjustments before qualifying and hope we can improve."
Improving is just what Sheltra did.
During his two-lap ARCA SIM Factory qualifying run, Sheltra posted a fast lap of 18.306 seconds at 109.145 MPH putting him 21st on the starting grid.
"We picked up nearly a half-a-second form practice, so that's an improvement, but we're still starting in a bad position. I am expecting a lot of beating and banging in the pack that I'm in. We'll just have to deal with that the best we can and hope we can put ourselves in a good position for the race."
At the start of the Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic by Advance Auto Parts, Sheltra quickly picked off some of his competitors. While still battling a tight handling Chevrolet, Sheltra would give no mercy and continue to defend his position on the track.
When the first caution flag waived on lap 20, Sheltra locked the 18th position. Keeping his competition in close view, Sheltra planned for a charge on the restart.
It was during that restart that the teams would endure a long-span of green flag racing, nearly 100 laps of consecutive green flag racing.
While battling his own group of competitors, the leaders quickly reeled in the No. 60 taking Sheltra off the lead pack approaching lap 55. Not going down without a fight, Sheltra would eventually subside heading into turn two falling behind leader Brian Keselowski.
The Sheltra Motorsports team would have to wait until lap 112 for the next caution flag to fly. Sheltra called for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to correct the handling of his automobile.
The team performance solidly putting Sheltra back in on the track in the top-15.
Unable to retract the laps that he had lost, Sheltra would continue to battle during the races final 80 circuits to stay in the top-15.
Good battles and clean racing were the norm Saturday night at Salem and despite losing a total of three laps during the race, Sheltra hung on for a 14th place finish, giving the rookie his second straight top-15 Salem finish.
"It wasn't exactly the night we had planned, but at least we didn't end up in the garage," said Sheltra after the race. "I don't know, we just weren't all that good here this weekend. No one's fault, we just couldn't get a handle on the track. I was surprised by the length of green flag runs, a huge difference from April. All in all a respectable night for us and we'll take this and head to Talladega."
Sheltra remains seventh in the championship standings heading into the final superspeedway event of the season at Talladega Superspeedway on October 5.
Before invading Talladega for the 22nd event of the season, Sheltra and his team will join a number of competitors at the open test session at the 2.666-mile speed plant on Tuesday, September 25.