Talladega: Patrick Sheltra race report

Patrick Sheltra Electrifies ARCA Field With Thrilling Runner-Up Effort At Talladega TALLADEGA, Alabama (April 23, 2010) - - Patrick Sheltra in the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger electrified the ARCA field in Friday's Talladega ARCA...

Patrick Sheltra Electrifies ARCA Field With Thrilling Runner-Up Effort At Talladega

TALLADEGA, Alabama (April 23, 2010) - - Patrick Sheltra in the No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger electrified the ARCA field in Friday's Talladega ARCA 250 after recovering from damage in the "big one" to finish second at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Sheltra, pulling double this weekend by competing in both the ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events at the 2.66-mile superspeedway had high hopes for his fourth career start at Talladega, especially after posting a stout fifth place run in the ARCA season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

After a solid practice, Sheltra qualified his Grace Sheltra-owned machine 15th on Thursday afternoon setting up for what he knew would be an exciting ARCA Racing Series event.

[IMAGE]From the drop of the green flag, Sheltra despite having hiccups with his radio was able to maneuver from his starting position and draft his way into the top-10 where he stayed until the caution waived on lap 17. During the yellow, crew chief Jon Wolfe brought his driver to pit road for fuel, two right side tires and a replacement radio.

Before returning to green flag conditions, the Indiantown, Florida native radioed to his crew "it's time to go racing boys!" On the restart, Sheltra began negotiating his Buffalo Wings & Rings Racing entry though the stout ARCA field and found himself in the hunt when the "big one" unraveled on lap 50 when a multitude of machines got together with the green and orange Dodge Charger nearly avoiding the incident, but could not miss the wildly spinning No. 66 entry of Mark Thompson.

Under the lengthy yellow, Sheltra brought his machine to the attention of his crew where they diligently made the repairs to his automobile before sending him back into competition. For a while, it was thought that Sheltra's streak of consecutive top-10 finishes in ARCA competition would be put to rest as the No. 60 had lost the lead draft and was in jeopardy of losing his lead lap status when the yellow flag waived again inside the final 20 circuits for debris.

Knowing that they were know back in the game, the Mooresville, North Carolina operation was prepared to settle and hover inside the top-10 but their 23-year old hero had other intentions. Another caution inside the final 12 laps of the event would put the best of the ARCA bunch into a 10-lap shootout with Sheltra quickly and vibrantly on the move.

Throwing his beaten and bruised No. 60 machine to the outside line of the track worked as he began catching the lead pack and continuously inched up the leader board with the laps dwindling down. With three laps remaining, Sheltra had climbed into the fifth position but he wasn't done yet. Despite having a machine that looked like that it just completed 200 laps at the physically demanding short track of Salem (Ind.) Speedway, the ARCA pro hammered down and attached itself to the rear of the No. 22 of Dakoda Armstrong.

Coming to the white flag, Sheltra was prepared to keep the two Dodges together and hope to make a move on leaders Grant Enfinger, Steve Arpin and Tom Hessert. The opportunity came as the cars entered the backstretch on the white flag lap Sheltra gave the No. 22 of Armstrong a shove which ejected the two machines from the lead group which allowed a jumbled up field behind them to fend for themselves. Despite two spinning cars on the racetrack in turns three and four, Sheltra tried making one last attempt on his Chrysler nameplate teammate but ran out of time and crossed the start finish line second, notching his best finish of the 2010 ARCA Racing Series season.

"Man, I don't know what to say," sound Sheltra after the race. "We never gave up. I didn't think we were going to have a good finish there for a while but everything came together for us near the end, we pushed Dakoda (Armstrong) to the win and brought our Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge home in second. We're thrilled."

When asked of his late race surge, Sheltra said, "I just went to the top and everything worked out. Jason (Jarrett, spotter) did an incredible job for me. He is really good about keeping me informed of everything that was going on. I still cannot believe that with all the damage we had, we were able to come home in second. I just can't say enough about Jon (Wolfe, crew chief) and this Sheltra Motorsports team. I want to thank Buffalo Wings & Rings, Ferguson Pipe, CAM 2 Blue Blood Racing Oil, just everyone that makes this possible. We're having one heck of a season."

Indeed, Sheltra is enjoying a stellar 2010 season. In five races this season, Sheltra is the only ARCA pilot to have notched five consecutive top-10 finishes this year. Sheltra started off the year with a fifth place run at Daytona, a 10th on the wet and slippery Palm Beach (Fla.) International Raceway, a fourth at Salem (Ind.) Speedway, a seventh last Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway and posted his 13th career top-five at Talladega Friday. Previously, Sheltra's best effort at Talladega came in 2008 where he finished fifth.

With the finish, Sheltra closes the ARCA Racing Series championship point's gap and now sits just 30 markers from first now held by close friend Justin Marks. 10 markers separate the avid hunter from second locked by Arpin.

Earlier Friday morning, Sheltra qualified his No. 09 RAB Racing Ford Fusion 22nd for Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron's 312. A career best qualifying effort on the Nationwide side plus the momentum of the ARCA finish gives the rising star extra momentum towards his first Nationwide start at 'Dega. The eighth race of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series is scheduled for Saturday, April 24 with live coverage on ABC beginning at 2:00 p.m. local. Sheltra will also compete in his first stock car event in a Ford Fusion for the Concord-based RAB Racing with Brack Maggard operation.

Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is the first of two trips to Toledo (Oh.) Speedway for the running of the Menards 200 by Federated Car Care set for Sunday, May 23. Sheltra will make his seventh career start at the half-mile short track.

Exiting Talladega, Sheltra has 72 ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards starts to his credit with one career victory at Salem Speedway (April 2009). During his ARCA tenure, Sheltra has accumulated 13 top-fives and posted 27 top-10 finishes. A third place qualifying effort at Rockingham Speedway (April 2009) is Sheltra's best time trials efforts to date. He has controlled the ARCA field six times for 148 laps.

-source: sheltra motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Justin Marks , Tom Hessert , Brack Maggard , Patrick Sheltra , Steve Arpin , Dakoda Armstrong , Grant Enfinger