Toledo II: Patrick Sheltra race report

Patrick Sheltra Delivers 10th Top-Five Finish Of The Season At Toledo Speedway "Patience Yields Sheltra Sole Control Of Point Standings With Three Races Left" TOLEDO, Ohio (September 12, 2010) - - Patrick Sheltra left Toledo (Oh.) Speedway ...

Patrick Sheltra Delivers 10th Top-Five Finish Of The Season At Toledo Speedway

"Patience Yields Sheltra Sole Control Of Point Standings With Three Races Left"

TOLEDO, Ohio (September 12, 2010) - - Patrick Sheltra left Toledo (Oh.) Speedway Sunday the same way he did on May 23, in sole possession of the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards point standings after the Indiantown, Florida native wheeled to a third place finish in the Northwest Ohio Ford Dealers 200.

[IMAGE]Sheltra who was tied with Cunningham Motorsports pilot Tom Hessert for the top spot entering the 17th race of the season had hopes of improving on his Sheltra Motorsports' eighth place finish at the Northern Ohio race track nearly four months ago. Armed this weekend with a former Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevrolet now turned Dodge; Sheltra was banking on the past performances of one of his favorite short track pieces to aid him in his quest for his first stock car series championship.

After posting the 12th fastest lap in a rain-shortened practice session on Saturday afternoon, Sheltra and crew chief Jon Wolfe quickly went to work making adjustments that would further improve the handling of their No. 60 / Ferguson Pipe Dodge Charger. Unfortunately, Mother Nature's dark side would set in and drench the half-mile oval leading to a premature ending to practice and eventually force ARCA Racing Series officials to cancel Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell later that day.

Sheltra would be credited with starting on the pole thanks to his average finishing position this season of 7.5 compared to Hessert's 7.6875. Starting up front at Toledo has been known to bea pivotal element to having a good finish. Sheltra boldly lived up to that fact during the 200-lap contest.

The green and orange No. 60 of Sheltra would lead the event's first three laps before being overtaken by Hessert's No. 77 Dodge Charger on lap four with Sheltra being trapped on the outside and passed by a gaggle of race cars. Finally, Sheltra was able to find a hole in the seventh position where he maintained his Sheltra Motorsports automobile until the first caution flag waived approaching lap 40.

During the caution, Wolfe reminded his driver that his lap times were good and to keep the big picture in mind. When racing resumed, Sheltra kept himself solidly in the top-10 before being passed on lap 50 and slipping back to eighth.

While reeling in the cars in front of him, the caution flag waived on lap 75 which allowed the first round of pit stops to take place for the lead-lap machines. On lap 76, Sheltra brought his Chrysler nameplate to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.

A great pit stop by the Sheltra Motorsports clan put the team back in contention to move into the top-five. On the restart, Sheltra maintained a healthy spot inside the top-10 fluctuating between sixth and eighth before finally find himself back in the top-five just after halfway.

Oddly enough, some of Sheltra's championship challengers including nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel, Hessert and Mikey Kile would fall victim to bad racing luck virtually taking them out of contention for the win and allow the NASCAR-bound driver the opportunity to try and take advantage of their misfortune.

Sheltra would keep his nose clean and despite reporting a tight racecar from the center off, the 24-year old was still hovering in the top-five and ready to pounce on the competition during the final 50 circuits of the event. Moving into third with 40 laps remaining, Sheltra was praying for a yellow flag to allow the opportunity to duck onto pit lane for two more tires and a shot at his first Toledo win.

The caution Sheltra had been hoping four would waive on lap 177 of the 1,310 race held for the 57-year tour allowing that final trip to pit road for two right side tires and a prime opportunity for Sheltra to possibly collect his third win of the season.

Restarting behind second-place competitor Craig Goess Jr., Sheltra's machine took a few laps to come in. Even after several attempts to pass the No. 81 of Goess, Sheltra's worn left-side tires would prove to be too much to overcome with Sheltra hunkering down, playing it safe and taking the checkered flag in the third position.

The result awarded the Mooresville, North Carolina-based team with their 10th top-five effort of the year and their 14th top-10 in 17 races. It was also Sheltra's third top-five and fifth top-10 at Toledo in eight overall starts.

"This is a brand new car we brought here," said Sheltra. "The guys put it together last week in about four days. We came here and really didn't have enough practice - it got rained out. We started on the pole and I was a little worried about it. We just had to hang in there all day and work on it as we went. We finally got good enough to run in the top-five, and we came in there in the end and took two right side tires. That helped us come and get the third place finish. I wish we would have had a little bit better run but the left rear (tire) just gave up on us."

He added, "I'm really proud of my guys. They never give up week in and week out. They've put me in the position to win this championship and I'm going to do everything I can to win it not only for them, my mom, dad and everyone else that has supported us this year!"

With his performance on Sunday, Sheltra re-inherits sole possession of the point's lead over five (4065 --to- 4060) to Craig Goess Jr. Hessert slipped to third but is only 15 markers behind Sheltra for the most wanted point's position in ARCA. Kimmel remains in fourth now 140 tallies behind the fourth year ARCA driver. Justin Marks jumps up to the fifth spot trailing Sheltra by 185 points.

Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards is their second trip to Salem (Ind.) Speedway this season.

-source: sheltra motorsports

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Justin Marks , Tom Hessert , Patrick Sheltra , Mikey Kile , Craig Goess
Teams Richard Childress Racing