Patrick Sheltra Charges To Runner-Up Finish In Toledo "Sheltra Motorsports Team Comes Inches Short Of First Victory" TOLEDO, Ohio (May 19, 2008) -- In his second full season of ARCA competition, Patrick Sheltra has amassed as a serious contender...
Patrick Sheltra Charges To Runner-Up Finish In Toledo
"Sheltra Motorsports Team Comes Inches Short Of First Victory"
TOLEDO, Ohio (May 19, 2008) -- In his second full season of ARCA competition, Patrick Sheltra has amassed as a serious contender week in and week out. That tradition continued Sunday at Toledo Speedway when the 22-year old driver stormed to a second place finish in the Hantz Group 200 by Federated Car Care.
With an eighth place finish at Toledo Speedway last fall, Sheltra Motorsports returned to the northern Ohio race track looking for more. After qualifying 21st in the past two Toledo races, Sheltra raised the bar and put his No. 60 Ferguson Pipe-FloraGanics Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS 10th (16.294 seconds at 110.470 mph) on the starting grid, after practicing (16.496 seconds or 109.117 mph) in the same position Saturday.
With his fourth top-10 qualifying effort of the season, Sheltra was ready to collect his fourth top-10 finish of the season Sunday.
Under overcast skies, 35 cars took the green flag shortly after 2:00pm with Sheltra settling in the 10th position. The Indiantown, Florida native would lock that spot for much of the event's first quarter. Several yellow-flags inside the first 50 circuits allowed Sheltra to gather his thoughts and communicate with his crew.
Crew Chief John Hayden asked his sophomore driver about the handing of his racecar with the determined Sheltra answering "Its good buddy. Just riding, saving our stuff."
Back to racing, Sheltra would fall outside the top-10 on a bad restart but Sheltra wouldn't have time to think about as the caution flag quickly returned setting up for the first pit stop of the day.
Sheltra brought his Grace Sheltra-owned automobile down to the attention of his Sheltra Motorsports team where they bolted on four new Hoosier tires and fuel before sending their driver back into battle.
Restarting mid-pack and in the top-20, the dirt late model ace would have to use his head plus trust the experience and guidance of spotter Kevin Huffines to crawl his way back through the field.
Sheltra looked like a pro.
Taking his time and picking his battles, Sheltra continued to work back up the running order putting his florescent green machine back in the top-10 on lap 99.
Five laps later, Mother Nature invaded Toledo Speedway causing an extensive rain delay. With the dark clouds gone, the engines would be refired setting up for a 96-lap shootout.
Back to racing conditions, Sheltra again steadily began marching his machine towards the front. Continuing to mount impressive laps, Sheltra was able to climb to fifth inside 50 laps remaining.
Cheerleading from spotter Huffines and crew chief Hayden would keep Sheltra on his game and continue to take position after position on the track. Inside thirty laps to go Sheltra would find himself in close battles with fellow ARCA drivers Michael Simko, Scott Speed and Dexter Bean.
Taking each driver one at a time, Sheltra would pass his colleagues clean before arriving on the back bumper of leader Matt Carter.
With 20 laps remaining, Sheltra was looking for his first career ARCA victory. Several late race cautions would bunch the field up allowing Sheltra an opportunity to overpower the rookie Carter. Sheltra would be offered one final chance on a green-white-checker finish but Carter would hold Sheltra at bay by a car length forcing the Whitesville, Kentucky based team to net their career-best ARCA finish, second in front of a race attended by many members of the Sheltra Motorsports family.
"What a day," Sheltra said after the race. "I had a lot of fun out there. We had a great car, we really did. The guys at the shop continue to put great equipment underneath me and it showed again today. It was nice clean racing out there during those last fifty laps and that's the way it should be. I wanted to win, but I wasn't going to put myself in a position that would come back to haunt me later. I'll take second and we'll move on to Pocono. We will win a race this year, I promise."
Sheltra added, "I am thankful to all of my sponsors, friends and family for their enormous support. I am so proud of everyone on this team."
With his third career top-five finish, Sheltra maintains eighth in the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship standings, just five markers from seventh and 40 points from fourth.
After a six-week stretch for the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the teams will enjoy a two-week breather from competition before heading to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 200 set for Saturday, June 7. Sheltra Motorsports will return to their Dodge Charger nameplate for the eighth race of the 2008 ARCA season.
Exiting Toledo, Sheltra has 32 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with a career best finish of second at Toledo Speedway (May 2008) with two additional top-five finishes (third) at Illinois State Fairgrounds (August 2007), (fourth) at Berlin Raceway (July 2007) while holding additional top-10s at Kentucky Speedway (May 2008), Kansas Speedway (April 2008), Iowa Speedway (April 2008), Kentucky Speedway (June 2007), DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 2007) and Toledo Speedway (October 2007). An eighth place qualifying effort at Kansas Speedway (April 2008) is Sheltra's best time trials efforts to date. He has controlled the ARCA field once for four laps.