Long Day For Patrick Sheltra In Pocono
Topics: Patrick Sheltra, Pennsylvania 200
POCONO, Pennsylvania (Monday, August 6, 2007) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Patrick Sheltra headed to Pocono Raceway this past weekend looking to rebound from his spring performance which saw Sheltra suffer tire woes throughout much of the 80 lap event.
On Saturday, Sheltra showed some muscle with his No. 60 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, but a slew of problems late in the race saw a top-10 performance escape the Florida native. Instead, Sheltra settled for 11th.
The weekend started off strong for the Sheltra Motorsports team with the rookie putting his automobile into the top-10 on the practice rundown posting a time of 55.573 seconds at 161.949 MPH, ninth overall.
“Our car is really good,” said Patrick Sheltra. “The team did a great preparing the car and it’s nice to be quick. We’re going to make a couple minor adjustments and hope we can put our car solidly in the lineup.”
During ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, Sheltra once again proved that he had a strong car by pulling together a lap of 54.587 seconds or 164.874 MPH awarding him the ninth position for the 45th ARCA race held at Pocono Raceway.
“We picked up a little and the car is reacting fine,” continued Sheltra. “While 80 laps don’t seem like a lot, it’s a lot here. I think we’ll be fine for the race.”
At the start of the Pennsylvania 200, Sheltra remained calm and collective remaining strong inside the top-10. When the caution flag waived on lap five, Sheltra hovered in the ninth position.
Crew chief John Hayden opted to use some pit strategy and bring his talented driver to pit road on lap nine to top off the fuel tank and prepare for the remaining seventy laps on the track.
The drop of the green flag saw Sheltra hustled his way back towards the lead pack. Another caution on lap 11 kept Sheltra at bay, but would make another charge on the restart to rise into the top-15 by lap 25.
While racing inside the top-12 on lap 37, Sheltra got aero loose while racing with the No. 6 of Dexter Bean sending the multicolored machine for an innocent loop. Luckily, Sheltra didn’t make any contact – but brought his machine to the attention of his Sheltra Motorsports team.
The team reviewed the car before slapping four tires and fuel on Sheltra’s CP Concrete Products, US Construction, SawHorse Outfitters, Brady Ranch and FloraGanics sponsored machine.
Back into competition, Sheltra quietly moved his through the pack on the restart, hovering inside the top-20. When Landon Cassill blew a tire on lap 46, Hayden opted to keep his driver out on the track putting him second on the restart.
Gunning for the lead on the restart, Sheltra kept his machine into the top-three before an incident occurred on lap 56 that involved the No. 60.
Racing towards the tunnel turn, the No. 5 of Bobby Gerhart tried to make a pass on the No. 60 of Sheltra when the two made contact sending Gerhart hard into the wall.
Sheltra immediately came on the radio, “I guess he thought he was clear. I didn’t mean to hit him; he just came up in front of me.”
While calming down their driver, the crew reminded their driver to remain focused.
Trying to race back into the top-10, Sheltra radioed to his team that he had lost first and second gear in his transmission, meaning Sheltra would have to restart in third gear for the remainder of the race.
The transmissions issues kept Sheltra at bay on the restart, but he was able to make up the lost ground by the time the cars reached the tunnel turn.
Despite gallant efforts to put his machine back in the top-10, Sheltra came up one position short settling for 11th, his career best finish at Pocono Raceway.
“It was a long day,” said Sheltra. “We had a good car, but in the end the transmission problems hindered us. I want to thank all the guys on the Sheltra Motorsports team for giving me a great car.”
Sheltra continued, “We had a pretty decent day in the points, so it’s not a bad deal all the way around. I really would have liked to grabbed a top-10 run, but we’ll take 11th with all the circumstances we faced this weekend.”
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the 15th event on the 2007 schedule with a return trip to Music City at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon , Tennessee . The TOYOTA ARCA 150 is scheduled for Saturday, August 11 set to roll off live on the SPEED channel at 3:30pm Eastern Time.
In April, Sheltra finished 25th after starting 11th.
For more on Patrick Sheltra, please visit PatrickSheltra.com
NAME: Chris Knight, Sheltra Motorsports
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