Patrick Sheltra Caps Off Season With Top-Five Finish At Toledo
Topics: Patrick Sheltra, Hantz Group 200
TOLEDO, Ohio (October 15, 2008) - - The final two races of the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season proved to be critical for Patrick Sheltra and he certainly made the best of them by capturing his second consecutive top-five finish with a fourth place run in Sunday’s Hantz Group 200 by Belle Tire and Federated Car Care.
Sheltra’s effort notched his third consecutive top-10 and second straight top-five performance at Toledo Speedway in the No. 60 Environmental Protection Services and Engineering Concepts Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS fielded by the Whitesville, Kentucky-based Sheltra Motorsports.
Sheltra’s ninth top-10 finish of the season didn’t come easy as the Indiantown, Florida native was forced to come from the back of the pack to find himself in contention for the season finale for the ARCA RE/MAX Series.
Despite only maneuvering the 22nd fastest time in practice, Sheltra informed his team led by veteran crew chief John Hayden that his car was real good. “This car is reacting the same way we did in the spring. The competition is a little stiffer this second time around but we’re ready for that. I’m optimistic heading into qualifying, but we have a good piece for the race.”
In ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, Sheltra picked up the pace but it didn’t help his starting position. Sheltra’s two-lap hustle around the half-mile oval was clocked at 16.681 seconds at 107.907 miles per hour, locking the second year ARCA team 24th on the starting grid. Sheltra’s time trials effort was over a tenth quicker than his best practice lap earlier in the day.
“I’m not real happy with the starting spot, but it is what it is,” sounded Sheltra, who finished second at Toledo Speedway in May. “Like I said earlier, we have a good racecar, we’ll just have to mind our manners and move up as cleanly as possible during the race.”
At the start of the Hantz Group 200 by Belle Tire and Federated Car Care, Sheltra quickly started posting times identical to the leaders. Holding Sheltra back though would be the unusual amount of yellow flags. With the little green flag racing in the first fifty circuits of the event, Sheltra was able to overtake his competitors and successfully moved into the top-20 by lap seven.
Moving up the ladder, Sheltra had climbed into the top-15 by lap 34 when two of the championship leaders tangled. Moving towards the front, Sheltra advised his team of the water temperature inside his Grace Sheltra owned automobile had climbed into the high 240s. Crew Chief Hayden advised his protégé to keep an eye on the issue.
Sitting steady and picking off one competitor at a time, Sheltra found himself comfortable inside the top-15 until the next yellow flag waived. With the water temperatures rising inside the Environmental Protection Services and Engineering Concepts Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, Sheltra was called for a trip to pit road to take off some tape and cool off his motor just past one-quarter of the distance of the 200-lap event.
With the temperature easing, Sheltra was able to refocus and head back to the front. Typical short track beating and banging was the norm at Toledo Speedway and Sheltra wasn’t afraid to use his bumper if needed to move up in the running order.
What Sheltra didn’t expect was a slowing Ken Butler III to stop directly in front of him for another spinning car which caused some minor sheet metal damage to the team’s No. 60 automobile. With a significant tire rub, the team took the opportunity on the next caution to come in and pull out the fender and send their driver back into battle.
Still holding a prime position in the top-10, Sheltra restarted 10th and had moved into the fourth position before signaling a tight racecar through radio communication. Inside fifty laps remaining, Sheltra dipped down pit road one final time for the season and changed two tires and made a chassis adjustment to correct the handling issue.
Restarting eighth, Sheltra blasted back to fourth and had a shot at the leaders on the final restart of the season but fell short, crossing the line fourth, his fourth top-five finish of the season.
“A total team effort. We had a good car, just ran out of laps. It was a crazy race today. A lot of messy contact. We played it smart and avoided the wrecks which put us near the front at the end of the race. The last restart of the day didn’t go well for us otherwise; I think we would have had something for the top three. It happens. I’m really proud of my guys for their hard work this season and we’ll be back and better than ever in 2009. I also have to thank our marketing partners for their continued support all year long. This year would not have been possible without them,” said Sheltra, the 22-year old rising star.
He added, “Congratulations to Justin Allgaier (race winner and 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series champion). I’m really happy for him!”
With his superb finish at Toledo Speedway, Sheltra locked sixth in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series championship standings accumulating 4580 markers, forty points ahead of seventh place competitor John Wes Townley. Last season in his inaugural year of ARCA competition, Sheltra completed in 22 of the scheduled 23 races and finished seventh in the final championship rundown.
Sheltra earned the Casite Hard Charger award for his efforts at Toledo Speedway and for the second consecutive season earned the Hard Charger award title which will be presented to him at the Championship Awards Banquet in December.
With his sophomore ARCA season complete, Sheltra will shift focus and head to the NASCAR Nationwide Series where he and his Sheltra Motorsports team will compete in the final two events of the season at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Next up ARCA style for Sheltra Motorsports will be the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards Banquet set for Saturday, December 6, 2008 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington , Kentucky . Following the banquet, Sheltra Motorsports will prepare for a three-day test at Daytona International Speedway (December 19, 20 and 21) in preparation for the 2009 season opener for the ARCA RE/MAX Series next February.
Exiting Toledo, Sheltra has 46 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with a career best finish of second at Toledo Speedway (May 2008) and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 2008) with four additional top-five finishes, (fourth) at Toledo Speedway (October 2008), (fifth) at Talladega Superspeedway (October 2008), (third) at Illinois State Fairgrounds (August 2007) and (fourth) at Berlin Raceway (July 2007) while holding additional top-10s at Nashville Superspeedway (August 2008), Michigan International Speedway (June 2008), 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 three times for 17 laps.
For more on Patrick Sheltra, please visit PatrickSheltra.com.
TEAM COMMUNICATIONS CONTACT:
NAME: Chris Knight, Sheltra Motorsports
PHONE: 239.834.9797 or 830.261.1215
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|