Salem: Patrick Sheltra race report

Patrick Sheltra Stout In Salem SALEM, Indiana (April 11, 2010) - - It appeared that Patrick Sheltra was heading for back-to-back wins in Sunday's Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented by but a late race scuffle with ...

Salem: Patrick Sheltra race report
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Patrick Sheltra Stout In Salem

SALEM, Indiana (April 11, 2010) - - It appeared that Patrick Sheltra was heading for back-to-back wins in Sunday's Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented by but a late race scuffle with another competitor while battling for the lead set the team back to a fourth place finish in the third race of the 2010 ARCA Racing Series (ARS) season at Salem (Ind.) Speedway.

Sheltra and his Jon Wolfe-led Sheltra Motorsports team arrived in Salem with confidence that the Indiantown, Florida native could maneuver his No. 60 Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge Charger back to victory lane for his one-year inaugural ARCA anniversary win. By the conclusion of the short hour and a half practice session on Saturday afternoon, it was evident that Sheltra had a car capable of a repeat performance.

Track conditions Saturday afternoon hampered the team's spirit as "speedy dry" from qualifying of another division at the southern Indiana track played havoc with several of the first qualifiers for the ARCA Racing Series which included the Grace Sheltra owned automobile of Sheltra. Hanging on for dear life, Sheltra was able to post two laps which lined up his No. 60 machine 15th on the starting grid.

Under ideal racing conditions Sunday afternoon, Sheltra wasted no time maneuvering through the field as by the completion of lap one, "Mr. Showtime" had already climbed into the 10th position. A few early race cautions would temporarily stall the momentum of the Sheltra Motorsports hot rod but under racing conditions, Sheltra quickly ate his competition and moved into the top-five when the first round of routine pit stops occurred approaching lap 50.

Two tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment was the call from Wolfe atop of the pit box. A stellar stop by the Sheltra Motorsports posse put the 23-year old driver back on the track in the sixth position behind several cars that elected not to make the trip to pit road.

On the restart, Sheltra quickly gobbled up his competition and found himself hunting down the leader Steve Arpin. Sheltra had set up to make the pass around the eventual race winner but the yellow flag would waive again with the defending race winner locking the second position. Sheltra though would inherit the lead when Arpin ducked down pit lane for his stop.

Sheltra would guide the ARCA Racing Series field for just the sixth time in his career for 39 laps before Joey Coulter, who had fresher tires passed the Buffalo Wings & Rings Racing machine on lap 120. From there, Sheltra stayed comfortably in the podium arena but another yellow flag yielded an opportunity for the experienced dirt late model driver to return to pit road to the attention of his Mooresville, North Carolina team for the final stop of the day for four tires and fuel.

Restarting sixth, the No. 60 machine quickly began slicing and dicing his way back through the field before landing on back bumper of the No. 81 of Craig Goess. The two cars battled it out for several laps. As Sheltra tried to make an attempt to pass the Eddie Sharp Racing driver, the bumper cover flew off of Goess's machine and landed on the front end of Sheltra's Dodge. Spotter Timmy McKichan advised his driver to quickly try and dispose of the debris as the temperature would begin to climb from the blockage of the grill. After several laps, Sheltra was able to dispose of the baggage which ultimately caused a caution.

On the restart, Sheltra gave Goess no mercy as was finally able to move around the No. 81 with the ARCA pro now gunning to chase down Arpin. Sheltra showed his muscle by quickly catching the No. 55 machine but another yellow would waive putting him back in the clutches of the Venturini Motorsports driver.

Back to racing, Arpin spun his tires on the restart allowing Sheltra to make his move but as the cars exited turns one and two contact was made which sheered off the right front fender of Sheltra's car. An agitated driver wasn't bound to give up his shout at a second-career victory. Another late race restart gave Sheltra an opportunity to make a move on Arpin but the damage from the contact made his car severely ill-handling which allowed Arpin to check out and force Sheltra to battle his third and fourth place competitors of Goess and Justin Marks. On the white flag lap both Goess and Marks made their move together underneath Sheltra on the backstretch and into turn three, Sheltra hammered the pedal upon the exit of turn three with his car immediately taking off towards the Salem concrete. Sheltra though miraculously despite gliding against the turn four wall was able to hold onto the fourth position and cross the line ahead of fifth place competitor Tom Hessert.

"We had a good car," said Sheltra. "I guess I was getting too greedy at the end but we were definitely capable of passing Steve (Arpin). I went for the move on the restart and we hit. From there the car's attitude changed completely and we were just trying to hold on. I am really proud and thankful of Jon (Wolfe, crew chief) and the Sheltra Motorsports team. They were fabulous all weekend and we keep heading in the right direction. I also want to thank everyone from Buffalo Wings & Rings who made the trip out to watch us race. We had a lot of support in the stands and it felt good to lead some laps and bring them home a solid finish."

The third consecutive top-10 finish for Sheltra and his clan this season allowed them to rise one position in the ARCA Racing Series point standings to third, just 35 markers behind Marks and Arpin who are tied for the top-spot. In his four full-time seasons of ARCA competition, Sheltra has never had a better start to a season.

Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is a trip to Texas Motor Speedway where the sanctioning body will return to the ultra-fast 1.5-mile oval for the first time in over a decade. Sheltra Motorsports will make their season debut in a Toyota Camry for the Rattlesnake 150 which is set for Friday, April 16th.

-source: sheltra motorsports

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