Patrick Sheltra Survives the DRIVE4COPD 300 to Score a Top-25 Finish at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (February 21, 2011) - 2010 ARCA Racing Series Champion Patrick Sheltra survived a late-race wreck in the DRIVE4COPD 300 to claim a 24th-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Having to qualify into the field on speed, Sheltra drove his No. 41 Rick Ware Racing (RWR) Ford around the 2.5-mile high-banked oval in a time of 50.873 seconds (176.911 mph). The time was good enough to get Sheltra into the field, lining up in the 35th position.
When the green flag dropped to signal the start of the 2011 NNS season, Sheltra maintained position for the first 15 laps while struggling with the power in his No. 41 Ford. The first yellow of the 200-mile event came out on lap 15 for a multi-car wreck, giving the Rick Ware Racing team an opportunity to adjust on their Ford Mustang.
Sheltra brought his car down pit road on lap 17, and his RWR team went to work topping their No. 41 machine off with fuel and adding tape to the grill hoping to find more speed and increase drafting ability in their car.
Sheltra returned to the field in the 34th position for the lap 20 restart. The Florida-native muscled his way to 28th in only three laps, but it didn't take long for the yellow to come out for a second time. Still struggling to find the horsepower needed to keep up with the leaders, Sheltra returned to pit road on lap 25 for another tape adjustment and some fuel and returned to the track in the 28th position.
The green flag restarted the field on lap 28, and Sheltra again began to pick up positions moving into the top-20 by lap 35. Still struggling with his RWR Ford, the 24-year-old driver couldn't stay with the pack and was running without the help of a drafting partner around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Frustrated with his car, Sheltra radioed to his crew that his car would not suck up to the car in front of him in the draft.
A lap 55 wreck brought the caution out again, slowing the field after a long green-flag run, but unfortunately caught the No. 41 Ford one lap down to the leaders. During the yellow Sheltra brought his car down pit road for more service, and his RWR team changed four tires and added fuel before returning their young driver to the field in the 27th position.
The field restarted on lap 59 and Sheltra fought to get his Ford into Lucky Dog position. Drafting with a pack of four cars, he moved into the 22nd position, where he would stay for the next 30 laps. The long green-flag run brought green-flag pit stops, and Sheltra brought his RWR Ford down pit road for fuel only on lap 98.
A lap 100 yellow caught the No. 41 two laps down, still running in the 23rd position. During the yellow Sheltra again radioed to his crew that his car would not pull up to the car in front during the draft.
A lap 104 restart brought on some bad luck for the young driver. A multi-car wreck broke out in the tri-oval, and as Sheltra slowed he was hit from behind sending his No. 41 Ford spinning through the grass. With some great driving, he was able to miss the wall but had damage to the left-rear quarter of his car from the contact.
The damage forced Sheltra to bring his car down pit road on three-consecutive yellow-flag laps for repairs before NASCAR brought out the red flag on lap 111 to finish clean up and set up a shoot-out to the finish.
The green flag dropped for the final time on the DRIVE4COPD 300 on lap 114 setting up a six-lap sprint to the checkered flag. Sheltra took the restart from the 25th position and moved his damaged machine up one position before crossing the finish line with a 24th-place finish.
"I want to thank Fuel Doctor USA for their support today," said Sheltra. "I am disappointed we couldn't get a better finish. We just didn't have the power to stay with the leaders today. It was great to get back out on track and racing at Daytona; I just wish we could have showed them a little more today."
-source: sheltra motorsports