ARCA Champ Sheltra finishes 24th at Daytona

Patrick Sheltra and his #41 Rick Ware Racing Fuel Doctor Platinum team hit the high banks of Daytona for the running of the first event of the year, the DRIVEFORCOPD 300 on Saturday night.

Sheltra qualified his Ford Mustang in the 30th position after having to qualify on time and knew he would need a good drafting partner to get to the front.

As the green flag dropped, Patrick got quickly shuffled to the 38th position before a caution came out on lap fifteen. The team took on fuel and added tape to the grill to help the Fuel Doctor Mustang pull up into the draft a little better.

The change seemed to help as he quickly moved into the 29th position before another caution fell just three laps later. Once again the team added fuel and more tape as the changes made a significant change in drafting.

When the green flag flew again on lap 28, Sheltra began his charge, moving up to the 19th position by lap 34 of the 120 lap event.

As Patrick worked with groups of three to four cars in the draft, leaders set sail in a two car tandem that was perfected by the cup drivers in the previous weeks of the Daytona festivities, leaving the Nationwide Series regulars at their mercy.

Caution fell again on lap 55 and Sheltra and the Fuel Doctor team went to work, taking four new Goodyear tires and fuel in hopes to get back in the hunt.

Restarting in the 28th position, one lap down, Sheltra battled six other cars for the lucky dog position but a long green flag run diminished that plan as the leaders placed all but twelve cars a lap or more down when a green flag pit stop was in order.

The Fuel Doctor team pitted on lap 96 for fuel and sent Patrick back into the hunt when a wreck involving several cars including Patrick brought out the next caution on lap 98. Sheltra slowed down to avoid the crash but was tagged from behind by the number 23 that sent him sliding.

The crew went to work, adding tape to the car’s tv panel and rear quarter panels over the next several laps.

With just seven laps remaining, Sheltra started 23rd and brought home a respectable finish in 24th as the checkered flag waved.

“It’s tough with all the Cup guys having so much practice with the new drafting style, but Patrick showed why he is a champion. He never gave up and kept turning better lap times each and every stint. We learned a lot with the NEW car and look forward to when Patrick can get behind the wheel for us again,” stated owner Rick Ware.

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