The Frontstretch: Beyond the Cockpit: Dissecting The Thoughts of A Racing Champion Anew by Bryan Davis Keith -- Wednesday October 13, 2010

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Beyond the Cockpit: Dissecting The Thoughts of A Racing Champion Anew

NASCAR Driver Q & A · Bryan Davis Keith · Wednesday October 13, 2010


Patrick Sheltra’s parents, the co-owners of his Sheltra Motorsports team, told Patrick that 2010 would be the final time they made a concentrated run for the ARCA Racing Series trophy. Sheltra obviously took their words to heart, leading the ARCA ranks in top-10 finishes en route to his first career major stock car racing championship, sealed after a fourth-place finish at Rockingham this past weekend.

Speaking to the media assembled at Rockingham, Sheltra shared his thoughts about winning the 2010 ARCA crown, as well as racing on the historic North Carolina oval. That is, when he wasn’t thinking to himself about his offseason plans for a hunting excursion that he couldn’t stop talking about during ARCA’s pre-race coverage.

On becoming only the sixth owner/driver to win the ARCA Racing Series championship

Patrick Sheltra, 2010 ARCA Racing Series champion: I just want to say thanks to all the guys, to my mom and my dad, to everyone that’s been behind me all this year. This hasn’t been a one-race deal. We started this at Daytona, and we wound up finishing it at Rockingham. The guys worked their tails off, put in a lot of long hours doing everything they could to prepare these race cars and get them competitive. I just owe everything to them right now.

On securing his first major stock car championship at the historic Rockingham Speedway

Sheltra: This place is so historical. You look back at the names that have won here and everything else. To win the championship here is amazing to me. There’s just so much history here, and to add myself to that by winning this championship means a lot for my career.

On racing aggressively for 200 miles at the Rock

Patrick Sheltra was all smiles after securing his first ARCA title, though he was also thinking about his offseason hunting trip even before the green flag dropped.

Sheltra: We knew that Goess had a good car, that he and Hessert would have good race cars on Saturday. So we wanted to lead laps and do a good job against these guys. We had to be a little bit aggressive there at the beginning, we had a four second lead at one time before the caution came out. Then we got a little tight there at the end [of the race]. That’s when we started looking at the bigger picture, seeing where everyone was running. So really, we started championship racing those last 50 laps.

On narrowly missing a season-ending accident with Tim George, Jr.

Sheltra: George definitely hit some oil. I saw the oil getting into turn 1, and I got some room between us. He hit it [the oil], while I was looking through my side mirror the whole time.

On Frank Kimmel moving out of the way to allow Sheltra and Goess to settle the title fight late

Sheltra: Well, you know, I wasn’t even… the guys never told me who was behind me until two laps to go, when we started picking up and pulling back away from him. Really, I told them at the beginning there that I didn’t want to know how close it was. I didn’t want that putting the pressure on me.

[With regard to Goess and Hessert], in the middle of the run I would ask what their lap times were, if either of them had anything for us. Goess was running close to us there in the end, but I really had no idea how close he was until they finally told me at one lap to go.

On the defining moment of his championship season

Sheltra: You know, whenever we had a bad streak there, the guys pulled themselves together. That’s what we stressed all year, never give up. That right there shows how strong this team is. Like I said, these guys pour their hearts out every night, they never complain about the hours they work or anything like that. That’s what a championship team is made of.

On RCR development driver Ty Dillon driving away late to score the race win at Rockingham

Sheltra: You know, he kind of did the same thing at Kansas, so we were expecting that a little bit. That kid’s a heck of a race car driver, and he’s going places. He’s got good equipment and everything, everyone at RCR is great. He’s a wheelman, and I know every time he’s behind us we’re in for a tough fight. He was right there at the end, and that’s what it’s going to take to be next year’s champion.

On winning a championship with a schedule as diverse as ARCA’s

Sheltra: It is extra satisfying. You go to the superspeedways, you go to the short tracks and the two dirt races. That really shows you what kind of driver you really are, when you can run well on the asphalt and run well on the dirt. The superspeedway stuff, the short tracking, and being competitive in all of it. Yes, it’s a very satisfying title for everybody.

On 2011

Sheltra: We’ll know a little bit more next week. Right now our goal is to be sitting in NASCAR somewhere. (Editor’s Note: Though Sheltra drove for RAB Racing at Talladega earlier this season in Nationwide Series competition, with Brian Scott now in that ride it’s worth noting that Sheltra has driven for both Jay Robinson Racing and MacDonald Motorsports in 2008 and 2009).

Contact Bryan Davis Keith

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