Sheltra Scores First Win

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The last time Patrick Sheltra was inside a racecar, he was carried off to a hospital. The next time Sheltra got inside a racecar, he climbed out in victory lane.

Sheltra, in the Ferguson Pipe-Buffalo Wings & Rings Dodge, led the final 50 circuits to win the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented by Federated Car Care Sunday afternoon at Salem Speedway. It was Sheltra's career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in his 48th career start.

"We took tires with 70 laps to go and I knew it would make us look like heroes," said Sheltra. "This was hard racing all day and I love this racetrack. I just want to thank everyone from ARCA and my crew. They've been great."

Sheltra, on fresher tires, passed Justin Lofton in traffic for the lead on lap 151 of the 200-lap race and never relinquished it. Outside of a few times When Lofton closed the gap in lapped traffic, Sheltra, near the end, pulled away like a man on mission, finishing more than four seconds ahead of Lofton, who finished second in the Lofton Cattle Toyota.

"We just missed on pit strategy," said Lofton. "We had a great car today. I want to thank my dad for the opportunity and the entire Eddie Sharp Racing team. We'll go get ‘em in Rockingham."

Lofton, who earned his second consecutive Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell, led the most laps - 105 in all - but pitted only once for tires and fuel, compared to Sheltra, who pitted twice.

Parker Kligerman, who led six laps, finished a career-best third in the Cunningham Motorsports Driver Development Dodge.

"We did all we could," said Kligerman. "I just really have to thank Cunningham Motorsports and all of the guys on this team and everyone from Penske Racing. We ran off the tires during that last run-it was a rookie mistake-but I learned from it. Salem is a great track. There was a lot of rubbing going on but it was all good, clean racing."

Sixteen-year-old Chris Buescher finished fourth in the DavidRagan.com Ford in his career-first series start. Veteran Ken Schrader finished fifth in the Federated Auto Parts Dodge.

Tom Hessert finished sixth in the Cherry Hill Classic Cars Ford with Frank Kimmel trailing in seventh in the Ansell-Menards Ford. Kimmel was involved in an early-race incident in turn three when Mike Koch, who was leading at the time, spun.

"We definitely had the odds stacked against us today," said Kimmel. "The car was really good, really fast during the first half. But the front end damage from that wreck at halfway really hurt up the handling. I was tight in and out of the corners and when you can't get through the corners here it's really hard to run consistently fast laps. Overall, it was not what I hoped for but it's still our first top-10 for Ansell and Menards so that's good news."

Bryan Silas finished eighth in the Rockingham Speedway-Holland Pumps Chevrolet ahead of Brett Hudson, who steered the Hudson Machine-Double H Hydraulics Chevrolet to ninth in the final running order. Robb Brent finished 10th in the Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep Dodge.

The next event on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule is at Rockingham Speedway Sunday, April 24th.

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