(TOLEDO, Ohio – January 22, 2015) – Indiantown, Florida’s Patrick Sheltra raced in four full ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards seasons from 2007 through 2010, culminating with a hard-fought driver/owner championship in 2010. The title fight, one of the closest in series history, came right down to the wire with Sheltra winning by just 20 points over Eddie Sharp Racing’s Craig Goess.
With a national championship on his scorecard, Sheltra set his designs on NASCAR in 2011 where he had already been dabbling in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. Then, early in the 2012 racing season, tragedy struck the family when Sheltra’s father, Rick Sheltra, died from injuries sustained in an accident on a construction site.
“That’s when everything changed,” Sheltra said. “He was obviously very involved in my racing career, but he was also my partner, my best friend…he was everything to me. There’s not a day that doesn’t go by when I don’t miss him.”
Sheltra suddenly found himself trying to fill his father’s business boots.
“We shut it all down; it was too much for me to take care of…two big businesses. I still do some little private construction jobs, but nothing major. I focused all my attention on the recycling business…Recycling Services is the name of the company. It’s going really well. We do big jobs…old scrap yards. Right now, I’m cleaning up an old junk yard. The man was 94 and passed away. The family didn’t want anything to do with it, so they called me. We come in with ‘crushers’…they make rebar out of the vehicles. A lot of the steel goes overseas…to Turkey and China, all over the world.
“I have my own yard too down in Indiantown. Customers come in and sell us what they have. We tear down old mills…a lot of different things. I love it. Started it in 2011. Been going strong ever since.”
Sheltra admits that after his father died, he had to pull the “boot straps” up a little tighter, so to speak.
“It’s tough. Sooner or later, you gotta make something of yourself. I have big shoes to fill. After dad died, I didn’t have that comfort zone sitting behind me…knowing that everything’s going to be alright. I was fortunate that we had him as long as we did…because I could still rely on all the great lessons he taught me. He was a hard working man. He didn’t know ‘quit’. He didn’t know knock-off time was 5:30. He worked till dark every day. Everything I do every day, I learned from him…everything. With him, he had a way with working with family…it wasn’t complicated. I worked side-by-side with him every day and never had a problem. Like I said…he was my partner, my best friend. It was hard for all of us to lose him.”
In addition to running a successful business, Sheltra has started a family of his own now.
“I’ve got two kids too…a little boy, Remington, 19-and-a-half months, and a little girl, Beretta, three-and-a-half months. It’s so much fun to watch them grow up…they grow up so fast. With my family, I had to settle myself down…buckle down and do the right things.
“My mom is doing well…I talk to her every day. My brother moved to Ocala, got married and is working for a construction company.”
Sheltra also says he misses racing.
“I miss it a lot. One day, hopefully, I’d like to get back to it.”
In 88 career ARCA starts from 2005 through 2011, Sheltra, driving the family-owned No. 60 Sheltra Motorsports entry, earned 23 top-five finishes and 40 top-10s, including three wins. His career-first victory at Salem Speedway in 2009 came just one race after surviving a life-threatening crash at Daytona.
Sheltra came back even stronger in 2010 highlighted by back-to-back wins at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile dirt and at Chicagoland Speedway. By sweeping both the driver and owner championship honors that year, he became the first to accomplish the combo feat since Benny Parsons in 1969. Sheltra is also one of only seven racers in series history to win the driver and owner championship in the same season.