Patrick Sheltra is having a year that any driver in the ARCA Re/Max Series could dream of, minus a win.
Currently, he leads both the ARCA Series Points Standings (35 points over Justin Marks) and the ARCA Hoosier Tire Challenge Standings (65 points over Mikey Kile).
He is also the only driver to finish in the top 10 in every race this season, with his highest finish being second at Talladega Superspeedway.
Sheltra took some time during ARCA’s off week here to answer some questions for Bleacher Report readers.
Ashley McCubbin: How’d you get started in racing?
Patrick Sheltra: Actually I got started just local dirt racing around home here, South Florida, and we started winning races. We moved up into a traveling dirt series, you know, went around all the Southern states, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and all that.
We started to move up to super late models on dirt, and we did that with the World of Outlaws, the U&P deal. We then got into the ARCA deal with Tony Fumberton, and then we decided that we’re going to buy our own team.
AM: What was it like getting your first win at Salem last year?
PS: It was awesome. To go there and run against the big teams and all that, you know, we’re a family-owned team. To go there and do that, it’s a big step for a family-owned team to go in there and win a race.
AM: How would you rate this year so far?
PS: I would probably rate this year...you know, it really proves that we’re a championship-capable team right now. We’re the only team that has finished in the top 10 in all eight races. We’re doing really good, and we just got to keep the momentum going so we’re battling the championship out with somebody.
AM: What does it mean to you to lead both the championship and Hoosier Tire Challenge standings?
PS: It just shows you that we’re tough everywhere we go and that we’re going to be in contention to win. You’ve got the challenge series, you’ve got the short tracks and everything else...to just go out there and be on top of everything is just amazing.
AM: What are your goals for this year?
PS: Our goal this year is finish in the top five as much as we can and get as many wins as we can and take the championship at the end of the year, so we’re just got to stay consistent and do that and we’re pretty good.
AM: Where do you see yourself in five years?
PS: I want to see myself in the truck series next year, and hopefully we get the chance to move up from there and be in the Nationwide Series or the Sprint Cup Series.
AM: I know you’ve run some Nationwide races already. How’s that been for you?
PS: That is a different deal, you know. It gives you the experience you need to move up into the NASCAR level. Everything is totally different there; everybody drives way harder, but you got to earn your respect there, and that’s pretty hard to do there.
AM: Who’s your racing idol?
PS: I got that question the other day...whenever I was in elementary school, there was a radio show, and you always had to answer a question and turn it into a box at Wal-Mart and it was to have lunch with Jeff Gordon. I answered every question every morning and went down there and met him for lunch, and ever since then I’ve always looked up to him. For somebody to do what he’s done with how tough it is out there is pretty cool.
AM: What’s your advice to those coming up through the ranks?
PS: You just got to put your mind and everything you’ve got into it and never give up and keep trying. You’ll have your bad times and your good times; you just got to take them all together and make something positive out of it.
AM: What are some of your hobbies away from the track?
PS: Probably fishing, diving, basically being in the outdoors—I hate being inside.