Patrick Sheltra scored a victory for the second consecutive race in the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards, winning the Ansell Protective Gloves 150 by 1.669 seconds over Steve Arpin. With his win at Chicagoland Speedway - his first on a speedway and the third of his 82-race career - Sheltra became the second driver with multiple and back-to-back victories this season, joining Arpin.
The 24-year-old Sheltra (No. 60 Recycling Services/Ferguson Pipe Toyota) led 85 of 100 laps to back up his winning performance from just five days earlier, when he won the Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. Sheltra maintained his position as the only driver in the series with top-10 finishes in each of the seven speedway races to date.
"I cannot thank everyone at Sheltra Motorsports enough," said Sheltra, who used the services of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland as a driver coach. "We had a great car. We opted not to come out and test here (last week) and obviously, it did not hold us back. I can't thank everyone enough. We're on fire right now and we don't plan to let the flame die anytime soon."
Craig Goess (No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota) started first after winning the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell for the second time this season, but had to face a challenge from Sheltra right away. Sheltra, whose win Sunday came after a daring move to the outside on a late restart, used the outside line at first to drive next to Goess, but eventually passed the ARCA Racing Series points leader on the inside in the first turn of the fifth lap.
Casey Roderick (No. 51 Phoenix Racing/Bill Elliott Racing Chevrolet), the third starter, hit the wall and caused a reaction that led to Mikey Kile (No. 25 Texas Corral Toyota) turning into Chad McCumbee (No. 1 ModSpace/Red Cross Disaster Relief Ford) on Lap 7. McCumbee, who had started seventh after his best qualifying effort of 2010, suffered heavy front end damage and was forced to retire. Among the notable drivers to narrowly avoid the wreck was Kile's teammate, Arpin (No. 55 Mike's Hard Lemonade Toyota).
Goess began to drip oil, and had to drive to pit road. He originally fell to seventh and later to 24th, but returned to contention later in the race. Goess eventually finished fifth, and exited Chicagoland Speedway with a five-point lead in the series standings over Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford), who ended the race in fourth.
Sheltra opened a lead of more than one second after the Lap 15 restart, and immediately found himself under hot pursuit from Justin Marks (No. 32 Construct Corps Toyota), Arpin, and Grant Enfinger (No. 09 BeasleyAllen.com Ford). Enfinger battled Arpin along the low line for third place and passed him in the fourth turn on Lap 23 for the position. With only Marks between Enfinger and Sheltra's lead, the second and third positions were occupied by drivers who had changed their engines before qualifying. Enfinger then moved around Marks on Lap 25 and found himself 1.921 seconds behind Sheltra.
Chad Finley (No. 29 Bumper to Bumper Certified Service Centers Chevrolet), who had started third on Lap 15 and fallen back to sixth, moved along the top of the track and back into third place. Meanwhile, Enfinger was closing the gap on Sheltra, closing within 0.139 second on Lap 29.
Chad Hackenbracht (No. 58 Tastee Apples Chevrolet) hit the wall on Lap 33, and Robb Brent (No. 36 Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dodge) temporarily assumed the lead within the ensuing caution, the race's second, on Lap 35. Brent eventually had to pit, and Finley took the point on Lap 42.
After falling back several positions through the pit cycle, Sheltra found himself back in second on the restart. He moved inside of Finley on Lap 44, but Finley maintained a short lead. The next lap, however, Sheltra edged past Finley by a narrow margin of 0.009 second. The two battled door-to-door with Finley taking the advantage on the backstretch, but Sheltra led at the line to close Lap 46.
Sheltra moved away on Lap 47, and just four laps later held a lead of more than one second over Finley. By leading the race's 50th lap, Sheltra took the Messina Halfway Leader Award, a fitting supplement to his Aaron's Lap Leader Award, earned for leading more laps than any other driver.
Arpin moved past Tim George Jr. (No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet) and Marks to take third place, and it was soon his Toyota that was battling Finley for the second position. The side-by-side racing between Arpin and Finley allowed Sheltra to advance his lead to more than two seconds, and his lead only grew before Alli Owens (No. 15 ElectrifyingCareers.com Chevrolet) spun on Lap 60 to bring out the race's third caution.
Finley spun his tires on the Lap 64 restart, allowing Arpin and Goess to move into the second and third positions, respectively. Sheltra's lead on the first green lap was just more than a half-second, but Arpin was able to shave from that advantage.
Brent contacted the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 72 to bring out the race's fourth caution, and almost immediately upon the Lap 75 restart - just laps after singing from inside his cockpit that his team had a fast car - Arpin passed Sheltra for the lead. Sheltra retaliated, however, and took the lead again two laps later.
Enfinger had moved back into third, and it was his late battle with Arpin that allowed Sheltra to begin to pull away. Though Arpin was just more than one second behind Sheltra's lead, Enfinger was less than a half-second behind Arpin for second place.
The race's final caution came out when Finley's car went up in smoke and had to leave the track. Sheltra's pursuers had a chance on the Lap 91 restart, but Sheltra pulled away over the final 10 laps to win his second consecutive event in the series and move into third place and within 10 points of Goess in the series standings.
Arpin and Enfinger battled tightly in the waning laps, with Arpin taking the second position. Kimmel and Goess followed to close the top five, and Marks held off Tom Hessert (No. 77 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Dodge) for sixth place. Hessert currently stands fourth, 25 points behind Goess's lead.
Joey Coulter's eighth-place finish, even when coupled with Sheltra's win, gave him a wire-to-wire win in the Bill France Four Crown Award. Coulter (No. 16 Rip It Energy Fuel/Darrell Gwynn Foundation Chevrolet) defeated Sheltra by a mere 10 points, 745-735, to win the season-within-a-season contest which awards drivers for success on a diverse slate of tracks. Coulter won the contest-opening race at the 0.4-mile Berlin Raceway on August 7, finished second at the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course on August 15, and finished fourth at the Illinois State Fairgrounds dirt oval on August 22.
Bobby Gerhart finished ninth to take his first top-10 since the June race at Pocono, and Bryan Silas finished 10th.
At one hour, 21 minutes, and 35 seconds (110.317 mph), the race was 31 seconds short of matching last season's record-setting race, won by eventual series champion Justin Lofton at a speed of 111.020 mph. The five caution periods delayed the race for 30 laps.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards continues its tour of Illinois with a return trip to a dirt oval on Monday, September 6. The Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Du Quoin, Ill. will host the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care, with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage of the Labor Day event beginning at 9 a.m. Central for a one-hour practice. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled for 11 a.m. Central, and the 100-lap, 100-mile race will begin at 1 p.m. Central. Coverage of all events will be provided by the ARCA Racing Network and ARCA Nation at ARCARacing.com.