Patrick Sheltra took advantage of an unprotected outside lane on a late-race restart, charged into the lead, and straight into the history books as the winner of the eventful 48th annual Allen Crowe 100 on the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile dirt in Springfield Sunday afternoon.
The Indiantown, Florida driver also became the 13th different race winner in 14 events so far on the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards tour.
Sheltra, driving a badly battered Recycling Services-Ferguson Pipe sponsored Dodge, also survived an early race meeting with the turn three wall, a lap 64 tangle with Justin Marks, and a last-lap charge from Mikey Kile in overtime to earn his second career ARCA Series victory.
"I did a bone head move about 50 laps into the race," Sheltra said from Victory Lane. "I went on the outside of a lapped car and I thought it cost us the race today. It almost destroyed the car; I backed it into the fence. We came back in and fixed it up a little bit. We knew the tow was out. Then we got in the other wreck; I think Arpin had a flat and it got them balled up off of two over there. We just came through it you know and got hit again. The fender was beat in and everything. We came back down pit road and fixed it up."
Then, on a restart eight laps from the finish, Sheltra, barely inside the top-10, powered into the outside lane occupied by no one and drove around every car in front of him, including race leader Ron Cox before the cars got to turn one.
"We were running ninth on the second to last restart and everyone was going to the bottom all day on the restarts, so I decided to go on the outside," added Sheltra. "They held them up a little bit and I got around them going into one."
Sheltra then had to fend off Cox and Kile for the duration until the sixth and final caution flag waved just as Sheltra took the white flag. It happened when Kile drove underneath Cox for the second position headed into turn one where Kile made contact with Cox resulting in Cox landing hard against the turn one wall. That set the stage for the one-lap shoot-out to the checkered flag during which Sheltra held off Kile, beating him to the final stripe by a length.
"I was kind of scared there with the one lap finish because it wouldn't turn for crap. It was just a good day for us," finished Sheltra.
Kile, in the Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, had to settle for second after leading four laps.
"It was a good points day," said Kile. "A lot of the guys in the front had some trouble, we needed that. We had some trouble throughout the year and we needed some luck to change our way. It was a good day today. It took me a while to get used to the dirt again. It's been about 12 years since I've raced dirt. It was a lot of fun. I had a blast. Just looking forward to the rest of the season."
Cox led the most laps, leading 41 circuits en route to what would have been a career-first victory for the Soddy Daisy, Tennessee veteran. Instead, Cox's consolation prize was a disappointing 20th place and destroyed racecar.
Tom Hessert, in the Cherry Hill Classic Cars Dodge, raced from the 12th position to finish third.
"We had a really good day today, Hessert said. "We weren't the fastest car, but we raced smart, stayed out of trouble and got a top-three. That's what we need to do to keep chipping away at the championship."
And Hessert did just that, moving from third in the championship standings to second, just five points away from leader Frank Kimmel, who finished a disappointing 12th after leading 10 laps. In fact, Kimmel was leading by five lengths on lap 72 before he spun his Ansell-Menards Ford, subsequently hitting the wall off turn two.
"I'm just really disappointed today," Kimmel said. "The guys did a great pit stop and made an adjustment on the car. It really fixed it and made it a lot better. We were able to compete after that. I drove to the front and got the lead and really felt like we were in good shape. I don't know what happened coming off of two. I just lost the car. It got out from under me, spun the thing out to the wall and tore it all to pieces. It's just a disappointing day. They crashed there earlier during the previous caution, and I don't know if there was anything on the track or not, but that's my excuse today. I just lost it and it messed up a good day."
Joey Coulter finished fourth in the Darrell Gwynn Foundation-Rip It Energy Drink-Tempest Cycles Chevrolet in front of Illinoisans' AJ Fike and Kelly Kovski, who finished fifth and sixth respectively.
Menards Pole winner Steve Arpin, after leading 36 laps, settled for seventh in the Mike's Hard Lemonade Toyota. Even such, Arpin worked hard for his top-10 run after battling back from a flat right-rear tire after an altercation with a lapped car early on.
Robb Brent finished eighth in the Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dodge from the 25th starting position, earning the CGS Imaging Hard Charger Award.
Dakoda Armstrong finished ninth in the Ferrellgas Dodge in front of Jason Basham, who finished a career-best 10th in the Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet.
Five drivers exchanged the lead six times while six cautions slowed the field for 35 laps. The race length was stretched to 106 laps from 100 to accommodate the green flag finish. There were no injuries.
The ARCA Series heads next to Chicagoland Speedway for the Ansell Protective Gloves 150 Friday, August 27. The race, live on SPEED at 7:00 p.m. ET, will also be featured in streaming audio with live, flag-to-flag coverage at ARCAracing.com via the ARCA Racing Network.