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July 11, 2011

Reining ARCA Champion Patrick Sheltra Rewards Tony Marks Racing With First Career Top-Five Finish

MARNE, Michigan (July 11, 2011) - - In his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start since capturing the coveted ARCA championship at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway last October, Patrick Sheltra recorded a commendable fourth place finish at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway in the Hantz Group 200 for Tony Marks Racing (TMR).

Sheltra, the Indiantown, Florida native was subbing in the No. 12 Mad Croc Energy / Dodge Motorsports / VR-12 Dodge Charger for ARCA Rookie of the Year candidate Maryeve Dufault who was nursing a minor shoulder injury since being involved in a hard crash in the previous race at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway.

With car owner Tony Marks calling upon the 25-year old to wheel the team’s race car, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone when the garage area considered the TMR team a sleeper for the 10th race of the 2011 season.

2010 champion crew chief Jon Wolfe made the trek with Sheltra up to the .4-mile oval where the duo notched a satisfying second-place finish the year before.

In the only practice run on Saturday afternoon, Sheltra maneuvered his No. 12 Mad Croc Energy / Dodge Motorsports / VR-12 Dodge Charger near the top of the board by hoisting the third fastest lap for nearly three-fourths of the session. Sheltra eventually slipped to 12th in the final rundown as his competition made their simulated mock qualifying runs.

Knowing that he had a good car, Sheltra conferred with Wolfe and TMR management which included Darren Wolfe (no relation) and Ryan Chism where collectively they thought their qualifying setup would put the team close to the front.

During time trials, Sheltra quickly hustled around the Marne, Michigan race track to record the fourth fastest lap. He would only be passed by two other ARCA drivers to start the Hantz Group 200 from the sixth starting position, a career-best for the Mooresville, North Carolina-based team.

From the drop of the green flag, it was evident that Sheltra was hungry to get to the lead. He nearly avoided disaster on lap one though as multiple cars stacked up near Sheltra with the No. 12 No. 12 Mad Croc Energy / Dodge Motorsports / VR-12 Dodge Charger escaping the chaos with minimal cosmetic damage.

When racing resumed, Sheltra would slowly begin his march towards the front. Moving from fifth to fourth and then into third near the halfway mark, the team was hoping for a caution to allow the Indiantown, Florida native to receive four new tires and fuel.

That opportunity occurred on lap 117 when the second yellow flag of the night was displayed. Wolfe brought his driver to pit road for four tires and fuel. Sheltra exited pit road in the fourth position.

On the restart, Sheltra’s car struggled. Battling a tight condition, the reigning champ slipped to as far back as seventh before crawling back into sixth. Remaining his position on the lead lap, Sheltra took advantage of a late-race caution to bring his automobile to pit road for two tires and a chassis adjustment.

Setting up for a shootout style, Sheltra was locked and loaded.

On the restart, Sheltra made his charge from sixth to fifth but would be stalled when nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel spun in turn four. The yellow flag would setup for the green and white flags to waive together, meaning Sheltra often knows as “Mr. Showtime” by many had just one lap to earn this fourth career ARCA victory.

On the final lap, Sheltra made a daring move to the outside which positioned the TMR entry into the top-five but as the field exited turn four, a wad of cars including Sheltra made contract racing for the best finish possible with Sheltra making contact with the outside wall coming to the checkered flag.

Initially it was thought that the 25-year old finished fifth but upon video review by ARCA Racing Series officials, Sheltra was credited with a fourth place run, a career-best for Tony Marks Racing in just their 11th ARCA start.

“Overall it was a good night,” said Sheltra. “I appreciate Tony Marks, Mad Croc Energy, Dodge, VR-12 and everyone on the TMR team for allowing me to drive for them tonight. Our car was real good at the beginning but after the pit stop, we became extremely tight with no real reasoning. We’ll have to get the car back to the shop and see why that happened. I wasn’t racing for point, so I was doing everything I could to put this team and their great sponsors in victory lane. We were a threat, that’s for sure. Maybe I’ll have another opportunity down the road.”

Car owner Tony Marks was exceptionally pleased with Sheltra’s effort and the focus of his freshman team. “I’m happy,” offered Marks, a successful entrepreneur from Ohio. “Patrick did a great job for everyone at TMR including our sponsors, Mad Croc Energy, Dodge and VR-12. He wasn’t afraid to push the buttons when he needed to and kept himself in the hunt all night long. I can’t ask for much more than that. I want to thank Patrick for doing an exceptional job for TMR.”

Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is a trip out West to Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa for the running of the Prairie Meadows 200 on Saturday, July 16th. The 11th race of the season will air live on SPEED and beginning at 4:00 p.m. TMR will field two entries for the 11th race of the season with Jared Marks in the No. 8 Dodge Charger and Sorel Quebec’s Maryeve Dufault returning to the reins of the No. 12 Dodge Charger

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