PBIR gears up for ARCA Racing Series

By Rachel Leigh - bio | email

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX) - They compete at Talladega, Daytona and now Jupiter.

"We're really excited to have the ARCA Racing Series out for the inaugural event," said Palm Beach International Raceway spokesperson Leah Vaughn. "It's the first time we've ever had stockcar racing on the track, and they're going to beat and bang and battle it out."

Many drivers competition got their start at PBIR. "We used to go there all the time and race go-carts and all that stuff and watch the drag racing and Test and Tune Night on Wednesdays," said racecar driver Patrick Sheltra.

"I've never raced this close to home in my entire life," said Blake Koch. "The closest I've been is Daytona which is a couple hours away, so it's going to be nice going back to my home after the race."

Jupiter's Patrick Sheltra and West Palm Beach's Blake Koch are gearing up to compete against more than 40 drivers Saturday including New York's Tim George, Jr.

"I got started in racing through cooking. I was catering events through an event company, and one thing led to another, and I left the cooking behind and decided to get into racecars," said Tim George, Jr. "And moved up through the series, and now I find myself racing in ARCA and NASCAR."

These cars go nearly 200 miles per hour and just need 32 seconds to go 1.5 miles! "It feels pretty cool, but it's all relative because the drivers are doing about the same speed, so it doesn't seem that fast. And you just try and stay cool and collective in the cockpit."

All drivers take the necessary precautions wearing a fireproof suit, gloves and helmet; however, some take a few extra ones.

"Well, we have this thing of not eating chicken. No peanut shells in the cockpits," said Sheltra. "And it's just all superstition. Some of it is bull crap and some of it's not."

But no one can deny the expense of racing, and thanks to sponsors, like Lincoln College and Tire Kingdom, these drivers are living out their passion.

The Tire Kingdom 150 ARCA Racing Series is Friday and Saturday at Palm Beach International Raceway.