LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Fresh off his best finish this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), Niece Motorsports veteran driver Austin Wayne Self (@AustinWSelf) looks to keep his No. 22 Don’t Mess with Texas Chevrolet team pointed in the right direction in Friday night’s Stratosphere 200 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.
Returning to Sin City, Self, the Austin, Texas native, has two prior starts in Las Vegas, including a track-best 20th-place run last fall. With experience and a determined Niece Motorsports crew alongside, the team eyes its first top-10 finish of the season.
“I’ve always liked Las Vegas,” said Self who sits 19th in Truck Series points. “Each time I’ve run there – I seem to find myself getting more comfortable. It’s a place where momentum certainly helps and balance is key for the long run.
“Last weekend at Atlanta, we worked really hard to get our No. 22 Don’t Mess with Texas Chevrolet better from the green flag to the checkered flag, and I felt that my crew chief Joey Cohen did a great job making the adjustments to my liking, which allowed us to have a solid finish.”
While the Truck Series teams will practice during the day on Thursday and start racing near dusk on Friday night, Self says it’s important for his team to not get too wrapped up in what the truck is doing during the day – and instead prepare for the adjustments of racing under the lights.
“It’s going to be cooler than normal for Las Vegas this weekend and I think that could be a factor in handling,” Self explained. “Las Vegas seems to be one of those temperature sensitive tracks. We’ll start the race in some daylight, but end completely under the lights. The good thing is that Niece has experience at Las Vegas under the lights, and we have our alliance with GMS Racing to feed off as well.
“As good as I ran on most of the intermediate tracks last year, I’d be disappointed if we didn’t contend for a top-10 finish this weekend.”
Set to close out a three-week stretch for the Truck Series Friday night, Self says the first two races have been solid at Niece Motorsports and believes when it comes to the grind of the season, his No. 22 Niece Motorsports team will be a player.
“There have been a lot of changes over the off-season and into the new year, but it’s all been great for Niece and my team,” explained Self. “Justin, (Fontaine) my teammate is off to a fast start and I think we really made some serious gains at Atlanta.
“If we can come out of Las Vegas with a good result, we can go back to the shop, regroup and plan to raise ourselves another notch for Martinsville Speedway next month.”
Like last year, the Don’t mess with Texas campaign and AM Technical Solutions will support Self in his 43rd career start.
The Don’t mess with Texas campaign is part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) litter prevention program, which includes Don’t mess with Texas, Adopt-a-Highway, and a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful.
For more than 30 years, Don’t mess with Texas has made tremendous progress educating Texans about the impact of littering on the state’s economy, environment and physical landscape.
In 42 NCWTS races, the 2015 ARCA Racing Series rookie of the year has one top-five (second at Daytona 2017) and three top-10 finishes. The Texan maintains an average finish of 18.8 during his three years of competition.
For more on Niece Motorsports, please visit niecemotorsports.com.
For more on Austin Wayne Self, like his Facebook page (Austin Wayne Self) or follow him on Twitter @AustinWSelf.
The Stratosphere 200 (134 laps / 201 miles) is the third of 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on the 2018 schedule. Practice begins on Thurs., Mar. 1 from 2:05 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. A final practice session is set for 4:05 p.m. – 4:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Fri., Mar. 2, beginning at 3:05 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 6:00 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Pacific).