Once again the Austin native, Austin Wayne Self, amazed the Karting world when he took the top spot on more than one occasion this past weekend in Orlando, Florida.
The Orlando Kart Center hosted the first Florida Winter Tour Formula Kart Championship weekend of the 2011 season. The weather was perfect, racing field doubled from last year and the competition was tight. This tight competition was evident in the Formula Tag Junior division.
Austin was not scheduled to race in the Formula Kart Series until KartSport Arrow Teammate AJ Allmendinger, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, decided to run this race at the last minute. The team did not want Allmendinger racing alone, so Austin flew to Florida at the last minute to support his teammate.
Arriving early Saturday morning with only six hours of sleep, Austin qualified his kart in 7th position with no practice and finished 2nd in the Pre-Main. When the Main rolled around, Austin was able to lead all twenty laps and win in dominating fashion by more than five seconds ahead of the second place driver. An amazing feat when considering all of the other drivers had at least a full day of practice on Friday.
A bit of controversy arose after the race dealing with racers staying in their designated lanes during the start. Austin was initially assessed a ten-second penalty for being in the wrong lane at the start even though he was in the front row and gained no advantage. The penalty was later reduced to three seconds since Austin stayed in the same lane during the start until long after he had passed the start finish line. Luckily, he still had a two-second lead over the field despite the three-second penalty and took first place.
After all races had concluded for the day, race officials modified the starting lanes to clarify which lanes competitors are expected to use.
“It’s a good day when you can beat these guys. It is only by Grace you can show up and win without practicing,” said Tim Self, father of Austin.
Austin’s good fortune continued Sunday as he qualified second, took first in the Pre-Main and placed himself in position to win yet another race. The Main was the race to see on Florida Winter Tour Live as Austin, Luke Chudleigh and Ashley Rogero battled all race for the top spot.
Austin and Luke pulled away with three laps to go and swapped the lead a few times. When Chudleigh made his move for the lead on the last lap going down the long back stretch, Self forced him deep into turn seven and slipped under him on exit to regain the lead and take the checkered flag. The two competitors showed great sportsmanship and high fived each other after giving the crowd and the online audience a race to remember.
Austin will be back in Orlando, Florida to race in the Florida Winter Tour Rotax Max Series this weekend.