The half mile paved oval of Madison International Speedway is known for elbows out racing from the green to the checkered. Austin Wayne Self entered the weekend with his focus on running a clean race but prepared for the challenge of potential on track aggression.
“We had a fair race at Madison. We came into the race day with a lot of confidence but didn’t end up with the result we all thought we would. The weather was hot and muggy which lead to a track with very low grip.” – Chad Bryant, Crew Chief of the 22.
After qualifying was rained out the starting order was determined by points- Austin Wayne Self started the day at Madison 7th. Within the first 4 laps AWS gained a position and moved into the 6 spot. After the first caution AWS shuffled back to P7 and settled in until the competition caution. With the emphasis on conservation, the 22 team strategically began their methodical effort towards advancing through the pack, though a loose car served as an obstacle for the 22. After the restart AWS started 10th moved into the 12 spot and near lap 90 made a strong pass to move into 11th.
“We started off the day with a major hill to climb. The car was loose getting in the entire race which made it hard to turn at center I had to hook the bottom curb of the track with the left front every lap to get the car to turn.It was really hard to drive and my helmet cooler wasn’t working, so it was a long, extremely hot race…Towards the end we took the spring rubbers out and then sure enough, we were as fast as any car on the track – had we done that earlier on we would have had a better shot at taking home some hardware…”- AWS
“8th place finish was a solid run but not what we expect out of our team.”- Chad Bryant, Crew Chief on the 22.
By lap 120 AWS aggressively asserted himself and captured the 9 spot to enter the top 10. With 60 laps to go Self maintained his position in the top 10. With 28 laps remaining and a caution out on the track Self restarted 11th for the final race push. At the conclusion of the race Austin Wayne Self passed the checkered and finished 8th. Due to no helment cooler and high temperatures Austin Wayne Self suffered heat exhaustion and blistered feet. After lap 50 Self’s primary focus was staying alive and alert. This trying race truly tested Self’s stamina as he emerged war weary and victorious with his 5th consecutive top 10 finish.
“I feel like we are getting better and better, Five consecutive top 10’s is a great accomplishment and forward movement but, I am ready to win. I want to win and it’s time we get there.”- AWS
Next up on the schedule Self and the 22 AM Technical Solutions Dodge team will roll out of the Cunningham stable pointed at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds to revisit dirt racing. After an excellent showing in his debut dirt track racing event at the Illinois State Fairground, where he finished the day 10th, the entire team has prepared and approached their second dirt race with confidence and optimism. Their Labor Day race will certainly be a critical effort in the 22 team’s push to break the top 5 in points.
“I am ready for this dirt track. I am so ready for it and we are going to be good. I had fun the last time we raced on dirt but I also had a huge learning curve to climb – this time I feel good about it and I know more about how the car handles. I’m ready to get back into that car- it’s time to go racing!”-AWS
“Moving forward we are headed to DuQuoin and we will have a lot better insight going into the dirt race. We expect to compete for the win.” -Chad Bryant Crew, Chief on the 22
The team will race DuQuoin September 1st – For live race weekend updates and for behind the scenes photos check out the Austin Wayne Self Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/AustinWSelf and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/AustinWSelf