Austin Wayne Self heads to Salem Speedway for the Federated Auto Parts 200 this weekend with one goal in mind – winning. Self and the 98 AM Technical Solutions crew finished third behind Grant Enfinger and Matt Tifft in Nashville but this weekend they plan to make up those two spots. Self is a for sure threat at Salem Speedway, earning two top 5 finishes there in the 2014 season as well as Rookie of the Race awards for being the top performing rookie during the race. The driver is a fan of short tracks and he also draws a large crowd out to the Indiana short track. Self and his team drove out to Salem over the weekend to test the car and all were pleased with the driver and car performance. A little tweaking back at the shop throughout this week leading up to the race and the crew is sure to have a machine capable of a Victory Lane finish.
Self, who currently sits third in Championship Points, explained during the test that the team’s main focus was to get the car set up for the bumpy ride. They would try to get the 98 AM Technical Solutions car running as smoothly as possible over the track with it’s unique bumps and dips. The young driver also said that they would prepare for long, green runs due to their experience at the second Salem race of 2014, where teams went over 100 laps without a caution, “You never know what type of strategy you’re gong to need here. After the last run in 2014 I think the key is to make sure the car will be good during some really long runs. Matt Weber did an awesome job in Nashville with our pit strategy though so I’m confident we’ll have a solid one in Salem as well.”
“Salem is one of my favorite tracks that we go to during the ARCA season. It has a different feel than any other place because of its history, the way it drives and of course, the fans that come out to support us. I don’t think they leave an empty seat in the house. A lot of my family from Indiana and Ohio comes out for this race too so that helps a lot!” – AWS
Self has strong ties to Southern Indiana and other surrounding areas. He spends a great deal of time on his Grandpa’s farm in French Lick, Indiana in-between races over the summer and visits family in surrounding areas such as Dubois, Paoli, Mooresville and Indianapolis. “Most of my family on my dad’s side lives somewhere in Southern Indiana or close to it. That makes our races in Indiana some of the biggest ones as far as AWS fan attendance goes. It always pushes me harder I think because I want to make them proud. Getting the Self family celebrating in Victory Lane for my first win this weekend would really mean a lot to me,” explained Self.
The team will be racing the new 2015 ARCA composite body Ford Fusion at Salem Speedway. This will be the second short track appearance for the new 98 car and hopefully the first Victory Lane appearance. When asked about how he felt about veteran driver, Grant Enfinger taking the first three races of the season, Self responded, “I like Grant a lot. I’ve talked with him a few times in the garage and before our races. He’s a really great guy, very talented and he knows everything there is to know about the cars but… I gotta beat him. When I congratulated him in Nashville I told him that I would be coming for him at Salem. I was joking around but I was also kind of serious. He’s the guy to beat right now and I’m going for it. Nothing wrong with some friendly competition.”
This weekend’s Federated Auto Parts 200 will be broadcast live on the ARCA Racing homepage. Timing and scoring presented by Austin’s sponsor Pirate Energy will be available throughout practice, qualifying and during the race. You can keep up with Austin and his crew through Facebook and Twitter as well for behind the scenes pictures and videos.
*photos by Short Track Spotlight