In February 2012, Austin Wayne Self moved from Austin, Texas to Huntersville, North Carolina. At age 16, he left his friends and the only city he had ever lived in to race with Sellers Racing in order to gain experience at some of country’s most celebrated NASCAR short tracks.
In all, he raced at eight different tracks and earned 1 Checkered Flag, 13 Top 5’s and 25 Top 10 finishes.
We recently spoke with Austin to get some of his thoughts about the 2012 season and also look ahead to the 2013 season, which starts with two races at the UNOH Battle at the Beach in Daytona on February 18-19.
What was it like to work with the Sellers team?
I feel very blessed to be able to work with the guys at Sellers. They are one of the top Late Model team in the country. At first I didn’t know what to expect, but they were very easy to work with. I think they helped me turn into a better driver and a better person.
What’s the most important thing you learned from those guys?
I learned the importance of saving tires and about being patient and waiting for your opportunities in a race.
What was your favorite track you got to experience?
My favorite track was Southern National in Kenly. We did a lot of races there, so I got some good experience and had my best finishes there.
What do you think was your best race?
I’d have to say the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond. That race really sticks out the most because we all had to work with some new things from the Goodyear tires to the track to the level of competition. We worked really hard together (Sellers and Austin) throughout that week and got a Top 20 finish. That felt like a huge accomplishment. It really taught me that I’m capable of working with a top team and racing against the best and holding my own.
Did you accomplish everything you set out to accomplish in 2012?
For the most part yes. But I always want to win more. I’m just competitive, so I do like to win. But one of our goals was just to get a lot of experience at different tracks and to learn a lot from the Sellers team. I know I learned a lot for sure.
So you join the Cunningham team this year in both ARCA and K&N Pro East races. How excited were you to sign with Cunningham?
It’s still sinking in. I’m very excited about getting to work with Cunningham and Paul Andrews. He’s been a part of Sprint Cup Championship teams and I can’t wait to get to work with him. Cunningham is one of the best ARCA teams, they are good guys and I’m just very grateful to be with them. I’d rather be with them than any other team out there.
What are you most looking forward to this season?
I’m just happy that I get to keep doing what I love so much for another season. I’m looking forward to racing faster and bigger cars and to drive on some more of the top ARCA and K&N Pro East tracks.
Any one track in particular you can’t wait to race at?
All of them! Richmond, the new short track at Daytona, Bristol, Road America, Dover and more.
What’s something you’re working to improve?
I want to work on my personal strength and getting into the gym more. It will help with my endurance and the longer races.
What’s your main goal for this season?
First and foremost I want to finish every race. It would also be great to get a lot of Top 5 finishes and to get a win in ARCA and K&N too.