Salem, IN — Self and the number 98 AM Technical Solutions Ford Fusion earned their third consecutive top 5 finish this weekend at the Federated Auto Parts 200 at Salem Speedway. Self and his team rolled into Salem with a car setup and strategy that they were confident would keep them running in the front of the pack. A few incidents early on and throughout the race gave the team a few challenges to overcome in order to stay in the top but, they were able to make it through those obstacles to finished in the fifth position.
“When we came to Salem Speedway to test last weekend we decided to set the car up for really long runs due to the 100 plus lap green run we experienced last season at this track. An early incident in the first few laps turned us around and gave us our first challenge. And then a few cautions throughout the race broke up the long runs. When we got into some good green runs we made our way up the field pretty good. I think if the flag count had been a little different we could have finished on top,” Self explained.
The weekend began on Saturday with poor weather conditions. The scheduled practice sessions and qualifying were canceled due to the consistent rainfall. The starting lineup for Sunday’s Federated Auto Parts 200 was determined by 2014 season owner’s points putting Self and the 98 AM Technical Solutions Ford in the pole position. Self would lead the pack to the start of the weekend’s big race for the second time this season. Contact competition started early and Self found himself spinning on the fifth lap around. Several cars were involved in the incident that drew the first caution of the race. Self reported some chatter in the right front and took a quick trip to the pits. Self restarted the race in the thirteenth position minus a right front shock. He had some work ahead of him to make it back up towards the front of the pack. With a few longer green runs and some intense and exciting side-by-side racing, Self made his way back up to the top 6. Announcers and fans were on their feet as Self battled and went three wide on the backstretch to overtake the 4th position with under 50 laps to go.
“If those final few cautions hadn’t come out and we would have been able to stay under green then the finish would have been a different story. We took a chance on our setup and unfortunately the flags just didn’t fall our way. I’m really proud of my team and crew though. We went from starting in the front, all the way back to 13th within the first few laps, and ended it in the top 5. The best part is that this weekend allowed us to take over second place in the point standings and we’re only 95 points behind the leader. We’re on the climb and we’re making awesome progress” – Austin Wayne Self
Self made three pit stops throughout the race during the caution flags with the final pit stop being the most important. The pit crew was able to give him four fresh tires and make an air pressure adjustment to send him on his way for the final few laps of the race. Self lost one position during the final pit stop but was able to make it up in the final sprint to the finish. The team’s 5th place finish earned them the second spot in the Championship Points race. They now only sit 95 points behind points leader Grant Enfinger. Can Self pass Enfinger with his run at Talladega? Find out this weekend. The Talladega race will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 on Friday, May 1st at 5:00pm Central. Don’t miss the race and Austin’s chase for the first spot!
Austin Wayne Self and the 98 team celebrated a third place finish at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Saturday, April 11th. Self started the Troop Aid 200 in the 13th position and put on quite the show during the 200-lap race as he and the AM Technical Solutions Ford made their way through the field. The team’s car set up and Crew Chief, Matt Weber’s pit strategies put the team in top contention. Ten more laps and they may have had their first win of the season. Self really enjoyed the Fairgrounds racetrack. He said it was an honor for him to participate in the first ARCA race at the track in over 20 years and he can’t wait to return. The 98 team got off to a rocky start but their hard work and determination earned them a well-deserved podium finish.
After the first practice session Self said they struggled with the rear end being loose. The crew made several adjustments during the two practice rounds including a blind adjustment at the conclusion of practice. “We won’t know how that last change will affect the car until we get out on the track for qualifying,” explained Self. The track temperature was about 114 degrees during practice. The 98 crew believed that the track would cool down to well under 100 degrees when the green flag dropped. The team set the car up a little on the loose side thinking that that would put them closer to where they needed to be on the cooler track.
Self started in P13 and made his way up to the ninth spot during the first twenty laps of the Troop Aid 200. With only six tires to use throughout the race, pit strategies were crucial. The first caution came out on lap 42, prompting the first pitting opportunity under caution. The majority of the field stayed out but Self brought the AM Technical Solutions Ford to pit road and took two right side tires. He lost one spot coming to pit road and restarted in the eleventh spot. The two new tires gave Self the momentum he needed to start making his way back up through the field. He quickly made 4 passes in the first few laps following the restart. He made a fast pass on the outside to take over P10, two inside passes for P9 and P8 and then another outside pass putting him in the seventh position. Self continued to fly and made his way up to P4 in the next five laps. The young driver raced nice and clean; didn’t touch anything but the gas pedal.
Another caution on lap 70 brought the leaders to pit road while Self stayed out scoring him as the leader on the restart. Self and the second place driver got the jump on the field at the green flag but then Self began to fall back. He lost a few more spots as drivers with fresher tires gained momentum ending him up in P5. The final caution of the race came out on lap 155. All cars came to pit road. Self and 98, AM Technical Solutions Ford took four tires and no fuel for the last 30 laps of the Troop Aid 200. Self quickly made his first pass at the restart. With less than 30 to go he and the driver of the 6 car raced side-by-side for he third spot. After picking up the third position Self tried to run down the leaders. He came within inches of the second spot and with one more lap would have had it. It made for an exciting finish with loud yelling and cheers coming from the packed stands. The team was all smiles and celebrated the finish on the track and in victory lane with the race winner. From position thirteen to three, the young driver displayed his talent and love for coming from the back of the field. It was a heck of a race and the fans couldn’t have been happier about ARCA’s first race back at the Fairgrounds Speedway.
“Taking the two tires earlier in the race under the first caution really helped us gain momentum. We started out pretty loose but we got the car where it needed to be and never gave up. We just kept pushing to put ourselves in a better position. The set up and the pit strategies that Matt (Weber) came up with really paid off and I know we were all excited about a top 3 finish after starting 13th. I really like this track and I had a lot of fun driving it tonight. We sure went flying after those pit stops!” – Austin Wayne Self
Self will be scored third in the unofficial point standings. Official standings will be released Monday, April 13th. This was the second short track race of the Short Track Challenge in which Self was scored fourth prior to the Troop Aid 200. He is expected to move into the third or second position with points gained from the race in Nashville. From here the 98 crew will head to Salem Speedway for the Federated Auto Parts 200. This will be another race towards the dual championship, as the points will count towards the Championship and the Short Track Challenge. Salem always draws a crowd for Austin Wayne Self with large groups of family and friends traveling from nearby towns to watch their favorite driver compete. He finished in the third position at his last visit to Salem. This time he’ll be looking for his first win.