Austin Wayne Self brought his Late Model crew from Kyle, TX to compete in the Watermelon Capital Speedway’s Speedfest 2015. The team would try their luck with a car that had never raced outside the state of Texas. Not only had it never been outside of TX, the Pro Late Model had only ever raced on Self’s home track, Central Texas Speedway.
The team was optimistic and excited to get rolling. They made their way to the track to get some early practice in on Thursday afternoon. Self and his team also unloaded a Super Late Model as they planned to run the full Speedfest double header. Self was eager to get back in the seat and get ready for his first races of the 2015 season.
During Saturday’s practice the team struggled with some motor complications on the Pro Late Model and finished out practice with times putting them around the 19th position. A few more adjustments were made to the car before qualifying and Self was able to pick up some spots and qualify the Pro Late Model in the 12th position. Oddly enough, the 07 Super late Model would also start in the 12th position.
During his first race Self made moves early to pick up three spots in the first 50 laps. With plenty of side-by-side racing action, moves to the inside, and avoiding hazards ahead, Self found himself in the 6th position with 25 laps to go. With another caution out on lap 115 of 125 Self was working hard to break the top 5. Coming out of turn 4, two laps after the restart Self made a move to the inside unaware of the car on his inside rear quarter panel. The two made contact and Self got loose! Wiggling and getting sideways it looked as though there would be cause for another caution but Self saved the car and was able to clinch a top 10 finish!
“We may not have finished where we wanted but we had a whole lot of fun,” says Austin Wayne Self. “I have to credit the CRA/ARCA guys and Watermelon Speedway staff for a really fun time, a great show and a tremendous effort on their part. Also, gotta give credit to Bubba Pollard and John Nemacheck and their crews. They had their stuff dialed in from the beginning to the end. Like Colt says, we were a little behind tire wise and we probably shouldn’t have restricted our Super motor for this track. I thought our Pro Car set up was pretty good. We just didn’t have the power some of these other guys had and it hurt us trying to get off the turns. I believe if my spotter and I had communicated better we could have avoided the late race contact and finished in the top 5. But hey, that’s racing. We’ll get these cars back to the DLP Motorsports shop, change setups to work better with these tires and be ready to go next go-round. I can’t wait to have another shot at it.”
During the Super Late model race Self made moves early making his way to P9 within the first 80 laps. After the 10 minute pit stop at lap 100 Self restarted the race with 100 more laps to go in the 9th position. Self’s Super Late race ended early when Elliot made a move to the inside. Self was forced up the track coming up to slow traffic. With nowhere to go, the 07 machine found it’s way underneath a slow car ahead.
“The 10th place and the DNF for the Pro and Super Late model finishes didn’t really show the whole picture,” says Colt James, Crew Chief for both the Pro Late Model and The Super Late Model. “We had some good runs and could possibly have gotten out of there with a couple top 5 finishes. Everyone on the Team did a really great job and we took some good notes. With what we learned about set up on this tire compound and what we found out from our new motor builder, I think we have what we need to put our stuff up front in this series. We will be much better prepared when we take to the track at Lucas Oil Raceway.”
“I really enjoy working with Austin and this Texas Bunch. These guys don’t quit for nothing and Austin drives his butt off no matter what the car is like,” says David Pletcher (AKA Buggy), of DLP Motorsports. I wish I could have been here for the whole weekend but we had some commitments down in New Smyrna Friday and Saturday. I know exactly what these guys had to face last weekend. You can ask anybody but it’s tough when you go from one series to the next and have to figure out the set up on different tire compounds. Plus, this is just our second race together so our team is still in the “gel” phase. We will have it all working better by the time we get to Indy.”
Self will continue his 30-race season in February at the ARCA Lucas Oil 200 in Daytona. For more information about Austin’s 2015 season visit his website, www.awsracing.com. You can also follow him on facebook and twitter for live race updates and behind the scenes pictures and videos.