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!