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Despite Tough Conditions, Austin Wayne Self still puts the KartSport Arrow on the Podium

A series of unfortunate events plagued Austin Wayne Self’s weekend in Florida but were not enough to dishearten him or his KartSport Arrow team.

The Orlando rounds of the 2011 Florida Winter Rotax Max Tour showcased the top talent in the karting world. Drivers from over 30 countries flocked to the Orlando Kart Center to claim top honors at the Rotax Max Challenge last weekend.
Friday’s qualifying rounds all occurred on a wet track. At the end of timed practice Austin had the #70 Arrow Kart in the top position on the speed chart; #1 out of 68.  However, the new Mojo rain tires the team mounted for 1st round qualifying didn’t agree with the set up and dropped the Arrow Kart from 1st to 39th.  Not knowing for sure but suspecting the new tires, the team went with a used set of mojo rains for the second qualifier and delivered a front row, P2 starting position.
“We have very little experience racing Mojo tires and prior to tonight had no experience with Mojo rains,” said Tim Self, owner of AM Racing. “That was a very hard lesson to learn and has now put us in a challenging position for a top 3 finish Sunday and the maybe the season Championship”
“When something like that happens, you gotta rebound and move on, “ said Austin in an interview.
To qualify for Sunday, the team would have to race in the Last Chance Qualifier Sunday morning and finish in the top six to move onto the Pre-Final.
Saturday began with a cool dry track and everyone was back on Racing Slicks. With only one morning practice to test the new dry setup, all the karts left the grid except for Austin’s. An electrical short in the starter caused the kart to catch fire in the grid and scuttled the opportunity to test carburetion and set up. The Team would have to put an untested setup on the grid for the pre-main. Starting outside the front row in the Pre-Main, Austin was pushed into the wall on the start severely bending his steering shaft. Austin’s driving was impressive and seemed as though he was “back to himself.” The battle for second through fourth lasted the entire race as top racers from the world battled with Austin. Despite having to hold the steering wheel at 90 degrees to keep the kart straight, he was still able to manage a fourth place finish. However, as if on cue, the penalties pushed him back to ninth position for the Final.
Prior to the Final on Saturday night, Austin said with confidence, ”I will be in third place by the second lap, and I want to get to the lead by the fifth.”
This talented racer started ninth and was in the front by the third lap, surpassing his expectations and everyone else’s watching live online that day. Austin would eventually finish second, although this intense competitor never is satisfied with anything less than first. Salvaging second place was an accomplishment for the Arrow crew after the bent steering shaft, electrical fire and penalties occurred earlier in the day. Austin now had three wins and a second place finish in his last four races.
Sunday’s forecast was projected to be dry and set the stage for a great eight-lap sprint to the finish. Austin and his crew came into the day confident they would finish the Last Chance Qualifier in the top six to reach the Pre-Final.
The race did not go in Austin’s favor the least bit. In turn three of the first lap, Austin was pushed from behind and was caught in a five-car pile up. This pushed Austin to nearly the back of the field. With two laps to go, he got tangled up with another driver, which ended with both racers off the track and out of position to qualify for the Pre-Final later that day. Austin’s weekend was finished at this point.
The weekend was tough on Austin and the Arrow crew, but both are hoping to learn from the mistakes that were made and move forward. “You can’t win every race, but those who can learn from their mistakes will win in the end,” said Austin after his race on Sunday.
Austin will be looking to return to the top spot on the podium in February as the FWT Rotax Series returns to West Palm Beach, Florida at the Palm Beach International Speedway.

Austin Self Makes His Mark Once Again

Once again the Austin native, Austin Wayne Self, amazed the Karting world when he took the top spot on more than one occasion this past weekend in Orlando, Florida.

The Orlando Kart Center hosted the first Florida Winter Tour Formula Kart Championship weekend of the 2011 season. The weather was perfect, racing field doubled from last year and the competition was tight. This tight competition was evident in the Formula Tag Junior division.

Austin was not scheduled to race in the Formula Kart Series until KartSport Arrow Teammate AJ Allmendinger, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, decided to run this race at the last minute. The team did not want Allmendinger racing alone, so Austin flew to Florida at the last minute to support his teammate.

Arriving early Saturday morning with only six hours of sleep, Austin qualified his kart in 7th position with no practice and finished 2nd in the Pre-Main. When the Main rolled around, Austin was able to lead all twenty laps and win in dominating fashion by more than five seconds ahead of the second place driver. An amazing feat when considering all of the other drivers had at least a full day of practice on Friday.

A bit of controversy arose after the race dealing with racers staying in their designated lanes during the start. Austin was initially assessed a ten-second penalty for being in the wrong lane at the start even though he was in the front row and gained no advantage. The penalty was later reduced to three seconds since Austin stayed in the same lane during the start until long after he had passed the start finish line. Luckily, he still had a two-second lead over the field despite the three-second penalty and took first place.

After all races had concluded for the day, race officials modified the starting lanes to clarify which lanes competitors are expected to use.

“It’s a good day when you can beat these guys. It is only by Grace you can show up and win without practicing,” said Tim Self, father of Austin.

Austin’s good fortune continued Sunday as he qualified second, took first in the Pre-Main and placed himself in position to win yet another race. The Main was the race to see on Florida Winter Tour Live as Austin, Luke Chudleigh and Ashley Rogero battled all race for the top spot.

Austin and Luke pulled away with three laps to go and swapped the lead a few times. When Chudleigh made his move for the lead on the last lap going down the long back stretch, Self forced him deep into turn seven and slipped under him on exit to regain the lead and take the checkered flag. The two competitors showed great sportsmanship and high fived each other after giving the crowd and the online audience a race to remember.

Austin will be back in Orlando, Florida to race in the Florida Winter Tour Rotax Max Series this weekend.