September 2014 – Austin Wayne Self
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Lay It All Out in Kansas

qualifying gridAustin Wayne Self and the Cunningham team will have more riding on their run at Kansas than expected after a tough run at Kentucky last weekend. All of the ARCA teams had a rough start to their race week when practice on Tuesday was canceled late in the afternoon due to poor track conditions. When the 22 team returned to track on Wednesday for the rescheduled practice sessions they had expected their day to run a little more smoothly.

“I knew the track was going to be a bit of a challenge after taking those first few laps on Tuesday in the ARCA trucks. It was my first time seeing the track and I knew it would take some getting used to but man, I didn’t expect to have as much trouble with it as we did.” – AWS

Self said, “It felt like I had racer’s block or something. We kept trying new ways of getting in and out of the corners, different lines, you name it and we just couldn’t find that extra second we needed.” By the end of practice the team ran their fastest lap and had more confidence that they would get the set up right by race time. Self was able to pick up another second come practice time on race day but many of the drivers including Self felt that Kentucky was a completely different track compared to what they had practiced on during the scheduled ARCA sessions on Wednesday. Self qualified in the 16th position. The team had started in worse positions and kept their determination to finish the race well. Unfortunately the team struggled to get the set up just right during the race.

“It was a rough weekend for the entire Cunningham team. After two top 5 finishes in Salem, leaving Kentucky with 2 finishes outside the top 10 definitely wasn’t what we were looking for and it’s not a good example of what our team is capable of.” Crew Chief Chad Bryant said. “We just have to put this weekend behind us and focus everything we have on our last race in Kansas to break into the top 5 in Season Points.”

Self thanked his fans and his sponsor Ultra One Cleaner and Degreaser for coming out to support him at the race. He was disappointed that he wasn’t able to give them a better show but looks forward to giving them one in Kansas.practice

Self finished in the 12th position and trails the 5th position in Season Point Standings by only 140 points.  The team will be working even harder in the week prior to the race to get the car just right. Kansas is their final chance to gain enough points to push them into the top 5 for the season. A top 5 points finish paired with a possible Rookie of the Year Award would be a huge accomplishment for Self and the Cunningham team for their first full season together.

Kansas will be televised live on Fox Sports 2 at 7:30pm Central on Friday, October 3rd. Self and the 22 AM Technical Solutions Dodge are sure to be a top contender and it won’t be a race you want to miss. Help cheer the team on by following on Austin’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Self Claims 3rd at Salem, Looks to Break into Top 5 in Season Points Standings in Final Races

Austin Wayne Self and the Cunningham team arrived at Salem on Saturday confident that they would be a top contender. They finished fourth in the spring race and had gotten a great amount of experience under their belts since their last encounter with the half-mile oval track. The tricky part about this race was that the track itself was “new but still the same” with only two of the four turns being freshly re-paved. Self welcomed the new surface learning that the re-pavement offered more grip and more speed during his practice sessions earlier in the week. On race day Self said the team, “had a good car during practice and a good set up strategy for the race. We were planning on the car tightening up throughout the race and made adjustments accordingly. We also knew that the cooling weather would play a part and hoped that Mother Nature was on our side.”

Self qualified in the 14th position which was a little further back than what they had wanted but since Self had showcased his ability to makes moves from the back of the pack in previous races the team was still confident and ready to compete.

CAM00789 AWS made moves at the start of the race making passes to put himself in the 8th position. The top three leaders gained speed and began to pass the tail end of the field before the front runner continued to increase his lead over the rest of the pack. Austin maintained his position throughout the long green run managing to only allow the leader to pass him one more time. As many of the leaders began to pit around lap 100 Self moved up into the field by staying out on the track. By lap 120 AWS was running third with two laps down. By this time Self and most of the crew members were itching to come in to the pits for a set of fresh tires and fuel but the team’s Crew Chief had other plans. At lap 146 the caution finally came out and Self was able to pit without losing any laps. In fact, the team got the lucky dog earning them an extra lap to put them at only one lap down, starting a few positions back behind the leaders.

On the restart Self made moves through the lap traffic back up to front of the pack where he was able to make it by the leaders to put himself back on the lead lap. With only 50 laps to go it was important for Self to maintain his position and if he could, make it back around in order to be in passing position for the lead. As temperatures continued to drop and the track became cooler, the car refused to tighten up as the team had planned.

“If we had gotten in one more adjustment on the car before going green again I think we would have gotten the reaction from the car that we had wanted and would have been able to gain more ground on the leaders.” – AWS

As the end of the race approached the leaders exchanged a little contact in their final laps and Crew Chief, Chad Bryant advised Self to be prepared for anything up ahead. Bryant was spot on and the leaders fought hard to be the first across the finish line making significant contact with each other and getting into the wall. Self’s teammate pulled through the fight first and took home the victory as the 2nd place finisher slid across the line in reverse. Self clenched the 3rd spot and the Rookie Challenge Award for the race. It was an exciting finish for sure and the Self family fan group definitely had reason to celebrate!

 

CAM00808“I’m glad I was able to put on a good show for all of my family that made their way out to the track. We always have one of the largest fan sections at Salem and the support really does go a long way,” Self said. “ I’m also very thankful for my crew chief and the decisions he made (even when the rest of the crew was itching for a stop). Chad’s pit strategy was spot on and he really came through as a team leader. We went over 140 laps on the same tires – I didn’t know that was possible!”

“I had a strategy at the beginning and I stuck to it. Even when everyone else was coming in to pit I knew we weren’t gong to bring it in until we had a caution. After the caution Austin worked hard to maintain his position. We were able to put up a good fight and improve upon our spring race results” – Chad Bryant, Crew Chief

 

The team moves on to Kentucky this week, one of the final two races in the ARCA schedule. The team is pushing for a win and each week they get closer and closer. With the final two closing in, Self and the Cunningham team will bring their Salem momentum and look to score their first W and break into the top five in the season points standings. While Self’s roots are in short tracks, the young driver has proven to be a force to reckon with on the larger tracks as well.

Even though Self has never seen either of the final two tracks in his life, he is confident that he can learn the lines quickly during the testing and practice sessions in order to give the team a strong chance at bringing the number 22, AM Technical Solutions Dodge to Victory Lane before the season is over!

The Kentucky race will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 at 8:00pm est. For race day updates and behind the scenes pictures and videos follow Austin Wayne Self on Facebook and Twitter.

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Austin Wayne Self Buckled In for a Week of Racing Across America

On Monday September 1st, as America celebrated Labor Day, the ARCA Racing Series revved their engines on the dirt track at DuQuoin.  To mark his second start on dirt Austin Wayne Self qualified the 22 AM Technical Solutions Dodge10th for the race. During the pace laps Austin Wayne Self was forced to move to the back of the pack due to changing their wheel position.“I was penalized before the race even started because I stopped to fix my steering wheel, they made me start last which was a major obstacle to overcome. Before we even got after it, we had already hit a roadblock. But every time I have to start from the back I look at it like a challenge, I like having to really race.”-AWS

IMG_3266By the first caution Austin Wayne Self was running P19. On the restart the 22 made an aggressive advance towards the front of the field scoring the 17 spot. By lap 40 AWS had entered the top 15. “We did a good job staying out of trouble. We struggled trying to get the car off the corner but I learned a lot. I was happy to bring the car home in one piece. I learned the fundamentals of dirt racing and how to drive it in the corner and keep the momentum in the corner. I gained a grasp of what it feels like to be running good on dirt when we were making passes but mistakes were made outside the car which hurt us.”

The 22 team worked through 6 pit stops during the 100 lap race. “During one of our pit stops the pit crew made some big mistakes, we put rounds in the right rear and we were a little bit tight and didn’t loosen up till the end of the race. During the actual pit stop the jackman started lifting and we fell off. That didn’t help us but we were confident we could race it out.”

With only 3 laps to go Austin Wayne Self raced the 22 into top 10 contention and maintained the run to the checkered flag.  “I was just happy the race was over, It was a hard race on everyone. I am ready to get back to Salem, get into the car for testing and definitely excited to get back to my home track.”-AWS

With another top 10 in the books Austin Wayne Self is currently P6 in season points standings, leading the Scotts Rookie Challenge, and has racked 12 top 10 finishes in the 2014 racing season. “I can’t thank AM Technical Solutions, or Cunningham Racing enough. We still have a few races left, and the goal is always set to get that first win- but what we have done so far this season is a major accomplishment.

“The race at DuQuoin went well, we started it out strong and considering we had to start from the back- it shows what a good car we had. Austin is learning, he is learning how to race these tracks and he’s learning how to handle this kind of racing. That was a major accomplishment, and he did a good job saving his equipment.” – Chad Bryant Crew Chief

IMG_3318On Wednesday September 3rd Austin Wayne Self spent the day at Kansas Motor Speedway with the 22 AMTS Cunningham Dodge team. Their focus was to test their race setup for the final race of the 2014 ARCA season. “This track is fast, it will be a good track to race side by side on. I think once we work on our setup we will be a factor come race day. I watched old races before we got here and I had an idea of what we needed to do. I got some advice from Tom (Hessert) and I just tried to not overthink it. This is a fast big track. At the bigger tracks we race at it’s important to point and direct the car right. We have to arc into the corner and cut down to the bottom of the track. We ran in the top 5 for the majority of the day during our test.  I started to feel the motion and the momentum.”-AWS

“The testing at Kansas was fair. You could see Austin got the hang of it, and we have put together a really strong car for that race. The field running from Cunningham Motorsports for that Kansas race will be dominant there’s no doubt about that.”- Chad Bryant Crew Chief

As if he weren’t in the car enough, Austin Wayne Self will gain even more seat time this weekend as he returns to the great state of Texas. AWS will race in the Late Model this weekend at his home track Central Texas Speedway.

“I like getting back to my roots! I can have fun and race hard. I don’t have to worry about anything when I’m out there it’s just about winning, no points no pressure. I can’t wait to get back out there.”

On Monday Austin Wayne Self will visit Salem Speedway for another ARCA series test. That will make for 4 tracks, in 4 states, in 8 days. Salem is one of Austin Wayne Self’s best tracks, with their highest performance record. “There are major changes on the horizon that we will have to adjust quickly to. These next few weeks are really busy and we are trying to focus on adjusting quicky and efficiently between these races and tests. This final push is training me to be in the best driving condition of my life, and I’m really thankful I get to do what I love every day.” –AWS

 “Salem is one of our best tracks, we should be a threat for a win and our testing will only help us get there.” – Chad Bryant

For live race weekend updates and for behind the scenes photos check out the Austin Wayne Self Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/AustinWSelf and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/AustinWSelf