Self and Team Reflect on Daytona Race, Plan Improvements for Talladega

Austin Wayne Self competed in this past weekend’s ARCA Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway as part of the speedway’s Speedweeks program. Self arrived at track for the first time in the 98 AM Technical Solutions, Pirate Energy Ford. With experience and honors under their belts, such as 2014 ARCA Rookie of the Year and 2014 ARCA Championship, Self and the MMM team were confident in an impressive Daytona performance ahead.

AW_MM GarageWhile they were in fact confident, the 98 team experienced some difficulty in getting the car up to speed during the first practice rounds on Thursday. Self came away with a slower overall average time than what the team had been looking for. Because the team spent a lot of time in the garage, Self didn’t get hooked up with the larger groups during practice which affected his drafting strategy and lap times. The obstacles continued during Friday’s practice when the 98 AM Technical Solutions Ford spent some more time in the garage during open practice hours while the crew fixed a radiator issue. Self found himself in a slower qualifying group which would make qualifying with a top time a challenge. Self finished at the top of his qualifying group but the top time in that group only earned him a 27th starting position for the race.

“It would have been really easy to get discouraged after qualifying in the further half of the pack for our first race and I might have been a little more worried had this been one of the shorter tracks. But, at Super Speedways anything can happen. You see guys go from dead last to the top 10 in only a few laps. Daytona is all about air and finding the line with advantage so we were still confident in our ability to get to where we needed to be come race time.” – Austin Wayne Self

Daytona_3WideSelf definitely put on an exciting show making his way through the field throughout the race. Towards the second half of the race Self found himself in some bumpy situations and at one point, going four wide through a turn,

“We were already going three wide and we came up on a lap car that was at the bottom of the track going into the turn. All I could think was, ‘Ohhh man this ain’t good’ and the 69 car came up into me a little bit to make room to get around the lap car and I moved up into Tom then back down into the 69. I was like a pin ball being bumped back and forth!” – AWS

Self was finally able to get drafting help with about 12 laps remaining, following teammate Mason Mitchell up towards the front. With cars lined up behind him Self was able to get the push he needed, “Daytona is an air battle. You have to get positioned between other cars to get the air flow going just right to give yourself the push you need. Usually there are two lines and either line can get the advantage so whenever you choose a line to jump into you’re kind of gambling on which one you think will start to move more. Then if you get pushed out of the line or stuck in the middle you find yourself losing positions fast. That happened to a few guys at the end of the race including me. I was up to P6 and all of a sudden a new line formed and there wasn’t an opening for me so I just started floating backwards. Not much I could do.” –AWS

Daytona_4CarPackLeaderSelf’s Crew Chief, Ryan “Pickle” London has this to say about the team’s performance at Daytona, “I was very happy with the performance of the car. The guys worked extremely hard on getting a brand new car together for Daytona and it was fast. Daytona is all about drafting partners and when we got into the right group, we were one of the fast ones. Coming out of Daytona with a 15th finish was good. It was Austin’s first race there with a brand new car and motor package so I am pleased. Talladega will be even better I’m sure. You have to learn to plate-race and this was only Austin’s second plate-race so we will improve for sure.”

Though he experienced some bad luck towards the end of the race Self was still able to finish the race in one piece and with a top 20 finish. Not to mention he put on one exciting show going three and four wide through the turns during several laps. A fifteenth place finish is a position to be proud of for a first time run at the challenging Daytona Speedway but, this driver knows that he can do better. Fifteenth is not where the team or driver wants their 98 car to be and they are coming to Mobile hungry for a “W”.

The Daytona, Lucas Oil 200 will re-air TONIGHT at 9:00PM Eastern on Fox Sports 2. Don’t miss the exciting beginning to the 2015 ARCA season!


Other re-airing dates for the Daytona, Lucas Oil 200 presented by Menard’s will be: Wednesday, February 18th at 10:00am eastern on Fox Sports 2 and Thursday, February 19th at 10:00am eastern on Fox Sports 1.

Self Heads to Daytona for First Race of the 2015 ARCA Season

Austin Wayne Self will compete in his first ARCA Racing Series race of the 2015 season this Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Coincidentally, the first race of the IMG_8096ARCA-Daytona Test 12-19-20-14season will also be Self’s first race on the Daytona track. While Self has practiced on the speedway in the past, he was unable to compete in last year’s race because he did not meet the ARCA age limit required to compete on speedways and race tracks that are over one mile long. Another accomplishment Self will be able to check off his list once the race is completed will be his first race with his new race team, Mason Mitchell Motorsports.

Not only will the Lucas Oil 200 presented by Menard’s mark many firsts for Self, but it will also mark his final “Rookie” race. The 2014 SCOTT Rookie of the Year will be considered a rookie for one last time since he has yet to compete at Daytona. Self will look to win one more SCOTT Rookie Challenge as well as gain his first ARCA Series win to put him in the lead for the season championship points early.

“I’m really excited for this weekend’s race at Daytona. We’ve worked really hard during the off-season to get to this point. I think everyone will be looking at the MMM team to see what we’ve got. When you have the 2014 ARCA Rookie of the Year and 2014 ARCA Champion racing and working together as a team, you’re definitely a threat in the competition. We ran really well during the Daytona practice session in December and January. It’s time to take what we learned during those sessions and apply them during the race. It will be my first time racing Daytona so a few nerves here and there but, I’m excited to get back in the 98 AM Technical Solutions Ford and work with my teammate to the finish.” – Austin Wayne Self

Fans can expect to see a lot of Austin around the track as he will participate in several public IMG_8610 ARCA Daytona Test 1-16-15appearances and special events during the Lucas Oil 200 and NASCAR Speedweeks weekend. Self plans to exchange Valentine’s Day cards with his young fans during the Open ARCA garage hours and autograph sessions, as well as special edition Hero Cards during an appearance at the Ford Racing display. Fans that are unable to attend the race this Saturday in Daytona will gain an all-access pass through Self’s Facebook and Twitter page. Behind the scenes pictures and videos will be shared regularly through both platforms throughout the race weekend.

The all-access pass continues through Live timing and scoring presented by Self’s sponsor, Pirate Energy on the ARCA Racing Series’ website homepage. Keep up with practice and qualifying times and of course, with live race updates. Fans that want an up close look of the Daytona race can tune in to FOX Sports 1 at 4:00PM est to watch the race LIVE. Self will be one of a handful of drivers sporting an in-car camera and roof-cam. This will be a race that fans won’t want to miss!

For more updates and news out of the AWS Racing camp, please visit the AWS website as well as Facebook and Twitter pages:


Self and TX Late Model Team Review Watermelon Speedfest Races

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.

AWS Autograph for Young FanDuring 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.”

AWS and Young FanDuring 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, You can also follow him on facebook and twitter for live race updates and behind the scenes pictures and videos.