AUSTIN, TEXAS (July 31, 2016) – Austin Wayne Self seemingly enroute to his second-consecutive solid NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) outing, finished 25th at Pocono Raceway after parts failure spoiled his day during the closing stages of Saturday’s Pocono Mountains 150.
Self, in charge of his No.22 AM Technical Solutions Toyota, started from the 21st position (based on practice results) after pole qualifying was scrubbed due to early morning rain. Showing speed, the NCWTS rookie quickly raced his way inside the top-15 by lap-10 of the 60-lap event.
A day which saw a race record nine cautions totaling 27-circuits around Pocono’s 2.5-mile triangle, Self would pit under the fourth caution taking tires and fuel on lap-25. Armed with a solid handing Toyota Tundra, Self, restarting 16th, would work his way inside the top-10 before being slowed by the fifth caution of the day on lap-27.
Restarting ninth on lap-31, Self and his AM Racing were on the move until the No.86 truck cut down and moved Self to the flat sending him spinning without damage. Losing valuable position Self would pit for a new set of Goodyear tires before restarting 20th.
With crew chief Rick Ren in his ear, Self stays calm and goes back to work, climbing back up into 16th position before the seventh caution of the day once again slowed the field. Electing to stay out while a few front runners pitted, Self, picked-up three spots during the yellow flag.
With momentum building again, the green flag waived on lap-44 with Self in the 13th spot. But soon after the restart the No. 44 truck trailing Self reports the No.22 may have issues with the rear axel – under green Self is forced down pit road for service. Losing valuable track position the AM Racing jumped into action diagnosing and replacing the left rear axel cap on Self’s truck.
Self would re-enter the race on lap-48 – four laps down in the 25th positon. On the record setting ninth caution of the race coming on lap-53, Self, once again with direction from his crew chief is told to salvage his day – run his own race and avoid any chaos on the final restart – and bring his truck home in one piece. Self would do just that settling for a 25th place finish.
“We had a really solid day ruined by bad luck,” said Self. Today was typical of every race I’ve had here at Pocono. I’ve been here a handful of times in the ARCA Series and it seems every time I run well something causes us to finish in the back.”
“I really hate it for our guys – this entire AM Technical Solutions Toyota team did a heck of a job preparing a great truck for me today. We ran in the top-15 consistently throughout the day until the left rear axel cap broke. It’s disappointing but we come out of here learning a bunch and overall stronger as a group. We’ve assembled a great team – everyone gives 100% and refuses to settle. We’ll be ready to take on Bristol in a couple weeks.”
The race which featured five different leaders was won by fellow Toyota driver William Byron.
Self maintains his 16th position in the NCWTS driver point standings.
The AM Racing will regroup and prepare for the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 17.