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Self is Talladega Bound Looking to Close the Gap On the Points Leader

98Crowd_ShortTrackSpotlight Ain’t no party like a Talladega party, and that’s exactly what Austin Wayne Self and the 98 AM Technical Solutions Ford crew hope to be doing this Friday in Victory Lane! The race team is coming off of it’s third consecutive top five finish of the season. After four races complete in 2015 the young driver and the 98 machine are knocking on the door of Championship points leader, Grant Enfinger, trailing by only 95 points. With Self’s success as a Rookie at Talladega last year, a first win here isn’t out of the question,

Wall Shot“I’m really excited to get back to Talladega. I had an awesome first time experience here earning a third place finish and a Rookie of the Race award during our first go-round. I’m even more confident heading to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 race this weekend. The new Ilmor motors made Daytona a little more interesting so I’m ready to see what they’ll do at ‘Dega. I think we have our Superspeedway program down and the boys at the 98 shop are itching to get the AM Technical Solutions beast down to ‘Dega.” – Austin Wayne Self

Last year Self impressed with a third place finish in his Superspeedway debut when he pushed then teammate, Tom Hessert, to the win and just missed second place. “Even though it was a little nerve wrecking at first being on my first Superspeedway, this actually ended up being one of my favorite tracks that we came to last season. There was a lot of competing for positions throughout the race last year and you have to make sure you’re near the front of the pack when that last final push begins at the end. The atmosphere is unreal here and the fans are some of the most dedicated race fans I’ve ever met. We got to visit the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind during our stay here too and that made it even more meaningful,” explained the young driver. He will have another busy Talladega trip ahead of him during the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 race weekend as he will return to AIDB during his quick trip and will also be hosting a dinner with his sponsor, Pirate Energy.

Mirror Shot

Pirate Energy is no stranger to a wild and crazy atmosphere. Pirate Energy shots, accompanied by the Pirate Energy girls, have recently attended events such as Austin’s SXSW, the Larry Joe Taylor Festival, and West Campus’ Pool Party and Crawfish Boil in downtown Austin, TX to energize festival and party goers. This weekend they’ll be energizing race fans! Fans in need of a boost are encouraged to stop by Austin’s hauler during the open garage hours on Friday, May 1st (prior to the race) for some Pirate Energy shots. An energy boost, an autograph and a picture with the young driver – not a bad deal. Pirate Energy is ready to party in Talladega and you can bet that a trip to Victory Lane is what the driver, crew and sponsors are all hunting for.

Don’t forget to tune in live to Fox Sports 1 on Friday, May 1st to catch all of the racing action on TV if you are not able to attend the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200. The race broadcast will begin at 5:00PM Central. You can also follow along on the ARCA homepage with live timing and scoring presented by Austin’s sponsor, Pirate Energy.

Self Takes Over the Second Championship Points Spot with Third Consecutive Top Five Finish in Federated Auto Parts 200

Salem_ShortTrackSpotlightSalem, 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.

98Pass_ShortTrackSpotlightThe 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.

98PitStop_ShortTrackSpotlight“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!

Self Inches Closer to Points Leader With Third Place Finish at Troop Aid 200

Nashville QualifyingAustin Wayne Self and the 98 team celebrated a third place finish at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Saturday, April 11th. Self started the Troop Aid 200 in the 13th position and put on quite the show during the 200-lap race as he and the AM Technical Solutions Ford made their way through the field. The team’s car set up and Crew Chief, Matt Weber’s pit strategies put the team in top contention. Ten more laps and they may have had their first win of the season. Self really enjoyed the Fairgrounds racetrack. He said it was an honor for him to participate in the first ARCA race at the track in over 20 years and he can’t wait to return. The 98 team got off to a rocky start but their hard work and determination earned them a well-deserved podium finish.

After the first practice session Self said they struggled with the rear end being loose. The crew made several adjustments during the two practice rounds including a blind adjustment at the conclusion of practice. “We won’t know how that last change will affect the car until we get out on the track for qualifying,” explained Self. The track temperature was about 114 degrees during practice. The 98 crew believed that the track would cool down to well under 100 degrees when the green flag dropped. The team set the car up a little on the loose side thinking that that would put them closer to where they needed to be on the cooler track.

Self started in P13 and made his way up to the ninth spot during the first twenty laps of the Troop Aid 200. With only six tires to use throughout the race, pit strategies were crucial. The first caution came out on lap 42, prompting the first pitting opportunity under caution. The majority of the field stayed out but Self brought the AM Technical Solutions Ford to pit road and took two right side tires. He lost one spot coming to pit road and restarted in the eleventh spot. The two new tires gave Self the momentum he needed to start making his way back up through the field. He quickly made 4 passes in the first few laps following the restart. He made a fast pass on the outside to take over P10, two inside passes for P9 and P8 and then another outside pass putting him in the seventh position. Self continued to fly and made his way up to P4 in the next five laps. The young driver raced nice and clean; didn’t touch anything but the gas pedal.

Podium_NashvilleAnother caution on lap 70 brought the leaders to pit road while Self stayed out scoring him as the leader on the restart. Self and the second place driver got the jump on the field at the green flag but then Self began to fall back. He lost a few more spots as drivers with fresher tires gained momentum ending him up in P5. The final caution of the race came out on lap 155. All cars came to pit road. Self and 98, AM Technical Solutions Ford took four tires and no fuel for the last 30 laps of the Troop Aid 200. Self quickly made his first pass at the restart. With less than 30 to go he and the driver of the 6 car raced side-by-side for he third spot. After picking up the third position Self tried to run down the leaders. He came within inches of the second spot and with one more lap would have had it. It made for an exciting finish with loud yelling and cheers coming from the packed stands. The team was all smiles and celebrated the finish on the track and in victory lane with the race winner. From position thirteen to three, the young driver displayed his talent and love for coming from the back of the field. It was a heck of a race and the fans couldn’t have been happier about ARCA’s first race back at the Fairgrounds Speedway.

“Taking the two tires earlier in the race under the first caution really helped us gain momentum. We started out pretty loose but we got the car where it needed to be and never gave up. We just kept pushing to put ourselves in a better position. The set up and the pit strategies that Matt (Weber) came up with really paid off and I know we were all excited about a top 3 finish after starting 13th. I really like this track and I had a lot of fun driving it tonight. We sure went flying after those pit stops!” – Austin Wayne Self

Self will be scored third in the unofficial point standings. Official standings will be released Monday, April 13th. This was the second short track race of the Short Track Challenge in which Self was scored fourth prior to the Troop Aid 200. He is expected to move into the third or second position with points gained from the race in Nashville. From here the 98 crew will head to Salem Speedway for the Federated Auto Parts 200. This will be another race towards the dual championship, as the points will count towards the Championship and the Short Track Challenge. Salem always draws a crowd for Austin Wayne Self with large groups of family and friends traveling from nearby towns to watch their favorite driver compete. He finished in the third position at his last visit to Salem. This time he’ll be looking for his first win.

 

 

Austin Wayne Self Back at the Home Track

Austin Wayne Self returned to his home track for the first time since moving to Mooresville, NC to further pursue a professional racing career. The 2014 ARCA Rookie of the Year competed in the Pro late Model race at Central Texas Speedway on Saturday, March 28th. This was the young driver’s first time back in a Late model since the beginning of the ARCA Racing season. Self was excited to be home and back at CTS where his stock car career took flight. He even pulled off a top-five finish.

AWS_Dont' Mess with TXSelf’s return to the local Austin area race track attracted long-time fans and sponsors to the race event on Saturday. Among those supporting the young driver were the owners and guests of the popular energy shot drink, Pirate Energy. The Pirate Energy group cheered Self on as he piloted the #07 Pirate Energy Pro Late Model and even hosted an after-party after the race action to celebrate the team’s top 5 finish.

The fourth place finish wasn’t so easily earned however. Self struggled with mechanical issues throughout the day. “The last time this Pro late model saw a track was at the race in Georgia that we competed at a few months ago. With ARCA testing in Nashville making my late model practice schedule tight, I don’t think we really had a chance to work out all the kinks. The team worked extremely hard to repair damage taken on in Georgia and I know with a little more track time before, we would have had the best car out there. We still did a great job and I know we all had fun and that’s what’s most important to us for these CTS races,” explained Self.

Stands_SunsetDespite having trouble getting through turns during the race Self was able to pick up positions during the race and put on a show for the crowd. Starting in the 7th position Self quickly took the #07 Pirate Energy car to the top. Charging forward and taking on other drivers on the inside Self battled to the second position and remained there for the majority of he race. A late caution came out causing the rest of the pack to catch back up with the leaders. Some shuffling during the restart put Self back in the fourth position with only a few laps to go. Even without the win the #07 team received praises for the exciting racing they displayed from fans and partners. Newcomers to the track became race fans for life and that really is what the sport is all about.

The next race that Self and the #07 Pirate Energy car will compete in will be Saturday, April 4th at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville. Fans can follow Austin on Facebook and Twitter to catch announcements about live broadcasting for this event and for behind the scenes photos and videos.

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Self Earns First Top 5 Finish of the Season, Moves Into Third Place for Championship Points

Austin Wayne Self finished out the first race of the Short Track Challenge in the top five, giving him premier positioning for the remainder of the challenge races. It was looking like a final showdown between Austin and Grant as they checked out on the field after the last round of pit stops. But a late race caution allowed the field to catch up and make the finish a door-slamming, tire burning battle for the top 5.

USS AlabamaThe starting line up was determined by 2014 owner’s points due to rain cancellation of qualifying giving Self the opportunity to start on the pole. Within the first few laps Self dropped behind Grant Enfinger. “I learned a lot running behind Grant at the beginning of the race. Seeing which lines he was using helped me out later in the race.” – AWS

The green flag racing didn’t last long as the 69 car went rolling off the track in turn one, jumped a barrier and found itself among fan vehicles in the parking lot! After the driver’s safety was confirmed the green flag dropped again and the #98 AM Technical Solutions, Pirate Energy Ford was rolling. Self continued to shadow the veteran leader until lap 52 when he would come on to pit road under the sixth caution of the race. The #98 pit crew kept Self in for an extended pit-stop to fix a brake fan. The team ended up removing the fan and ducts and sent Self back out to track in the 17th position.

There was no denying the talent of the young driver when he returned to the track. Self skillfully began to pass other drivers one by one until he returned to the front of the pack and took over the lead on lap 143. “Fans and guests of the #98 Pirate Energy Ford were going wild when Austin got back up to the front and took over the first position. It was one of the most entertaining parts of the race for the Asian American Store Owners Association President and members that Pirate Energy brought to the race!” Explained Matt Donovan, AMDMS Sponsorship and Partner Relations Manager.

Austin and Crew“I have to give all the credit for our performance here to the shop, and our crew. The 98 AMTS Ford was the best car at the track. We were better than anyone on long runs and should have won this thing. I let Grant control all the restarts and just got caught off guard when he didn’t go early on the last big one with 23 to go. That opened the door for the 25 car to drive into my left quarter panel. Even though he couldn’t wreck me he burned up my left rear tire and we didn’t have enough grip to come back and battle for the win. I think the 25 car made a few enemies at this race, driving dirty and causing several incidents during and after the race. Probably not the best strategy for the second race of the season. I’m proud that the 98 crew kept their composure.” – AWS

 

Except for pit cycle shuffles, the race consisted primarily of the 98 and 23 car battling up front. During Self’s final pit stop, Crew Chief Matt Weber made the call to put on their last set of 4 tires. A move that paid off as Austin came through the field to take the lead. 12 laps later the rest of the leaders made a stop to take their last fresh tires and to race each other through the field.

Mobile Test“I felt like we had the car to beat Grant with to end his streak. Some hard racing gave the team some things that they needed to work through during pit stops and they did an awesome job! Even though we weren’t able to get the W, crossing the line fourth was a great accomplishment for our second race and I feel we have a great amount of momentum heading into Nashville. I think we might even end a streak and start one of our own.” – AWS

 

After the first two races Austin Wayne Self sits third in ARCA Championship Points, 110 points behind the leader. Self looks to increase his points count at the next ARCA race in Nashville on April 11th but before then Self will hopping into the Late Model seat, first at his home track in Texas and next in Nashville. Hometown fans can visit Austin, get autographs and watch him race at Central Texas Speedway on March 28th.

Tickets to the race on sale at CentralTexasSpeedway.com. Stay tuned for more updates about Austins trip back to Texas.

 

Self Preps for a Southern Alabama Showdown

Austin Wayne Self will return to Mobile for the second race of the ARCA season on March 14, 2015. Last year, Self finished 12th at the half-mile oval race track in Mobile, AL. Self plans to improve upon his race results from last season. From lap one of last year’s race, Self was running with a broken right shock. Self said, “We got into a lot of people at Mobile just trying to make it around the track. We got into Grant, Thomas Praytor, and who knows who else. I was definitely an obstacle for cars to get around just because I couldn’t keep the car from running up the track.” This time Self plans to be a force to be reckoned with but for very different reasons.

Mobile TestThe team’s latest trip to Mobile International Speedway had Self grinning from ear to ear. “We had some trouble at the first testing round of Mobile. We only had the car on track for a few hours before we had some mechanical issues. That put a damper on our weekend and we immediately made plans to return for the second round, and man am I glad we did,” Self explained. The #98 team tested with the new ARCA bodies and Ilmor motors and the car was bad fast!

“Even with the car trouble that I had at Mobile last year, I finished 12th. With all of my short track experience and a car like the one we’re rolling back into MIS with, I know we’re going to be up front giving the Alabama boys a run for their money at their home track.” – AWS

Speaking of short track experience, the ARCA Mobile 200 will mark the debut of a new Championship opportunity within the ARCA series, The Short Track Challenge. The Short Track Challenge will include 11 of the ARCA Racing series’ short track races (tracks with a distance of one mile or less). This Championship will create a whole new dynamic in the series. Many drivers will be competing for the dual championship, fighting to take home two trophies from the ARCA banquet at the end of the year and Austin Wayne Self is one of those drivers.

With his pre-ARCA career experience being primarily on short tracks, this challenge might as well have been made for the young driver. Self will stay on top of his short track game throughout the season with a 12-pack of Late Model races in his 2015 season schedule. There is no replacement for seat time and Self plans to have plenty of it. Self and the #98 AM Technical Solutions Ford team will take advantage of this double dipper opportunity to gain points towards the ARCA Championship and Short Track Challenge.

Mobile practiceAnother first to keep an eye on in Mobile: this will be the first short track race that the team uses the new ARCA car body for, so getting a handle on how the aerodynamics of the car will come into effect was crucial. Self’s Crew Chief, Matt Weber had this to say about their test at Mobile:

“Testing at Mobile went well, we threw a lot of changes at Austin to get his feedback about how the car responded and we feel we have created a very consistent car for when we come back for the race.“

“I’m really excited about the car we’re bringing to the race. I know the Alabama guys always feel confident here but I think we’re going to bring it to them this time. Someone’s got to keep Grant from repeating his win streak.” – AWS

Prior to race day on March 14th, Self will participate in several events during the ARCA Mobile 200 week in Mobile, Al. This list of events will include the autograph session in the USS Alabama Aircraft Pavillion on Thursday, March 12th. Haulers and cars will be on display along with a pit crew exhibit from the hours of 4:00 – 6:00pm. The Autograph session will take place from 5:00 – 6:00pm. Fans are encouraged to come by to meet the drivers and their team members. Tours of the USS Alabama battleship and submarine will also take place during this special event!

Practice will be held on Friday, March 13th from 2:30 – 3:15pm and from 4:15 – 5:00pm. Qualifying will begin at 7:00pm. This race will not be televised so fans are encouraged to follow the action on the ARCA website homepage where they will have access to live timing and scoring presented by Pirate Energy.

pirateSelf will be welcoming some new fans during the race weekend as well. “I’m really excited about our sponsor, Pirate Energy hosting some guests at this race too. We always love when we can introduce people to a new sport. It’s always fun to show them around the garage area, tell them about the car and how we prep for a race and then hopefully put on an awesome show later in the day or night with a great race.” – AWS

“Pirate Energy Shots are thrilled and honored to be a part of the AWS team for the Mobile Race!  Along with our Pirate Energy sales team will be our guests – members of the Southeast Asian American Store Owners Association, including President Bharat Patel.  We wish good luck to Austin and his entire race team!” – Jeff Carpenter, COO/SVP Blue Matrix Labs

Stay tuned this week for more updates from the AWS team including info about upcoming radio interviews and special events.

 

 

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.

ARCA Racing Series Releases 2015 Race Schedule

The ARCA Racing Series released its 2015 race schedule in late November. While the full race schedule has been posted, the Televised races have yet to be announced so stay tuned for more information about which races will be broadcast on National Television!

View the 2015 ARCA Schedule Here (Printable Version)

Austin Wayne Self will return to ARCA for another full season of racing. Self announced early in the off-season that he would returnAustin Wayne Self Rookie of the Year to ARCA but would not be returning with his team from 2014, Cunningham Motorsports. Many have inquired as to which team Self plans to makes his second ARCA Racing Season appearance with but the question still remains.

Self and his media team plan to make the announcement via press conference at the 2014 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) event in Indianapolis, Indiana on Friday, December 12th – Prior to the 2014 ARCA Awards Banquet on Saturday, December 13th. Self is also preparing to officially receive the SCOTT Rookie of the Year Award at the ARCA Awards Banquet. He finished first in the SCOTT Rookie of the Year Award points running and also won more SCOTT Rookie of the Race Challenges than any other rookie driver during the season. The award is not officially awarded by ARCA until the banquet to ensure that the candidate abides by the ARCA code of conduct during the off-season prior to the banquet.

Stay tuned to Self’s website and Facebook and Twitter pages for more announcements and behind the scenes pictures and videos from PRI and the Awards Banquet this weekend!

View the 2015 ARCA Schedule Here (Printable Version)

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That’s a Wrap! AWS and the 22 Team Finish Out the 2014 Season with a Bang

Austin Wayne Self and the 22 team ended the 2014 ARCA Racing season in a heart stopping fashion. Self’s side-by-side racing around the one and a half mile track had fans on the edge of their seats as he drove hard for the first position during a restart.

“The car stuck so good in turns one and two. Turns three and four had been the better turns for us all night long so I knew we had it. If we could get by the 23 on that first lap after the restart with only 27 laps to go we would take the checkered. We had been fast all night, made up some spots during pit stops, everything was lining up.” – AWS

AWSSelf and the 22 team started the race in the 7th position. Due to poor weather the time set aside for qualifying was used as practice time and owners points determined the starting line up. With a great starting position and successful history at the Kansas Speedway, the team was confident. Self took advantage of the restarts caused by a few blown tires and cars making contact with the wall by gaining several positions. After pit stops and a few restarts Self found himself restarting in the second position with only 27 laps to go. The field had completed several laps under caution while clean up crews cleaned oil from the track. Self took this time to communicate with his crew chief and spotter to come up with a strategy for the restart.

With a strategy set, Self was as ready as ever for the restart. Self stayed side by side with the 23 car on the inside of turns one and two, confident that he would stick through three and four and take over the lead on the front stretch. Kansas Speedway had other plans for Self as he lost grip into turn four. The car got loose for only a second but that was all it took. The air took Self and turned him as he tried to save the car. It looked as though he may be able to do just that until drivers following close behind took a low line and made contact with Self, sending him back up the track and into the wall. The final hit was the worst as the driver of the 06 failed to reduce his speed and flew by other cars in the field, straight into the 22 of Self. To see footage of the crash you can visit this link.

Self walked away from the wreckage healthy. While he did take a trip to the care center (required for all drivers after a wreck in which they are not able to drive the car off the track) he was cleared and allowed to spend the remainder of the race with his team in the ARCA Garage. Even without a finish at Kansas, Self remains the leader in the Rookie of the Year Point Standings. While the Rookie of the Year title will not be officially awarded until the ARCA banquet takes place in December, Self and his team celebrated the great accomplishment of leading the points for this award. It was a major goal that they had set forth at the beginning of the 2014 season.

Kansas AutographsWith the ARCA Racing season finale at Kansas Speedway completed, Austin Wayne Self secured a 6th place overall season standing with 5 top 5’s and 13 top 10’s. AWS had an average finish of 10th overall. Most impressively Austin Wayne Self secured points at the conclusion of Kansas allowing him to lead the Rookie of the Year standings.

Self said, “It’s been a really good year, I learned a lot and we met our goal. We said Rookie of the Year for our first year, and a championship in 2015. I learned how to race at the speedways and use the air to my advantage. I studied the air and studied the racing, and tried different things and that’s what this season was about. Just because this season is wrapped up, doesn’t mean I’ll be relaxing. We have some big news coming in the next few weeks and I’ll be racing throughout the off season. This is the time to raise our game and prepare for 2015. I am just excited to tell everyone about our 2015 plans.”

“I really want to thank our sponsor AM TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS for coming out and supporting me at Kansas, and throughout the entire season. Their involvement in my racing has been an incredible blessing and I am thankful for their support. Also thanks to the team at Cunningham Motorsports who has given me the tools to pursue my racing career and develop my skills.  Finally I am thankful for the ARCA racing staff and team for providing a premiere competitive series for me to race in. It’s been a great year and I’m ready to get back at it in 2015.”-AWS

As mentioned before, Self will find himself in the seat a few times during the off season. Visit his website to view his upcoming schedule and for more updates on what’s to come for AWS in 2015.

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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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