Michael Self Wins Pensacola 200 Delivering Venturini Motorsports its Second Consecutive ARCA Victory
Michael Self Wins Pensacola 200 Delivering Venturini Motorsports its Second Consecutive ARCA Victory; Driver trio of Self, Eckes and Smith claim three of top four finishing spots at Five Flags Speedway.
Pensacola, Florida (March 10, 2019) – Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Oil Toyota) held off a late race charge from teammates Christian Eckes and Chandler Smith to pick up his fourth career ARCA Menards Series victory in Saturday night’s Pensacola 200 at Five Flags Speedway.
Self’s victory marks the team’s second victory of the season and its 54th all-time in ARCA competition. VMS’ Harrison Burton drove to victory lane last month in the series’ season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Self, 28, started Saturday night’s race from the second spot after being nipped by Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) for the General Tire Pole Award in qualifying by just two one-thousandths of a second. Self settled in to the top-three in the early stages of the race, focusing on tire conservation on the ultra-abrasive .5-mile racing surface. Self took his first lead of the race following the first caution on lap 82, but fell back to the fourth position at the 3/4 mark of the race. “Our car was really good the whole day,” said Self, “but we knew we had to focus on tire management throughout the race. The first 80 laps we did just that and I honestly felt really good about where we were at, but then our car got really loose after putting on two tires at the first caution and we fall back a bit.” The second of only two cautions flew on lap 158, which is when Self and the No. 25 Sinclair Oil team made their final pit stop putting four fresh General Tires on the car. Self re-assumed the lead on lap 172, and held on until the checkered flag fell. The Utah native led 68-laps before going on to earn his first career ARCA short track race.
“This is a big deal for me,” Self said. “A short track win in ARCA has eluded me. Even though I don’t think I am a great short track racer, I have had some success in the K&N Series on short tracks. For some reason is just hasn’t translated over here. Maybe this will kick start it.
“I had a lot of confidence in our car. The Venturini Motorsports team as a whole is really good. Whenever we go to one of these short tracks the rest of the year we should be in good shape. I wouldn’t want to be racing against them right now because I am not sure I would be able to beat them. This is a great rebound after what happened at Daytona.
The next race for the ARCA Menards Series is the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 at Salem Speedway on April 14. The race will be televised live on MAVTV starting at 2 pm Eastern.