Roller Coaster Weekend Ends with Top-Five for Self at Toledo
Concord, North Carolina (May 21, 2019) – Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Oil Toyota) had a rollercoaster day before ultimately finishing fourth in Sunday’s rain-shortened Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Toledo Speedway.
Self came in to the weekend with wavering thoughts on the event. A crash in the previous race at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville combined with no previous race experience at Toledo Speedway had Self feeling unsure about the .5-mile paved high-speed oval.
“Coming in to the weekend, I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” said Self. “We had two great short track runs at the start of the year at Pensacola and Salem, then struggled a little at Nashville and got caught up in a wreck, then struggled when we came and tested at Toledo earlier in the week. I was having a hard time getting a grasp on the track.”
An hour-and-a-half of practice on Saturday afternoon seemed to turn the tides for Self, as he and the No. 25 Sinclair Oil Toyota sat inside the top-three in lap times for much of the session, and ultimately ending up sixth-quickest at the sessions end. When qualifying rolled around Saturday afternoon, Self took not only the rest of the field, but himself by surprise when he qualified on the pole with a lap time of 15.777 seconds, edging out his Venturini Motorsports teammate Chandler Smith by just .004 seconds.
“I can’t believe I got the pole,” Self said post-qualifying. “This is only my third pole in more than 100 career stock car starts. My qualifying record is pretty terrible, frankly. I definitely didn’t expect to get one here, at a track that I’m not super comfortable with and have limited experience at.”
Self entered Sunday’s race feeling optimistic after his strong run on Saturday, but at the drop of the green things weren’t destined to go as smoothly as Self hoped. An ill-handling racecar had Self fighting to maintain the lead for the first 10 laps, and by lap 15 Self had fallen to the fourth position. As the race carried on, Self continued to fall back and was at risk of being lapped before the caution flew just before the halfway point. Crew chief Shannon Rursch elected to bring Self down pit road and put on four new General Tire’s and make a large adjustment to the car. When the race went back to green, Self was able to methodically work his way back through the field and up to the fourth position when rain forced ARCA officials to conclude the race early on lap 152.
“It was pretty frustrating that our balance was so far off at the start of the race,” said Self. “We were just way, way too loose, and then we had an electrical issue that knocked the fan off our right front tire so we had limited cooling, and all that really made the car a handful to drive. Shannon definitely made the right call putting on four tires when most other guys only put on two, and he made a solid adjustment to the car, but we were just off as a whole on Sunday. I guess fourth is a good finish for how bad we thought we were, and how bad things were looking earlier in the race, but we need to go back and figure out what we can do to start stronger like we did at Pensacola and Salem for the upcoming races.”
The ARCA Menards Series will be back on track this Thursday, May 23rd for the General Tire 150 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live on FS1 starting at 9:00pm ET and ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat at ARCARacing.com.