Austin Wayne Self entered the Daytona International Speedway looking to capture just his second career top-10 finish. Self, who started in 22 of the 23 Camping World Truck Series races last season, scored a ninth-place finish at Eldora Speedway in July. The young driver had planned on racing full-time last year but failed to make the race at Martinsville Speedway in race three.
Self, piloting the No. 32 AM Technical Solutions Toyota Tundra, started the Nextra Energy Resources 250 in the 22nd starting spot. He would stay outside of the top 10 right up until the final laps of the race.
“We had a long race kind of that first instant, so we were just trying to stay out of trouble for the first two segments and really just get ourselves in the best position for the third one,” said Self in the media center after the race. “And we did. We started, I think, 13th, 12th or 13th, and got a good run on the outside. Then got stuck in the middle and got an opening down on the bottom, took that, and I think that's what really put us in the position to be the runner-up there.”
The second-place finish marks Self’s best career finish in the series. Despite getting tagged in the accident on the final lap, which sent Matt Crafton airborne in a flip, Self would have a clean race at Daytona.
The Texas native will run only four or five more Camping World Truck Series races in 2017. Justin Fontaine sustained a crash in last weekend’s ARCA Racing Series opener at Daytona that resulted in a mild vertebrae compression fracture.
“We got four or five races scheduled. I'm trying to get the Texas races,” Self continued. “I want to get to Eldora and do the road course, but we felt like unfortunately Justin Fontaine was supposed to drive this race car, wasn't able to, and I looked at it as an opportunity for me to get back in the race car. B&D’s Industries, Superior Essex came on board and we kind of put a little team together. I had Bill Henderson crew chiefing, and so far he's got the best two finishes. We finished ninth at Eldora. This was a little extra bonus for me, and it turned out really cool.”
Self later said in the press conference that Fontaine will be sitting out over the next three months as he recovers.