With the second race of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season set in the heart of Georgia this weekend at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway, Austin Wayne Self and his Niece Motorsports team seek a top-10 finish in Saturday afternoon’s Active Pest Control 200 benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Self, a native of Austin, Texas will return to the 1.5-mile speedway for the first time since his rookie season in 2016 and is optimistic that his No. 22 Don’t mess with Texas Chevrolet team can duplicate or better his 16th place performance nearly 24 months ago.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Atlanta,” said Self. “It’s one of the most unique race tracks on the circuit, especially with its aging surface. We made great strides during the race a couple years ago and I think after a few laps on Friday, we can get our Niece Motorsports team in that same position.”
The 22-year-old Self also sees Atlanta as an opportunity to propel his team forward after a strong performance was derailed last weekend at Daytona. Throughout last Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona, Self and the Joey Cohen led team remained in the hunt for a top-10 finish – but when a late-race accident started, Self’s No. 22 Chevrolet was left a victim of circumstances and ultimately a 20th place finish.
Still, Self knows that his Niece Motorsports team flexed their muscle and is confident in the performance they delivered.
“Daytona was really good for us, even with the finish,” added Self. “Daytona allowed the chance for me and Joey (Cohen, crew chief) to really work on our lingo. I was very content with our qualifying effort and I think we gave everyone a preview of our capabilities.”
With Atlanta serving as the middle of a three-week consecutive stretch for the Truck Series, Self knows that a good finish on Saturday will help propel them to Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, one of his favorite tracks on the tour, a week later.
“Atlanta is one of those places where handling and tire management is key,” noted Self. “Speed is important – but handling will be the ultimate decider for putting yourself in a good position for a solid finish.
“I think the pace is going to slow down considerably from the start of the weekend until the checkered flag. I think the stages will be important. If you’re not in a good position for the first stage – you can work at the end of that stage to get the truck better, so you can be better for Stage 2 and ultimately the final stage.
“I feel like we had a missed opportunity at Daytona with knocking out some stage points. Hopefully, we’re in the right place to pick up a few on Saturday.”
Like last year, the Don’t mess with Texas campaign and AM Technical Solutions will support Self in his 42nd career start.
The Don’t mess with Texas campaign is part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) litter prevention program, which includes Don’t mess with Texas, Adopt-a-Highway, and a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful.
For more than 30 years, Don’t mess with Texas has made tremendous progress educating Texans about the impact of littering on the state’s economy, environment and physical landscape.
In 41 NCWTS races, the 2015 ARCA Racing Series rookie of the year has one top-five (second at Daytona 2017) and three top-10 finishes. The Texan maintains an average finish of 18.9 during his three years of competition.
For more on Niece Motorsports, please visit niecemotorsports.com.
For more on Austin Wayne Self, like his Facebook page (Austin Wayne Self) or follow him on Twitter @AustinWSelf.
The Active Pest Control 200 benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (130 laps / 200.2 miles) is the second of 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on the 2018 schedule. Practice begins on Fri., Feb. 23 from 2:00 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. A final practice session is set for 4:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Sat., Feb. 24 beginning at 10:35 a.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 4:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90).
Niece Motorsports PR