Two years ago, veteran NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) driver Austin Wayne Self (@AustinWSelf) found himself in a similar position leaving Daytona with a good finish to start the season.
But, one circumstance is majorly different heading to Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway, site of Saturday afternoon’s Atlanta 200, Self will be a competitor in the event. In 2017, Self finished a career-best second at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, but did not attempt Atlanta, wiping out the team’s hopes of a competing for a championship.
However, the mindset is completely different 24 months later where the AM Racing team led by crew chief Eddie Troconis treks to Atlanta on the heels of a solid ninth-place finish to open the season.
With some momentum on their side, the team is eager to impress in the opening races of 2019.
“It felt so good for our team to have such a strong run at Daytona,” said Self. “I feel like we impressed a lot of people. I don’t think many expected us to make it to the final round of qualifying. We kept the speed and performance up through the first two stages of the race and then survived the chaos at the end to get us a top-10 finish.
Saturday afternoon’s double-header will be the second race where Self and Troconis have worked together but the Austin, Texas native says that the chemistry with his new crew chief hasn’t even hit its peak.
“Eddie’s energy, focus, and leadership really contributed to our success at Daytona last weekend,” added Self. “He was eager to listen to what I was saying about our No. 22 GO TEXAN | AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet Silverado and made the adjustments I needed to improve our speed on the track.
“I know that there’s a vast difference between Daytona and Atlanta, but that trust between each other is quickly building and I think it will only continue to get stronger the longer the season goes. I honestly feel like we can win a race or two this year, that’s how pumped I am right now.”
Self, 22, will make his third start at Atlanta’s 1.54-mile track and looks to better his top-15 performance last year. In his track debut in 2016, he finished 16th.
“My record isn’t that bad at Atlanta,” noted Self. “It’s a track where patience is your best friend. Tires go away in a hurry and you have to manage that. The stage breaks help, but you have the chance to get yourself a lap down during the third stage if you don’t manage yourself.
“We have high hopes that we can backup what we did in qualifying at Daytona and put ourselves in a good position for the race. If we can’t put ourselves in a good spot to win, collecting as many points as possible is our top priority.”
Troconis says he’s proud of the commitment by Self and sees Daytona as only the preview of what’s to come for AM Racing.
“I’m proud of our team,” he said. “We came out of the box with a new group of guys but a very dedicated bunch. I’m looking forward to the year. Austin gave us everything he could behind the wheel, and we survived the race as best as we could.
“Austin has proven to be a steady and firm driver on the intermediate tracks in the past and I hope with the improvements we’ve made to the truck, it will allow him to pick up a bunch of spots and earn another top-10 finish to carry us into Las Vegas.”
The Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN program and JB Henderson Construction will support Self in his 65th career start.
GO TEXAN, celebrating its 20th Birthday this year, represents Texas agri-business on state, national and international levels by building recognition with the GO TEXAN mark.
Along with its signature mark in the shape of Texas, GO TEXAN celebrates, promotes and supports the business savvy and plainspoken grit Texas agriculture is known throughout the world.
JB Henderson Construction based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico performs general and mechanical contracting for manufacturing, industrial, commercial, and institutional clients in both the public and private sectors.
AM Technical Solutions, Abbie Gregg Inc., Don’t mess with Texas, CForce Bottling Company, Flying Circle and Kreuz Market will serve as associate partners in the second race of the year.
In 64 NGOTS races, the 2015 ARCA Menards Series Rookie of the Year has one top-five (second at Daytona 2017) and five top-10 finishes. The Texan maintains an average finish of 18.1 during his three years of competition.
For more on Austin Wayne Self, like his Facebook page (Austin Wayne Self) or follow him on Twitter @AustinWSelf.
For more on AM Racing, please like their Facebook page (AM Racing) or follow them on Twitter @AMRacingNASCAR. A new website is forthcoming.
Visit JB Henderson Construction at jbhenderson.com.
For more information on Don’t mess with Texas and how you can become involved in the program, visit dontmesswithtexas.org.
For additional information on CForce premium artesian water, please visit cforce.com.
For more on Flying Circle, please visit flyingcirclegear.com, like them on Facebook (FlyingCircleGear) and follow them on Instagram (@flyingcirclegear) and Twitter (@flyingcircle_). Also connect with Flying Circle on Pinterest and YouTube.
The Ultimate Tailgating 200 (130 laps| 200.2 miles) is the second of 23 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races on the 2019 schedule. Practice begins on Fri., Feb. 22 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. 23 beginning at 10:40 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).
AM Racing PR