Austin Wayne Self hopeful for big performance in Lone Star State
When it comes to Texas Motor Speedway, there isn’t a bigger race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule for veteran Austin Wayne Self (@AustinWSelf).
The driver of the No. 22 Go Texan | AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet Silverado is a native of Austin, Texas so the opportunity to race at home isn’t just a right, it’s a privilege.
Motivated after a two-week break from NCWTS competition, Self and his Niece Motorsports team trek to the fast 1.5-mile speedway looking for their first top-10 of 2018 in Friday night’s Rattlesnake 400.
Self returns to Texas eyeing redemption, after a top-10 finish was thwarted just a few laps from the finish a year ago. A cautiously-aggressive approach to the race paid off for the 22-year-old driver, finding himself shining under the lights in front of a hometown crowd.
While the night ended in the infield grass, crashed, Self is optimistic he can return to Texas with his Niece Motorsports team and simulate a similar performance in the eighth Truck Series race of the season.
“I always enjoy coming back to Texas,” said Self. “It’s my hometown track, so there’s always pressure to perform. It’s pressure that I don’t mind though. There’s a lot of people who have sacrificed a lot to give me a chance to race and competing at Texas is one of those opportunities to show them how grateful I am.”
With an assortment of Texas-based sponsors adorning his No. 22 Chevrolet Silverado, Self knows that running near the front, under the lights, in particular offers that shining opportunity to showcase them in a bigger platform in front of proud Texans.
“It’s amazing to see all the support at the track,” added Self. “Whether it’s in the grandstands, in the garage, in the infield or even on pit road, Texas always seems to go by pretty fast. We have a lot of guests. From family to friends, sponsors and more – it’s a race that brings our Niece Motorsports team closer together and that’s what NASCAR racing is all about.”
While the series’ most recent race at Charlotte Motor Speedway last month didn’t turn out as planned, Self says the confidence in his race truck, with the guidance and support of crew chief Cody Efaw, has never been stronger.
“Charlotte was a tough weekend for us,” recalled Self. “We had a tire failure in the first practice and we destroyed the truck. The Niece Motorsports team worked hard to get the backup truck out and we were making headway through the field before getting caught up in a mess near the finish.
“While the finish was tough, I was super encouraged by the performance. Texas is another mile-and-a-half, and I know that our team is capable of backing up what we started at Charlotte.”
For the first time this season, the teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garage will endure extreme heat. With temperatures expected to reach 100 degrees on race day, Self says he’s ready to endure the heat.
“It’s going to be hot all week in Texas,” Self added. “It’s going to be hot during practice on Thursday and it looks to be even hotter on Friday during qualifying and the race. I can’t remember the last time it’s been this hot at the race track.
“It’s always warm at Texas and at certain places on the schedule, but this week it’s going to be hot. It’s going to make the track real slick and I think you can expect the heat to take a little bit of a toll on us drivers. We just must stay hydrated and stay cool when we can.
“It’s a night race at Texas. We’ll start the race during the day – but end under the lights. That’s going to be good because the temperature should go down. Although, I don’t think it will by much. We’re just going to have to let it play out and see what happens. We’re going to give it our all, I promise you that.”
Like last year, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Go Texan program and AM Technical Solutions will also support Self in his 48th career start.
GO TEXAN 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.
Don’t mess with Texas, CForce Bottling Company, Flying Circle and Kreuz Markets will serve as associate partners in the eighth race of the year.
In 47 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 18.6 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.