ARCA Menards Series Championship Leader Michael Self Looking for more Short Track Success in Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway

Michael Self transitioned into the ARCA Menards Series with a background in road racing and several seasons of experience in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. When Self made the move into ARCA, he found success at the series’ biggest and fastest racetracks, and he earned a reputation as a superspeedway specialist.

Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) did nothing to dispell that notation. He has said numerous times over the past two seasons that he enjoys all that encompasses racing on the big tracks, from the speed, to working the air, to the engineering that goes into making his cars go as fast as they can.

Self’s repuation as a superspeedway racer belies the fact that he has a strong short track background, and has had success on the bullrings throughout his career as well.

Five of Self’s eight K&N Pro Series West wins were on short tracks, including two in 2017. He also made two short track starts in the ARCA Menards Series that season, earning top-five finishes in both, including a runner-up finish at Lucas Oil Raceway.

That experience and that success will come in handy for Self as he returns to Lucas Oil Raceway on Saturday, October 5 for the second-to-last ARCA Menards Series race of the season, the Herr’s Potato Chips 200. Self will be looking for his fifth win of the season, and his third on a paved short track.

Self started the season with a pair of wins on bullrings, taking the checkered flag at Five Flags Speedway in March and following it with another visit to victory lane at Salem Speedway in April.

With several strong performances on the short tracks, that has put Self in title contention for the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge, a series-within-the-series that takes place on tracks one mile in length and under. Self currently leads the standings, but needs to finish roughly five positions ahead of teammate Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) to take the title.

That’s where Self hopes his previous experience at Lucas Oil Raceway comes into play.

“My first time there we had a really good car in practice,” he said. “We made some changes to anticipate the track going in one direction and it didn’t happen. We ran outside of the top ten most of the night. We made a big adjustment and got the car where we needed to be. We got beat by someone who had fresher tires.

“It’s a tough place, especially from a handling standpoint,” he continued. “It’s finicky setup wise. Last year it seemed nothing went right. The first 35 or 40 laps we drove up into the top five then the the issues started to stack up on top of each other. But it’s great to go back to a short track and have a lot of laps there. I have enough experience there to give me a pretty good baseline and to know what to expect.”

Self and Eckes have been the two dominant forces through the 2019 season, and that’s put them both at the top of the series standings with two races remaining. Just five points separate the two as they fight for the series championship with just the Lucas Oil Raceway event and the season finale at Kansas Speedway remaining.

Despite the fact they’ve battled at the front of the field at each of the previous 18 races, they’ll both have to deal with their Venturini Motorsports teammate Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) for the victory. Smith, 17, has won four times this season in just nine starts.

“He’s got a really bright future ahead of him,” Self said. “He’s really good on the short tracks and I have been able to learn some stuff from him. He elevates the team as a whole.

“When you are out in his position, he’s just out there for wins. It doesn’t change how I race them though. I’ve been in that position myself and it’s all about going out to win and get the best finish you can get. I think maybe you want to keep it in the back of your mind but it doesn’t really change your mentality.”

Although he’s in the midst of the championship fight, the points standings remain to be the last thing he wants to talk about or think about.

“We’re going to do what we’ve done to get to this point,” Self said. “We’re here to win races for Sinclair and for my guys. If we can do that, the points take care of themselves.”

The Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway is set for Saturday, October 5. Practice starts the day’s activities at 2 pm ET, with General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 pm ET. The 200-lap main event, scheduled for live broadcast MAVTV, will go green shortly after 8 pm ET. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. For more information, please visit TrackEnterprises.com.

AMS PR