CONCORD, NC – JUNE 19, 2019: Venturini Motorsports’ Michael Self and his Sinclair Oil backed team lead the way sitting atop of the ARCA Menards Series point standings going into the second half of the season. With 10 races down and 10 to go, the second half push for Self begins Saturday, June 22 with the Day to Day Coffee 150 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
Coming off another strong performance with his runner up finish last week at Madison, Self, 28, looks to extend his series points lead going into this first ever start at the 1.25-mile oval surface located on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri.
“Gateway has definitely been a track that I’ve been looking forward to racing at,” Self says. “I love the bigger tracks, and this one is kind of unique in that it’s an intermediate track by length classification, but a short track in the sense that it’s completely flat and not particularly fast. I’m anxious to make my first laps out there and see if I can figure it out.”
Contending for his first ARCA championship, Self leads the way on the strength of three series wins on the season – taking top honors at Five Flags Speedway, Salem Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. On the strength of three General Tire Pole Awards Self boasts an average starting position of 3.3 over the first 10 races and his seven top-five finishes and 349 laps led lead all title contenders.
“There are a lot of tracks on this second half of the schedule that I’m really excited about, starting with Gateway. Chicagoland is probably my favorite track, I love Iowa, I’m excited to get back to Salem, and I really like Kansas, so it’s nice to look forward to those races in this second half, but there are also a few question marks for me. Elko will be another new track for me, and the dirt races are completely new for me. I have very little dirt experience, so I don’t know what to expect at those places. Regardless, there a lot of fun tracks in this back half of the schedule, so hopefully we can go run well at all these places and enjoy the weekends.”
Coming on strong after early season accidents derailed his efforts at Daytona and Nashville, Self has separated himself from the pack and become a weekly favorite. Already with impressive season stats – take away both DNF’s due to accidents and Self goes from a 7.6 average to a 3.75 average finish in series competition.
“When I think about the first half of this season, there were definitely some negative moments that stand out, but more positive moments. There really hasn’t been a race where we’ve just struggled for speed throughout the weekend. We’ve either shown up and been fast off the gate like at Michigan, or Shannon and the guys have worked hard to figure things out and get us where we need to be, which happened at Madison. I have all the confidence in the world in those guys and look forward to every weekend with them, knowing we’re still learning about each other, but also that there’s a lot of trust and good chemistry established.”
A six-time ARCA Series winner, Self’s upcoming start will represent his 30th of his career. Since making his series debut with VMS in 2014, Self has gone on earn 18 top-five finishes and has started from the pole position four times and led 630 career laps.
Self enters this week’s event owner of three of Venturini Motorsports’ seven team victories on the season. Leading all active ARCA Menards Series competitors VMS has 59 all-time series wins.
Next up for the ARCA Menards Series is the Day to Day Coffee 150 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway coming up on Saturday, June 22. Practice starts at 12:35 pm ET/11:35 am CT, with General Tire Pole Qualifying set for 5:30 pm ET/4:30 pm CT, and the 120-lap/150-mile race will go green at 7:45 pm ET/6:45 pm CT. The race will be televised live on MAVTV.