CONCORD, NC – OCTOBER 16, 2019: Eight months in the making and the ARCA Menards Series championship title fight between Michael Self (No.25 Sinclair Oil Toyota) and Christian Eckes (No.15) comes down to the final race of the season Friday night at Kansas Speedway.
Self, a four time winner on tour in 2019, held the top spot in the standings throughout the summer schedule until recently relinquishing the position two weeks ago to teammate Christian Eckes at Lucas Oil Raceway.
“On one hand it was definitely disappointing to lose the points lead after LOR, especially having led since the early part of the season, but on the other, we’re now headed to Kansas with nothing to lose on our end.” Self says.
“Kansas is one of my favorite tracks, and knowing that we’re going in without having to be conservative or playing it safe at all kind of eases my mind. We can take risks and gamble this weekend and not have to worry about the outcome, and if that’s what it comes down to then we’ll see if we can make it pan out.”
With the shift at the top of the board Self now finds himself entering the final race trailing Eckes by a mere 15-points (equivalent to three positions on the track). Down but not out, Self is set to slide back into the seat of his Sinclair Oil Toyota and tug on his belts one last time in search overtaking Eckes for the Championship title.
If there’s an advantage heading into the head-to-head battle it swings back to Self, who’s been masterful on the larger tracks throughout his career. A former winner at Kansas (2017), the 28-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah has earned four of his seven career victories on tracks larger than 1.5-mile in length.
“I think it’s fairly widely known that I’m much more partial to the intermediate tracks than the short tracks,” says Self. “I always look forward to these races no matter what’s on the line. Frankly, I wasn’t all that excited about the last part of the season schedule because there were a couple tracks that were unknowns for me and other tracks that I don’t really like, but Kansas has been circled on my calendar all year. I’ve always really enjoyed racing there, especially under the lights at this time of year. Sinclair has always had a huge support section at this race as it’s a pretty strong market for them, so it always makes it fun.”
Seeking his first ARCA national championship Self enters Kansas with one goal – winning the race outright and securing the title. In 19-season starts leading up to the finale Self is determined to add his fifth victory and improve on his 13 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. Throughout the season he’s scored five General Tire Pole Awards and has led 480 of 2,282 laps on the season.
The ARCA Kansas 150 at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway will close the 2019 ARCA Menards Season on Friday, October 18. The 100-lap/150-mile feature event will go green at 8:30pm ET and will be shown live on FOX SPORTS 2 with an immediate replay on FOX SPORTS 1.