Concord, NC (February 12, 2018) – It’s the most highly anticipated event of the year playing out on racing’s biggest stage. On Saturday, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards kicked off the new season with the 55th running of the series’ Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway.
Coming off a sub-par season, Venturini Motorsports dedicated the offseason to regaining their form. After an organizational reboot, the long-time ARCA Series team went to work rebuilding from the ground up in preparation for the season opener.
Rising to the occasion the team’s off-season commitment was rewarded and on full display Saturday evening when Michael Self drove his No. 15 Venturini Motorsports’ prepared Sinclair Oil Toyota Camry to Daytona’s Gatorade Victory Lane giving the 27-year old driver his second career series victory and first at the World Center of Racing.
Self’s victory handed Venturini Motorsports it’s 45th overall ARCA win and second at Daytona since 2012.
Self’s teammates Tom Hessert (No. 55 U.S. Turf Equipment Toyota), Natalie Decker (No. 25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota) and Leilani Munter (No.20 VeganStrong.com Toyota) finished fourth, fifth and eighth respectively, giving Venturini Motorsports four finishes inside the top-10.
Decker, who made headlines of her own, started from the pole position and notched a new career best with her top-5 finish. Decker became the third female driver in history to win a pole award for the ARCA race at Daytona.
Leilani, making her 12th career series start since 2010, set new personal bests qualifying fifth and finishing eighth earning her first ever top-10 finish.
Self, a native of Park City, Utah, survived two late-race multi-car crashes to get in position for the biggest win of his career.
“Survived man…just survived,” said Self in victory lane.
“I got really lucky. I made it through all the wrecks. This thing is rough…it’s beat up. I made some mistakes, but we were able to overcome them. I had a lot of help on the radio…that’s why we’re here. This is especially great for Sinclair. It’s insane how rewarding this feels. That company took a chance on me. They’re from my home state, and that’s really special.”
With the leaders bunched up the entire way, even Self had no idea how he managed to drive away from the pack in the end.
“I have no idea how we got that big lead…I really don’t. The car just took off. I was worried going down the backstretch…all those cars behind me with all that momentum. Those guys just seemed to stall each other out behind me.”
The next event for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the Music City 200 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on Saturday night, April 7.
ABOUT VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS:
Over the last 35-years Venturini Motorsports (VMS) has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in professional motorsports. Known for long-time dominance in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, Venturini Motorsports is held in high regard as one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the county. Since 2007, VMS has specialized in the career development of some of today’s top racing talent including current NASCAR “Stars” – Joey Logano, Erik Jones, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Darryl ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez, Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Ben Rhoads, Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft, Brennan Poole, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Haley and Todd Gilliland. Integrity, dedication and continuous innovation paired with years of on-track success has helped define Venturini Motorsports as one of the longest tenured teams in all of modern day racing. In 2012, the Venturini racing family was recognized for their collective achievements and inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame – now finding themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Chip Ganassi, Andy Granatelli, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano.