KANSAS City, Kan. — Michael Self has been knocking on the door of his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards win, and Friday night at Kansas Speedway he finally broke the door right off its hinges.
Self used a power restart to take the top spot out of a five-wide scramble, after leader Sheldon Creed spun his tires and dropped like a stone, then held off Ty Majeski over the final nine laps to finally break into ARCA victory lane.
Adding to two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series wins in the last three weeks, Self now has trophies in each of his last three appearances in a race car.
But Friday night’s win might well be the most memorable, finally erasing the sting of many near-misses throughout the year.
“That’s probably the hardest ARCA race I’ve ever run, right there,” Self said. “We fought all day and we just couldn’t get the car balanced. We’d be loose, then we’d be tight, then we’d be loose again. The race started off wicked, wicked loose for us. We fell way back. But Mardy and these (No.) 28 Sinclair guys just kept making changes and kept believing in me. They kept fighting strong because that’s what they do.”
“On that last restart, I saw a little bit of clean air and I wasn’t about to give that up. I knew it was going to get hairy and I got bounced around in the middle there … I just kept my foot in it and kept the pedal rooted to the floor. I had to trust that the car was going to roll through there, and thankfully, it did. When I came out clear, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever yelled out loud to myself in my helmet about how fast I needed to go and how bad I wanted to win.”
The final restart was set up after Ed Pompa spun in turn three and caught a heavy piece of the outside wall, drawing the caution with 15 laps left and prompting everyone but Creed and Shane Lee to hit pit road for fresh tires.
That decision spelled disaster for Creed, whose hot tires spun on the restart and sent him sailing backwards, while Self forced his way up the middle as the fourth car in a five-wide melee for the lead heading for turn one.
Once the seas parted, Majeski was cleanly in second and tried to reel Self in, but was unable to score his first series win despite hounding Self’s No. 28 Sinclair Oil Chevrolet in the closing laps.
“Even once I got into clean air, though, the 99 (Majeski) put on a lot of pressure there,” Self explained. “In those last laps, it was all about hitting my marks. My spotter Derek Kneeland helped me a massive amount there at the end. … He guided me at the end, and now it’s just an awesome moment.”
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