Michael Self Now the Newest ARCA Menards Series Driver to Win at Five Flags Speedway

Michael Self driver of the No. 25 for Venturini Motorsports holds his ARCA Pensacola 200 trophy in Victory Lane at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Photo – AMS

Michael Self is our next guest on Fan4Racing NASCAR & Race Talk, Monday, March 11, 2019, at 8:40 pm ET. Call 929-477-1790 or tweet @Fan4RacingSite with any questions or comments during our LIVE broadcast.

Multiple cars were strong throughout the ARCA Pensacola 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions in the ARCA Menards Series return to Five Flags Speedway, but a debris caution with around 40 laps to go changed the game as several leaders were caught a lap down. 

After leading 39 laps until about half-way through the race, Self retook the lead from Kaden Honeycutt (No. 38 Kaden Honeycutt Racing Ford) with 29 laps left in the race to score his fourth series win and his first ever series short track victory.

Riding a powerhouse Venturini Motorsports (VMS) Toyota Camry, the No. 25 with Michael Self at the wheel was still in the lead when the checkered flag flew. Self was up against some stiff competition when the caution flag played into his team’s favor.

“It took a lot of patience, a lot of hard work from my crew, and a lot of really smart changes by crew chief Shannon Rursch.  I think we were obviously a really good car all day, the worst we fell back to was fourth.

“We got kind of lucky with that caution timed where it was with about 35 laps to go and knew we had a really good short run car and we were just kind of able to make it work.  We were gonna need the perfect change for that.  Actually, really happy they didn’t go longer than cause it started to get really tight which was the opposite of how we were all night. The checkered fell exactly when it needed to.”

Michael Self, Winner of the ARCA Pensacola 200 at Five Flags Speedway

Self’s margin of victory was 1.506 seconds over second-place finisher Ty Gibbs
(No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) who broke up the Venturini parade.

“This is a big deal for me. A short track in ARCA has eluded me. Even though I don’t think I am a great short track racer, I have had some success in the K&N Series on short tracks. For some reason, it just hasn’t translated over here. Maybe this will kick start it.
“I had a lot of confidence in our car. The Venturini Motorsports team as a whole is really good. Whenever we go to one of these short tracks the rest of the year we should be in good shape. I wouldn’t want to be racing against them right now because I am not sure I would be able to beat them.”

Michael Self on earning his first ever Short Track victory in the ARCA Menards Series

Gibbs who is the grandson of NASCAR Cup Series team owner Joe Gibbs, ran an impressive race in his ARCA Menards Series debut. Gibbs passed Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) for the second position in the last turn of the last lap.

“I am really happy with finishing second in my first race, but I really think we had the car to beat. I let the car roll off the jack a little on the last stop and it cost us a little time on pit road. I think that cost us the race, but we learned a lot and I am ready to get to the next race at Salem.”

Ty Gibbs, with Joe Gibbs Racing Development

Venturini Motorsports teammates Christian Eckes (No. 15) and Chandler Smith (No. 20) finished third and fourth while Corey Heim in the No. 22 and from nearby Marietta, GA rounded out the top-five. 

Eckes now leads the ARCA Menards Series championship standings with 435 points. Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Healthcare/Liberty Village Ford), who finished tenth, sits second at 370, sixth place finisher Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation/Southern States Bank Chevrolet) is third with 340, Self is fourth with 315, and eleventh-place finisher Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EatSleepRace.com Ford) is fifth with 300.

Next up for the ARCA Menards Series is the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 at Salem Speedway on April 14th with a start time of 2 pm ET on MAVTV.