TALLADEGA, Ala. — Michael Self enters Friday’s ARCA Menards Series General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway on a hot streak.
After being involved in a crash duringthe opening laps of the season opener at Daytona Int’l Speedway in February, Self has rebounded with consecutive victories at Florida’s Five Flags Speedway and Indiana’s Salem Speedway.
The General Tire 200 at the 2.66-mile track provides Self with an opportunity to do a number of things. First, it provides him with an opportunity to move into the series point lead. He trails leader Travis Braden by five points.
Secondly, should Self perform well enough to earn a visit to victory lane at the superspeedway, he would become the first driver since Austin Theriault in 2017 to earn three consecutive ARCA victories.
Self admits that earning his third straight ARCA triumph will be difficult, especially when that opportunity comes at a track like Talladega.
“It’s so hard at Talladega to know. There is just so much that is out of your hands as a driver,” said Self, who has an ARCA superspeedway victory on his resume at Daytona in 2018. “It’s unrealistic to go in saying we’ve got a great a shot at a win this weekend. I mean, do we have a good shot? Sure, because we have great equipment, but it’s Talladega.
“We had a great car at Daytona and we ran 31st because I got wrecked on lap three. The same thing could just as easily happen this weekend.”
In addition to Self’s shot at three straight victories, his Venturini Motorsports squad enters the weekend with an opportunity to continue its dominant start to the year. In addition to Self’s victories at Five Flags and Salem, the Venturini operation won the opener at Daytona with Harrison Burton.
Self will be joined at Talladega by his full-time Venturini teammate Christian Eckes, who is returning to action after an illness sidelined him at Salem, as well as part-time competitor Brandon Lynn.
Can the trio continue Venturini’s winning ways? Self says it’s hard to say, but they’ll give it their best shot.
“They definitely have the resources to do it. All the parts are in place,” Self said. “I think that the three drivers that are going to be there, myself, Christian and Brandon, I think any one of us has the ability to do it, the skills and the knowledge to do it. It’s just going to be the circumstances and who we surround ourselves with on that day and what kind of place we can put ourselves in.”
If Self isn’t able to put his Sinclair-backed No. 25 Toyota in victory lane, he said he’ll be happy to simply escape Talladega unscathed. In some ways, that would be like a victory.
“I think this is one where I’m more like I just want to get past and not have a horrible day,” Self noted. “Salvage a good day if we can’t salvage a great day and get past this one and just move forward. Just avoid the carnage and try and hold where we’re at in the point standings at least. Not lose ground, maybe gain a little more if we can and move onto Nashville next weekend.”