TOLEDO, Ohio – He spent the summer stretch of races being hunted.
Now, second in points heading into the ARCA Menards Series season finale at Kansas Speedway, Michael Self is the hunter.
He’d much rather be out front. But if he has to come from behind, he’s confident he can do it at the 1.5-mile Kansas tri-oval. He should be comfortable there, afterall, he’s the 2017 winner of the race and finished third there last season.
Self led the series standings from May, when he took over the lead after finishing second to teammate Chandler Smith in the season’s sixth race at Toledo Speedway, through the 19th race of the season two weeks ago at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis.
It was no coincidence that Self led the standings for so long. He and his Shannon Rursch-led team have excelled on each of the types of race tracks that make up the 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule. Self collected wins at Five Flags Speedway and Salem Speedway, two paved short tracks, at Michigan Int’l Speedway, a two-mile intermediate superspeedway, and on the dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Unfortunately for Self, there has been some misfortune along the way.
Accidents at Daytona and Nashville were accompanied by mechanical woes at Pocono and the second Salem race. And there were two post-race technical infractions that resulted in points penalties that cost him 75 points early in the season.
But none of that matters now. Just 15 points behind his Venturini Motorsports teammate Christian Eckes, Self heads to Kansas with one goal in mind: beating Eckes head to head.
The scenarios are numerous, but for Self it’s just that one goal.
“We have to be ahead of Christian if we are going to win the championship,” he said. “Nothing that happened prior to this race really matters. It’s all about what happens in this race. We’re going to do what we’ve done all season long and go out and try to win. I like the style of racing on the big tracks. We won earlier in the season at Michigan and had really good cars at Charlotte and Chicago. If we do that, we’ll have done all we can and we’ll see how it shakes out.”