(TOLEDO, Ohio – July 2, 2013) – Austin Wayne Self not only won the SCOTT Rookie Challenge award for Sunday’s Herr’s Chase the Taste 200 at Winchester Speedway, he almost won the race. Self, 17, was making his second ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start at the tricky, high-banked, half-mile. He finished second in the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports AM Technical Solutions Dodge, his second top 10 finish."We had a really good car,” Self said. “I couldn't have been happier with the results from the race. I am really happy with the outcome of this weekend. Cunningham gave me an awesome car, fast the whole race.”
Self tested at Salem Speedway on Friday with Cunningham Motorsports crew chief Chad Bryant and teammate Tom Hessert. Then, during both practice sessions at Winchester on Saturday, Self posted speeds that put him in the top 10. He started fifth when Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell was canceled and the lineup was set by owner points.
During the race, Self was positioned anywhere from fourth- to eighth-place. By lap 80, he had raced his way to fourth place, where he ran until a multi-car crash in turn two on lap 128 slowed the field. Self got four fresh tires and fuel and restarted fourth. When the green flag flew on lap 146, Self took his Dodge three-wide for a pass and moved into second place. He fought hard to get to the back bumper of race winner Frank Kimmel and was within a couple of car lengths with 10 laps to go, but couldn’t get any closer, settling for second place and congratulating Kimmel in victory lane.
“I was hoping I could take the No. 22 car to the winner’s circle, but I am still super happy with a second place finish. I can’t wait to get back in the car in New Jersey,” he said.
The next ARCA Racing Series event Self’s schedule is the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park July 28.
Self became the seventh different driver to win a SCOTT Rookie Challenge race award on the 2013 season.
First-year ARCA competitors are competing for per-race cash bonus awards and the year-end Scott Rookie Challenge bonus of $10,000. Mason Mingus, driver of the No. 32 WinTron Racing Diamond Equipment Call Before You Dig Toyota, leads the current SCOTT Rookie Challenge point standings.
Last season, Alex Bowman edged Brennan Poole by four points in the rookie chase, winning the season finale at Kansas Speedway to secure the rookie of the year award. Bowman is competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season. Drivers like Benny Parsons, the late Davey Allison, Frank Kimmel and Bobby Gerhart are past ARCA rookies of the year who went on to successful stock car careers.
“We are excited to partner with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, and honored to sponsor the Scott Rookie Challenge for the series,” said Heather Richmond, Kimberly-Clark Customer Marketing Manager for the Hardware, Home Improvement and Paint channel. “Menards carries our Scott Brand products in a variety of departments -- such as paint, automotive and household paper goods. We are excited to launch an array of new products such as Scott 1000 bath tissue and Scott PRO Rags in a box at Menards this year. Working together to reach Scott brand consumers in the ARCA Racing Series is a natural fit.”
The SCOTT Rookie Challenge point standings through 10 races of the 2013 season:
1. Mason Mingus (car No. 32), 254
2. Justin Boston (25), 222
3. Mason Mitchell (99), 212
4. Thomas Praytor (2), 178
5. Kyle Benjamin (15), 108