By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The last time Michael Self competed in a race was last October’s NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Kansas Speedway. On Friday, Self climbed behind the wheel for the ARCA Kansas 150 and it didn’t take long for the 25-year-old driver to shake off the rust.
With qualifying cancelled due to weather and the field set by car owner points, Self started 26th in the No. 28 Sinclair Oil Chevrolet for Ranier Racing with MDM. Self had a fast car and was able to drive up through the field, finishing third behind Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric.
“It was exciting. It was eventful. For me tonight was just really a learning experience,” Self said regarding his return to the car. This Sinclair Chevrolet was phenomenal all day long even with the lack of practice. For me it was about kind of brushing off some of the cobwebs in practice and then getting used to racing around other cars again.
“We were able to drive into the top-five really quick. There at the end we got just a little bit too snug in the traffic. We just needed the car to turn a little bit better and I think we definitely would have had something for the win there.”
During his time outside the race car, Self has been working with Justin Haley, the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, as a coach and spotter.
“That’s probably been the biggest thing is that keeps my mind on the racing,” Self said of working with Haley. “It keeps me talking to him and telling him what to do in certain situations. Also, listening to his feedback on the car and how the car handles and just talking him through every single race.
Self, a six-time winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and a member of the 2013-14 NASCAR Next Class, indicated the sponsorship deal with Sinclair was a year in the making.
“Sinclair is a phenomenal company and they are from my hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah. We got in contact with them about a year ago and just started talking to the marketing guys and they are looking to expand.
“For those that don’t remember, Sinclair was a national fuel company back in the 50s and 60s. It was a big, national company that everyone seems to remember but in the 70s they parted ways and kind of got west of the Mississippi. Since the late 2000s they’re making a big push to grow back east of the Mississippi and they’re looking for ways to brand that and for ways to remind people the dinosaur is still around.”
As for if this would be a sign of things to come for Self as far as sponsorship for the future?
“I hope so. I’ve been working on sponsorship for five years and I got one race put together,” Self said with a grin.
“I think racing is a great sport for Sinclair to be in. I think that the race fans are the perfect demographic for them to target. I think there’s some good business-to-business stuff in the ARCA Racing Series and I see a lot of potential for it to grow.”