Saturday, August 4, 2012

Self Feels Like A Winner

 RCR driver earns West victory at Iowa Speedway

NEWTON, Iowa – Corey LaJoie may have been the one holding the big trophy and celebrating in Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway, but in a back corner of the track's darkened garage area Michael Self was downright jubilant.

Self's ninth-place finish in the Pork Be Inspired 150 was, in fact, a win in its own right – as the highest-finishing NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver in the combination race with the K&N Pro Series East on Friday night, Self was credited with his second career victory.

“It feels great. A win's a win,” Self said. “That's exactly what we came out here to do. We came out with a goal this weekend to finish Top-10 overall and win (against) the West cars. I feel like we were strong enough to run right where we ran.

“I'm just thrilled we ran with the East's best guys and outran the best West guys. It may not be an actual win, but believe me – it feels like it. I'll take it any day.”

Self's history at Iowa Speedway hasn't been kind.

In two races at the track prior to this season, he didn't finish either one. Here in May, Self started 35th and finished 17th after a flat tire left him with a torn-up race car.

“Considering today was the first time I've actually qualified on time and didn't take a provisional here, that felt good to begin with. I felt great about that,” Self said. “We should have had this win (in May) when we were here. We were passing for the lead and we got a flat tire and ended up crashing the thing.

“But the last couple races, ever since Brainerd in (one week after the first Iowa race) when we got our first win, it seems like the luck and everything has just kind of clicked. These guys have been giving me unbelievable cars every weekend, and we're showing every single weekend that we're a car to compete with.”

Self began the weekend almost 100 points behind leader Greg Pursley in the K&N Pro Series West standings. With Pursley, Dylan Kwasniewski and David Mayhew all having trouble, Self cut a big chunk out of his deficit.

The championship picture, though, isn't where Self is focused. The Park City, Utah, native and Richard Childress Racing development driver is looking at an even bigger picture.

“Our goal is to lead laps and win races, which is exactly what we did tonight. We understand that we're not a huge threat for the points right now – but if we do this two or three more races, we absolutely could be,” Self said. “Coming into this season, to looking at having two wins so far is absolutely huge for us.

“We're looking to step up next year into a Truck or a Nationwide car for a couple of races with RCR, and this is what we need to show those guys.”

Self also wants to prove to the rest of the series that he's for real. A second win Friday at Iowa may have done just that.

“Right now, it's just performing, consistency and getting all that bad luck out for good,” Self said.

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