Michael Self takes historic Daytona Road Course victory

For the first time ever in ARCA Menards Series history, the series visited the Daytona International Speedway Road Course this weekend. The event was created due to the Watkins Glen International race being canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

While the road course upped the intensity, a familiar face was in victory lane again. Venturini Motorsports’ Michael Self swept the Daytona races, as he won the season opener back in February. The win wasn’t easy for the Salt Lake City, Utah native as he had to pass and fend off an aggressive Ty Gibbs late in the going. Self maneuvered his No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota past Gibbs with six laps to go coming out of Turn 6. From there, Self opened up a big gap, and won the General Tire 100 by almost seven seconds.

“No, this is so special to me,” Self said excitedly about the win. “Anytime you win at Daytona, it’s really cool and special. Obviously, to do this twice, winning on the big track earlier this year, and to come to this (road course), this is a little extra special for me. Road racing has just a special place in my heart. That’s where I come from. I spent a lot of time when I’m not in racing, coaching a lot of guys in the Trans Am Series with the Mike Cope Racing team.”

“To go out and justify that, and do what we did tonight makes me feel so good. I don’t get to road race all that often. So, this is extremely special for me.”

Before the event would get underway ARCA Menards Series officials brought the drivers down pit road in order for them to change from dry to wet tires. Self’s teammate Chandler Smith, was on the pole via a random draw based on owner points.

Speaking of Venturini Motorsports, Self’s day started out rocky well before the race began. He was never able to log any laps in his No. 25 machine in practice due to a faulty spark plug wire. Despite the issue, Self was still able to start alongside his teammate in the second position.

Once the green flag dropped, it was all Ty Gibbs and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing machine. Self would lead for a brief period of time before Gibbs took the lead in Turns 9 and 10. On that same lap, Chandler Smith lost control of his No. 20 JBL Toyota in Turn 3 and lost several positions. That same turn would cause more incidents in the early laps, with Thad Moffitt in the No. 46, and Nick Igdalsky in the No. 12 spinning around and going off the circuit. But the race would stay green and no cautions flew for these minor incidents.

As the race got closer and closer to the halfway break scheduled for Lap 14, Michael Self closed the gap before the yellow and red flag was displayed. Self was able to grab the lead from Gibbs just one lap before the segment break. When the field came to a stop for adjustments on Lap 14, Self, Gibbs, Sam Mayer, Will Rodgers, Parker Chase, Taylor Gray, Hailie Deegan, Max McLaughlin, Chandler Smith, and Ayrton Ori were the top 10.

One of the more interesting stories coming into tonight’s historic race was Sam Mayer. Mayer’s wrist was injured during a TransAm T2 crash at Road America the week before. resulting in a hairline fracture. He had a backup driver just in case the pain started flaring up throughout the 28 lap race. That backup driver was none other than former NASCAR driver, now turned IMSA driver, Colin Braun. Braun would sub in for Mayer after 15 laps and completed the race for the GMS Racing team. He was able to pilot the No. 21 Chevrolet to a third-place finish.

After the restart came back out with 12 to go, Gibbs took the top spot from Self again in Turns 7 and 8. But, as the race wound down, so did his car and Self caught back up to Gibbs and made the pass. All Gibbs could do was watch as he came home in the second position after being dominant early. There were some hairy moments though for the leaders with three laps to go. Ayrton Ori had a flat left front tire and took the damaged No. 74 machine back to pit road.

However, no yellow flags flew in those remaining laps and Venturini Motorsports captured their fifth win of the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season.

There were four leaders among two lead changes and one caution for two laps.

Official Results following the General Tire 100 at Daytona Road Course

  1. Michael Self, led nine laps
  2. Ty Gibbs, led 19 laps
  3. Sam Mayer-Colin Braun
  4. Taylor Gray
  5. Will Rodgers
  6. Hailie Deegan
  7. Max McLaughlin
  8. Bret Holmes
  9. Chandler Smith
  10. Parker Chase
  11. Thad Moffitt
  12. Drew Dollar, 1 lap down
  13. Will Kimmel, 1 lap down
  14. Nick Igdalsky, 1 lap down
  15. Mike Basham, 2 laps down
  16. Russ Lane, 2 laps down
  17. Ayrton Ori, 2 laps down
  18. Con Nicolopoulos, OUT, Overheating
  19. Brad Smith, OUT, Transmission
  20. Tim Monroe, OUT, Electrical
  21. Bryan Dauzat, OUT, Did Not Start

Up Next: The ARCA Menards Series takes a week off before returning Saturday, Aug. 29 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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