Michael Self, Sinclair Oil to chase ARCA championship with Venturini Motorsports
There was a point during the 2018 ARCA Racing Series season where Michael Self could have contended for the championship despite missing two of the first five races.
In fact, dating back to the 2017 season, Self had won four out of five ARCA or K&N Pro Series West starts and looked like the best driver at that level. But his deal with Venturini Motorsports called for just a part-time effort and he ended up with two wins and six top-5s in his 10 starts.
Three of those starts were crashes -- not all of his making.
In other words, given a full-season, Self is a bonafide championship favorite, something his longtime sponsor Sinclair Oil intends to put to the test in 2019 as they reached an agreement with Venturini to run the full campaign.
Self will drive the No. 25, starting with the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona, a race he captured last season.
"For me, having the opportunity to compete for a championship is incredible in its own, but to do so with Sinclair as the driving force behind it makes it one of the most rewarding points, and biggest accomplishments of my life," Self told Autoweek on Friday night. "I’ve been fortunate to run really well with them on the car.
"2018 had a lot of highs, and some great runs, but also some runs that weren’t acceptable on my part, and I know those things need to change to compete for this championship."
Self has taken an interesting path to a full-season.
He has campaigned partial season efforts in ARCA and K&N over the past few years, supplementing his driving duties as a west coast driving school instructor to make ends meet and remain behind the wheel of a race car.
That diligence is a point of pride to Jack Barger, vice president of Marketing and Supply for Sinclair Oil.
"He’s our home-state guy," Barger said, "We’ve all loved seeing success for a fellow Utahan and look forward to lots of wins in 2019."
It could very well result in a championship, too.