Michael Self escapes carnage, wins ARCA season-opener at Daytona
It wasn’t pretty, but Michael Self survived a three-hour marathon to win the ARCA season opener Saturday night.
The race, originally scheduled for 80 laps, was sent into three one-lap overtime shootouts thanks to a pair of multi-car wrecks during the first two.
The race was sent into the first overtime following a fiery multi-car wreck on Lap 80 that left Bret Holmes’ car resting on its driver’s side on the track.
On the final restart, and with only 14 of 39 cars still running, Self powered to a big lead and easily held off Willie Mullins for the victory in the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway.
The win is Self’s second in the ARCA series in 10 career starts. He picked up his first series win in last season’s series finale at Kansas Speedway.
“I survived man, I just survived,” Self, 27, said in Victory Lane. “And made it through a couple wrecks. The guys on this team just guided me, man, and told me every single thing I needed to do.
“I made mistakes, they helped me overcome them, and now we’re here.”
Shelden Creed, who had to pit for a flat tire before the final restart, rallied to finish third. Tom Hessert was fourth and pole-winner Natalie Decker finished fifth despite suffering damage from an early race incident.
Self, driving for Venturini Motorsports, moved into the lead when the top four cars wrecked racing for the lead during the second overtime shootout.
On Friday, Decker became just the fifth woman to win a pole in the ARCA series, joining Patty Moise, Shawna Robinson, Erin Crocker and Milka Duno. Her fifth-place finish is her series-best in her eighth career start.
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