For the first time since 2004, the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards made it’s return to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday night for the General Tire 150. After a successful test several weeks prior, Michael Self was ambitious to get behind the wheel of the No. 15 Sinclair Oil Toyota for the first 1.5-mile speedway race of the year.

In the lone official two-hour practice session on Thursday, Self and his Venturini Motorsports crew worked tirelessly to perfect the car, as the team completed more than 45 laps and finished the session second quickest on the speed charts.

“I was really pleased with what we had after practice,” said Self. “Our car was very responsive to the changes we made, and sometimes that’s hard to come by on these intermediate tracks. I feel like every time we adjusted something we got the result we were looking for, and ultimately our car had a really good balance and was really consistent and fun to drive.”

Unfortunately, when it came time to qualify, Self may have been a bit too ambitious when he made contact with the wall on the exit of turn four on his second lap, after posting the fifth-quickest time on his first lap.

“I just got greedy. I wanted that sixth pole in a row for VMS, and I knew I had a car that was capable of doing it. My first lap wasn’t very good, the car was really loose, but I thought it may tighten up on the second and it didn’t. I got really loose off four and overcorrected a bit and ran out of room. It feels awful. I’ve never been more disappointed in myself. My guys gave me a Sinclair Oil Toyota that certainly could’ve competed for another win, at a race that we’ve all had circled on our calendars, and I blew it.”

After the team decided the damage was too extensive to repair the primary car in time for the race, the team rolled out a backup car, but with such little time to prepare they were never able to get the car in shape to contend at the front of the field. With less than 10 laps remaining in the 100-lap race, Self suffered a broken right-rear shock mount and was forced to retire early ending his streak of three-consecutive top-five finishes to start the 2018 season.