Concord, North Carolina (October 2, 2019) – In the midst of the closet ARCA Menards Series Championship battle in over a decade, current series points leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Oil Toyota) holds a slim five-point lead over teammate Christian Eckes going into Saturday’s Herr’s Potato Chip 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway.

With only two races remaining on the season to determine the 2019 ARCA Series Championship the spotlight shines bright on the 28-year old Sinclair Oil backed driver. One of the clear cut favorites entering the season opener, Self has answered the bell thus far leading in the standings for most of the second half of the season behind the strength of four wins – the most by any series competitor.

Reflecting on the gravity of the situation and the dedication he’s put in to get to this point of his career Self shared his emotional sentiments.

“It’s really hard to put in words when I think about my journey to get to the point of racing for a championship,” said the Utah native.  “I had the opportunity back in ‘12 and ‘13 when I was running the NASCAR K&N Series but I wasn’t quite able to completely put it together. From that day on with my last race I just tried and worked so hard to get sponsorship and get the funding needed to come back and race.”

“Fortunately, Sinclair Oil gave me the opportunity starting back in ‘16 and I felt we were able to capitalize on it and build a good program for them throughout ‘17 and ‘18 with the limited races we did.  They had the confidence in me and the overall program to come on this year full-time with Venturini Motorsports to allow me to run for a championship.”

“The journey of it I think is what would make a championship such a big deal for me. I feel like myself and my family, we’ve worked so hard to get to this point. I’ve put a lot of hard work in over the years getting a sponsor. It just makes it so much more meaningful – I’m very proud of what I’ve done. I love having Sinclair onboard. I think the biggest accomplishment is bringing them in and being able to win for them because of how they believed and gave me the opportunity to do what I do.”

So after 18 races, the chase for the 2019 ARCA Menards Series championship comes down to the final two races at Lucas Oil Raceway (October 5) and Kansas Speedway (October 18) between Self and Eckes to determine who will be crowned champion.

“Indianapolis has been a little hit or miss for me over the years,” added Self.  “In 2017 I about had the race won leading with 15 laps to go in the race and got passed late by someone with fresh tires. Last year we had a ton of issues that ended our night early unfortunately so I’ve got a limited basis of knowledge to go off at Lucas Oil. Kansas on the other hand is one of my favorite tracks. I love going there this time of year. I’ve had success there and pulled off a win in 2017, so I always look forward to going back. Lucas Oil might be one of Christian’s best race tracks but Kansas is one of my best tracks.  I’ve got a lot of confidence going into theses final two races.”

 

The tale of the tape seems to be a toss-up as both drivers face their strengths going into the final two races. Eckes who’s trailing by the smallest of margins returns to Indianapolis’ half-mile track as the defending 2018 race winner at Lucas Oil Raceway. Of his six career wins, five have come on short tracks. Competing in his first full season, the 18-year old picked up his first intermediate win earlier this season at Pocono Raceway.

Meanwhile, Michael Self won at Kansas Speedway in 2017 and has seven career victories of which five have come on intermediate tracks. Self, a four-time winner in ’19 went back-to-back early in the season winning at Pensacola and Salem Speedway, both short tracks. In 18 season starts Self has four wins, 13 top-five and 13 top-ten finishes. He’s also scored five General Tire Pole Awards and has led 480 of 2,115 laps on the season.

The final two races to determine this year’s champion starts with Saturday nights Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway.  MAVTV will broadcast the 200-lap main event live starting at 8pm ET.