Saturday nights Orange Show 150 at Orange Show Speedway was nothing short of action-packed, and Michael Self experienced it to the fullest from start to finish until he had to settle for eighth-place at the checkered flag.

The action started for Self early on in the day, when he and another driver made contact in first practice which sent the No. 9 Sunrise Ford to the garage area for the majority of the session with nose damage. The Sunrise Ford team came together and was able to get the car repaired and back on track with less than 10 minutes remaining in the session, and their hard, prompt work paid off as Self was able to put the No. 9 at the top of the speed charts posting a time of 13.391 seconds around the quarter-mile bullring. Second practice saw Self and the team right back at the top of the chart for the majority of the session, only to be bumped to third place at the very end. Self posted his best qualifying result of the year, when he timed-in second position, giving him a starting spot on the front row for the 150-lap event.

The drop of the green flag initiated classic NASCAR short track racing at its finest. Self battled hard from the start to take advantage of his good track position, leading two of the first 10 laps, and racing hard within the top-three until lap 86, when a veteran move saw him avoid a wreck caused by lapped cars just in front of the leaders, and capitalize to take the lead until lap 108. Unfortunately, a restart with just less than 40 laps remaining saw the characteristics the .25-mile oval is most known for come in to play as aggressive driving ensued and Self became the recipient of some heavy damage. After restarting in the second position, contact from another driver shredded the left-front fender of the No. 9, resulting in a black flag from NASCAR due to a brake duct dragging behind the car. Just as the crew had done in practice though, they initiated quick work and a flawless pit stop to get Self back on track on the lead lap, but debris in the pit area would lead to more issues, as Self suffered a flat right front tire just laps later, putting him and the No. 9 one lap down, and ultimately resulting in an eighth-place finish.

“It’s definitely frustrating to have had a car as fast as we did, but not have the finish to show for it,” said Self. “The team did an outstanding job the whole day. The got the car repaired in practice and gave me something really good to work with, as we were comfortably inside the top-three through practice, qualifying, and the race. The first 100 laps or so were fun. Good, hard, mostly-clean but aggressive short track racing, you just hate when the race is coming to an end and people seem to lose their minds just trying to get one more position. There’s a lot of torn up racecars and unnecessary money being spent after that race. I’m happy we salvaged another top-10, and continued to gain ground in the points, but this team is putting cars on track that don’t deserve finishes outside the top-five.”

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