On Saturday night, Michael Self and Sinclair Oil Corporation returned to ARCA Racing Series competition at Iowa Speedway for the Fans with Benefits 150, and Self undoubtedly left a dino-sized impression.

To say the night was eventful for Self would be a complete understatement.

The one-day show started with a single hour and a half practice session, where Self clocked in at third quickest early on, and ended ninth place. Self and crew-chief Chad Kendrick worked on a variety of handling issues throughout the session, but ultimately ended with the car feeling comfortable for Self.

“We started practice off really, really loose,” said Self. “Chad did a great job focusing on one part of the car at a time, and making adjustments that really helped stabilize and balance the car. We felt like we were pretty solid on our longer race-runs at the end of practice, but unfortunately messed a few things up on our mock qualifying run so I didn’t really know what to expect there.”

Some of the nights excitement began in qualifying Saturday afternoon, when Self had an extremely loose-handling car and qualified tenth position for the 150-lap race. Though not what they wanted, Self and his Mason Mitchell Motorsports team stayed optimistic that changing temperature and track conditions as the race drew in to the night would play in their favor.

At the drop of the green flag, Self showed no hesitation to march forward as he had assumed the fifth position just four laps in to the race. Unfortunately, several laps later the No. 28 began experiencing engine issues as the motor would lose power any time it hit the rev limiter. This caused Self to fall back to the seventh position, but he quickly adapted to the problem and began lifting off the throttle early to avoid running the RPM too high. Self regained track position but got caught in a bad spot making the pass back for fifth, and ended up spinning and making contact with the outside wall in turn 4 on lap 39. Self brought the car to pit road and the crew determined the damage to be merely cosmetic. After applying lots of tape and bear-bond to the rear bumper and decklid, and new left side General Tires, the No. 28 Sinclair Oil Chevy rejoined the race one lap down, and Self set out on a mission to get back in contention. At the wave of the green flag, Self made an epic move gaining more than ten spots in one lap, and driving his way up to the sixth-place car on track before the yellow flew again, putting Self in the lucky-dog position to get back on the lead lap. When the race went back to green, Self restarted at the tail end of the field, but within two laps worked his way up to the 13th position as the caution came out once again. On the ensuing restart, Self continued his surge back in to the top-ten, and up to the sixth position before debris brought out another caution flag, with just less than 100 laps to go. Self pitted along with the majority of the leaders for four fresh tires, and slotted in to the ninth position for the restart. When the green flew, the field scrambled with intense racing all over as some cars had stayed out on older tires in attempt to gain track position. Self continued with his ways of passing multiple cars per lap, and powered his way to the lead with less than 70 laps to go. Self led 33 laps before the Sinclair Oil Chevys handling started to fade, and the car started getting tighter and tighter. After falling to second position, Self radioed that there was a problem with the right front. After a few charismatic laps, Self and the team determined the sway bar had broken, but they would stay on track and try and finish the race. Self dropped to third place with 20 laps to go, but had a sizeable gap ahead of the fourth place car, until a caution flew with 15 laps to go, bringing the field back together. The No. 28 team pitted with the leaders for four fresh tires, and maintained the third position for the restart with nine laps to go. With a broken sway bar, Self knew he would have his hands full fighting off the cars from behind, and managed to lose only one position bringing Dino home in fourth place at the drop of the checkered flag.

“For me personally, the race was way too eventful,” Self joked after the finish. “I hate that I made mistakes that tore up the car, and honestly probably took the win away. We’ve had some crazy runs in the Sinclair Oil Chevy, and I don’t think one let anyone down. Mason Mitchell Motorsports gave me a car capable of winning, so I hate that I wasn’t able to bring it home for them and Sinclair. We’ve been so close, I just need to be smarter, and run a cleaner race to be there at the end. I can’t thank the team and Sinclair enough for their support, and especially their motivation early on in the night. That kept me going after that early wreck, and powered us to the front. I’ll learn from this one, and try to improve next time out.”