Saturday saw Michael Selfs return to stock car road racing, a form of racing in which he’s been known for, and he lived up to his reputation.

Self re-visited Sonoma Raceway for the first time since 2013 for the Carneros 200 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. His laps in practice on Friday marked the first time Self has been in NASCAR competition on a road course since 2015, when he finished 11th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Road America. His time away clearly didn’t have an impact on his abilities to navigate the right and left turns, as Self topped the speed charts in the weekends lone practice session ahead of a star-studded field including NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Champion Kevin Harvick, recent NMECS race winner Ryan Blaney, and NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion Daniel Suarez.

On Saturday, Self timed in second quickest in qualifying, a mere .012 seconds off the pole position, but giving him a front-row start for the 64-lap race. The race was one of patience, as the drivers weren’t allowed new tires, and fall-off played a major role. Self settled in to his starting position, content to ride and conserve his equipment for the first portion of the race, but on a restart on lap 27, Self pounced on an opportunity to gain the lead and secured the first position through the halfway break and until lap 42, when Harvick would take advantage of Selfs ill-handling No. 9 Sunrise Ford Fusion and assume the lead, going on to win the race. Self battled a loose condition throughout the remainder of the race, and finally settled for a fourth position finish at the checkered flag. Selfs third top-five of the season moved him in to fifth position in points, after missing the season opener.

“Overall, this weekend was a lot of fun, and I’m really proud of the team and all the speed we had” said Self. “Our car was awesome in qualifying trim, but for whatever reason we couldn’t get the balance right on the race runs, and that led to us not being in contention for the win at the end of the race. We just got way too loose after the halfway mark, which makes the car a total handful at a place like Sonoma. The Sunrise Ford Racing team is doing a great job, and we’re learning together every time we’re on track. I’m proud to have moved in to the top-five in points after missing a race, and we’re going to focus ahead and keep trying to rail off top-five finishes and do everything we can to get to victory lane.”