On Saturday night, Michael Self continued to capitalize on his return to full-time racing by finishing fifth at Spokane County Raceway in the No. 9 Sunrise Ford Fusion powered by Sunrise Ford Racing.

Self started the day showing strong speed by timing in third-place overall in practice, but knew consistency was going to be key at the abrasive half-mile oval. The No. 9 team focused on maintaining balance in in the racecar as the tires wore out, and worked throughout the afternoon to get the car to a point where Self was comfortable during the long runs. In group qualifying Saturday afternoon, Self earned a sixth-place starting position for the 150-lap event.

Weather brought drama to the already cold Washington night, as a heavy downpour two hours before the race soaked the track and flooded the pit area, forcing the track and NASCAR officials to come up with a method to dry the track in sub-50 degree temperatures. Finally, the decision was made to put the K&N cars on track behind the pace car in attempt to work heat in to the wet surface, and after more than 100 pace laps and a three-hour delay, the track was finally ready for racing. Self jumped in to the fifth position on lap one, where he rode until a lap 14 caution when a competitor in front of him was forced to pit, giving Self the fourth position which he would maintain through the halfway break. At lap 80, drivers pit for fuel four new Goodyear tires, and went back to green for the remainder of the race. Self held the fourth position for 60 laps of hard racing with the fifth and sixth place competitors, but was passed with just less than five laps remaining, resulting in his fifth-place finish, and second top-five of the season.

“All-in-all, Saturday wasn’t a bad day, but I definitely want more,”Self said. “We really struggled to get the car balanced through practice. The speed was ok, but I didn’t think the car would be drivable for 150 laps without really wearing out the tires. The guys on the No. 9 Sunrise Ford worked hard and ended up giving me a car I was really happy with over the course of a race run, but the track was so sensitive, it felt like it kept changing every time we went back out which hurt us in qualifying. I’m happy with a top-five, but I want to be racing for wins, and right now the front three cars have figured out something the rest of us haven’t. We just need to keep working and building as a team, and I think we’ll continue to improve. I’m excited to keep going, keep racing, keep getting seat time, and keep learning.”

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