Although he dominated the second half of the ARCA Menards Series Allen Crowe 100 presented by Lucas Oil, Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) held off his Venturini Motorsports teammate Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio/Illinois Truck & Equipment Toyota) on a two-lap dash to the checkered to earn his fourth series victory of the season.
Self, the current series championship leader, took the lead from another Venturini Motorsports teammate and General Tire Pole Award winner Logan Seavey (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) shortly after halfway. From there, Self build a nearly four-second advantage over the field until an incident in turn four involving Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) and Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) with less than ten laps to go. The race would get restarted at the scheduled conclusion, lap 100, for a green-white-checkered dash to the checkered.
Self got the break on the restart and battled side-by-side with upstart rookie Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford), but the two made contact in turns three and four. Self dashed to the lead while Heim dropped through the field allowing Eckes to move into second.
“I did not want to see that last yellow,” Self said. “I was really nervous about it. I knew we had to get a great restart. It was pretty wild going off into turns one and two.”
For his part, Heim was disappointed but he knew what to expect going into the final couple of laps.
“We just got pushed up into the loose dirt in turns three and four,” Heim said. “If I was in that position that’s what I would have done too. It sucks we lost all those positions. We stayed patient all day and worked the bottom groove and did what we needed to do. It’s disappointing to end up seventh after the day we had.”
Eckes was happy to come across the line in second knowing he could have given up a lot more ground to Self in the ARCA Menards Series championship battle.
“We’re happy with second but we needed more than that today,” Eckes said. “We were fourth before that last restart so it could have been worse than that. It’s just a shame we gave up everything we picked up at Pocono.”
Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet) was third, Seavey fourth, and Will Kimmel (No. 69 Kimmel Racing Ford) was fifth.
Self continues to lead the ARCA Menards Series championship standings with an unofficial 105-point lead over Eckes headed into the Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin on August 31.
The race was slowed just four times by cautions. The first was for a crash involving Eric Caudell (No. 7 Honoring America’s Warriors Dodge) on the opening lap. The second yellow of the day was on lap 10 for rain, which forced a 12-minute delay while the track crew worked the dirt surface of the track. The third yellow of the afternoon waved on lap 27 for a spin involving Tim Richmond (No. 06 GreatRailing.com Dodge), and the final yellow for the spin involving Gibbs and Graf waved on lap 94.
Self’s winning average speed was 76.917 miles per hour. His margin of victory over Eckes was 0.363 seconds.
The next race for the ARCA Menards Series is the Southern Illinois 100 on Saturday night August 31. Practice starts at 2:30 pm CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for 5:30 pm CT, and the race is set for 8 pm CT. The race will be televised live on MAVTV; ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates for registered users.