By: Ashley McCubbin
When Austin Wayne Self and his family owned team entered the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series five years ago, a lot of people quickly glanced over them without batting an eye. However, that has changed with AM Racing beginning to leave their mark.
“It hasn’t been an easy ride to the position where I am now,” Austin Wayne Self told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “When I got in the series in 2016, me and my father started this race team and we’ve grown a lot since then. You are racing against teams with lots of funding and great drivers. I look back at 2016, and I think the biggest difference is the guys that I have working on my stuff, I would definitely say I gained a lot of experience in trucks, and been able to get a lot of seat time.
“I feel I can drive the truck to it’s full potential. I feel as comfortable as I can in these race trucks. I would definitely say that’s due to the group of guys working on the truck and its like home, feels more comfortable during a race than it did before.”
The comfort and experience are shining through on-track as Self enters Richmond Raceway placed 10th in the standings following three top-15 finishes, including a 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway on the dirt.
Looking through those five races, the Texas native says they have been about a B+.
“I was never that good in school, always looking for anything better than a C+. But when it comes to racing, I hold myself to a higher standard,” he commented. “I’d give myself a B+. We’ve shown strength in having good speed throughout, running up front. I wouldn’t call it a weakness, but we need to focus completing the races – getting to the end with the result we deserve.”
That is something he hopes to be able to do this weekend at Richmond following a 14th-place last season in his first appearance at the Virginia short track.
“I am looking forward to getting there,” he commented. “I think we can have another good run as we’ve had a solid start to the season so far. We had a good run on the dirt at Bristol so looking to carrying that momentum forward.”
Beyond this weekend, the schedule provides lots of opportunities for success, with Self circling the series’ inaugural visit to the Circuit of the Americas. Through his previous six road course starts between Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and the Daytona International Speedway road course, he has scored only one finish outside of the top-15, highlighted by a ninth at CTMP in 2017.
“I’ve always been a big road course guy and that’s home,” Self said of the Circuit of the Americas. “Just being able to race in my home town and that level of race is a big thing. Obviously, having a home race is really special for me, and the fact that I have sponsors, supporters, and friends right there – that’s a big thing.”
If Self continues the trend he is currently riding, there is no telling where he could be down the road, with possibilities of being a truck series championship contender in the future.
“Five years – that’s a long time,” Self said of the future when asked. “I don’t even know if I knew where I’d today from five years ago. But down the road, I think I need to race for a title in the truck series and win races. I really want to grow this AM Racing, but I’d like to see myself get a shot in Cup in the next five years. I’ll be 30 years old so I think I’d really see myself have a shot in a Cup car. I’d love to go out.
“I will tell you this – I can’t see myself doing anything other than racing so I hope from five years from now, I hope I can talk abut competing for a truck championship and be in a cup car full-time – if not, I hope I’m racing something. I want to be racing anything I can get my hands on.”