Concord, North Carolina (April 30, 2018) – The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards made the season’s fourth tour stop last Friday invading Talladega Superspeedway for the 56th running of General Tire 200.
Returning to Alabama optimistic, Venturini Motorsports (VMS) unloaded a dynamic driver lineup featuring Michael Self, Leilani Münter, Natalie Decker and Brandon Lynn each looking to conquer the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Met with a mixed bag of results it was Michael Self behind the wheel of his No.15 Sinclair Oil Toyota who led the team’s four car effort finishing third after starting from the pole position.
Finishing on the bumper of the first and second place finishers, Michael Self led-21 laps after earning his first career General Tire Pole Award.
Self’s Pole Award marks the team’s 50th all-time in series competition and is the fourth consecutive Pole to start the season by VMS drivers, joining Daytona Pole Award winner Natalie Decker and 15-year old Chandler Smith who went back-to-back winning the award at Nashville and Salem.
Self, this year’s Daytona winner, was on full display leading early before falling back in the field after getting caught entering pit road while attempting a green flag pit stop just as an untimely caution flag flew ruining the fifteen-team’s strategy. Restarting from the tail end of the lead lap cars, the 27-year old driver navigated his way through the draft returning to the front and challenged for the win on the final lap.
Off to a hot start, Self has yet to finish outside the top-4 positions in three attempts on the season. In 12-series starts since 2014, Self now has eight top-five finishes to go along with two victories and one pole award.
Splitting driver duties between Michael Self and Christian Eckes, VMS’ No.15 Toyota team remains on top of the owner point standings going into the next series event at Toledo Speedway.
Team newcomer Brandon Lynn returned to the track making his first start since nearly winning last year at Talladega driving the No.55 Remodeez Toyota.
Lynn, 23, out of Penn Yann, NY, made his presence known early topping Friday morning’s practice leader board. Qualifying 11th for the main event the Remodeez backed driver put himself in contention for win late but took heavy damage to his car after getting hit with debris from the Chase Purdy incident during overtime. Restarting behind teammate Michael Self on the final green flag Lynn’s Toyota was unable to maneuver through the air to catch the leaders had to settle for a respectable seventh-place finish.
Building off the momentum after his strong run at Talladega, Lynn now looks ahead to his next series race with VMS at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24.
Coming off a career best finish in the series opener at Daytona International Speedway, Leilani Münter returned to Talladega behind the wheel of her bright green No.20 VeganStrong.com Toyota. Münter, a native of Rochester, MN, started in the fifteenth position and ran in the lead pack early, settled for a 22nd-place finish after being slowed by two separate incidents towards the later stages of the race.
Münter, scheduled to race a career high eight ARCA events this season will compete in the upcoming series races at Charlotte, Pocono (twice), Chicago, Michigan and Kansas Speedway.
Looking to improve on her record setting day in the season opener at Daytona, 20-year old Natalie Decker, made her second career restrictor plate start at Talladega Superspeedway driving her now familiar No.25 N29 Capital Partners – Yamaha Power Products Toyota.
Nabbing her second best qualifying effort in her brief career, Decker started fourth for the superspeedway event. Running strong inside the top-10 positions early on, Decker experienced issues when her car lost power while running in the draft. Slowing, Decker with no escape, was tapped from behind forcing her Toyota out of line and hard into the outside wall. Saving the car after coming back across the track the Wisconsin driver coasted her Toyota to a stop on the apron. Unable to continue Decker retired early with a disappointing 28th place finish.
Competing the full series schedule, Decker looks to bounce back when the series returns to action at Toledo Speedway.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards heads home next for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway Sunday, May 20, live on MAVTV.
Credit: Venturini Motorsports