Eyes have not seen much better beauty on a race track than the Petty Blue STP car or the black number three. You’d think it wouldn’t be hard to recreate stock car eye candy like this, but modern era car designers make it look so.
My faith was restored last year when I saw Michael Self dominating in a eye-catching green and white Sinclair car for Venturini Motorsports. The car was great, but it didn’t matter how good it looked if it wasn’t for the incredible driver behind the wheel.
Michael Self is 29-years old.
That really shouldn’t matter, it truly shouldn’t. It shouldn’t be a big enough deal that I felt the need to write it abruptly. Before Jeff Gordon started the young phenom movement, it wasn’t uncommon for Cup Series drivers to get their starts until their mid-thirties.
I’m not gonna base my opinion on Michael Self’s abilities as a driver based on his age because that would be ridiculous. However, unfortunately it will probably effect his career aspirations.
Last year Michael Self finished 2nd in the ARCA standings with 4 wins and 15 top tens in 20 starts. He seems intent on remaining a problem for his fellow competitors in 2020 with his win in the Daytona 200 on Saturday.
Self has been around NASCAR since he was 18-years old, but his career didn’t take off until he became a development driver for Richard Childress Racing and in 57 starts for RCR he had 8 wins and 42 top tens in the K&N Series.
At 22, he looked to have a solid position in the RCR development program. Only problem was one out of his control, and it came in the form of the Dillon boys.
RCR is a race team built on tradition, not substantial wealth. There wasn’t enough development money to go around when Richard Childress’ grandsons came looking for rides in the Truck and Xfinity Series.
This left Self no room for promotion at RCR and without a consistent ride until 2017 when he once again proved himself above the paygrade for the K&N Series for Sunrise Ford Racing, finishing with 2 win and 13 top tens in 13 starts.
This was once again not good enough.
Another year went by and the best he could do is get a part-time ride with his now team Venturini Motorsports and in only 10 races he managed 2 wins and 6 top tens.
It took a man who showed nothing but true driving talent 10 years to find a team and sponsor that believed in him. 10 years of driving his butt off and he is now 29-years old dominating the ARCA series.
Michael Self deserves to be in the Cup Series.
Is this going to happen? It’s possible; all it takes is one team to give him a chance. However, I think he’s found the corner of NASCAR to etch his name into.
It’s probably not what he dreamed of and it’s less then what he deserves but it’s just the usual story of many talented drivers who didn’t get the help early enough in their careers.
If he never make it to Cup. I think he could become one of the most accomplished ARCA drivers of all-time or even go on to be a Truck Series champion.