DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Michael Self triumphed in a crash-filled Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday.
Self held off Hailie Deegan by .125-seconds to collect his second NASCAR ARCA Menard’s win at the World Center of Racing with Venturini Motorsports and the eighth of his career.
“It helps my average, it’s probably in the low teens by now,” Self said with a laugh. “It’s unbelievable. I can tell you the second time is every bit as sweet as the first. And to do it with this group of people around me, with Sinclair and Toyota on board, my family here, a bunch of my friends here, it’s no secret it’s a little extra special to come to Daytona.
“It’s truly an amazing day for us—for Venturini Motorsports. It’s a little bit surreal."
The 29-year-old from Park City, Utah, who finished second in the ARCA standings in 2019, is starting his second full season on the tour in the No. 25 Toyota.
Deegan, 18, who posted the fastest lap in Friday practice, became the first female driver since Shawna Robinson in 1999--and just the second overall--to claim the runner-up spot at the World Center of Racing. Erin Crocker collected three second-place finishes in 25 ARCA starts over three seasons, but none at Daytona.
“Pretty much at the end there, all I wanted to do was finish,” Deegan said. “My goal for this race was top three to top-five was a victory for me. First of all, I wanted it to go green from that last caution, I was good with third, third was good. Then we had that caution and it was like, ‘Oh my God, Michael is going to take the top.’ I knew he would get help behind him.
“I told my spotter (Eric Holmes) on the radio, ‘Think of all the times I have let Michael get past me and stuff when he was racing for the championship last year.’ I told them I would push them and help them win. I was totally fine finishing second. I wasn’t going to try to do anything to Michael. It is a long season, and I have to race against these guys week in and week out. It is best to stay on good terms with them.”
Drew Dollar, Sean Corr and Thad Moffitt rounded out the top five in the ARCA season opener. Moffitt, the grandson of seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty, was one of three drivers—along with 10th-place finisher Scott Melton and 21st-place Ryan Huff, who were forced to start from the rear for unapproved adjustments. Eleven drivers remained on the lead lap in a race that was slowed by six cautions.
Open-wheel star David Gravel, the 2019 Knoxville Nationals winner, finished 12th in his ARCA debut, one lap off of the pace.