TOLEDO, Ohio – official series release by Doug Donnelly – Austin Wayne Self Racing photo –
Austin Wayne Self is trying to do something in 2015 that only two drivers in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards history have been able to accomplish – win the series championship in the next year after being the SCOTT Rookie of the Year.
Self won the SCOTT Rookie of the Year award in 2014, driving for Cunningham Motorsports. This season, he’s behind the wheel of the No. 98 AM Technical Solutions Ford Fusion for Mason Mitchell Motorsports.
He’s running the full season and geared up for a run at the series title. He finished 15th in the season opener at Daytona and is gearing up for the first short track race of the year at Mobile International Speedway March 14.
The last ARCA driver to go from Rookie of the Year to champion the next year was Chris Buescher, driving for the Roulo Brothers. Buescher, who was the Rookie of the Year in 2011 and champion in 2012, is now a NASCAR Xfinity driver with Roush Fenway Racing. The other driver to pull off the back-to-back accomplishment was Bill Baird in 1998 and 1999.
Two other former SCOTT Rookies of the Year were in the Daytona lineup with Self, including Frank Kimmel (1992) and Bobby Gerhart (1988).
Baird, Kimmel and Buescher are among seven ARCA drivers to win both the Rookie of the Year title and a championship. The others include Benny Parsons, Dave Dayton, Scott Stovall and Bill Venturini.
Other former Rookies of the Year that have gone onto NASCAR careers include, most recently, Justin Boston (2013 ROY), who will run fulltime in the Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2015; Alex Bowman (2012 ROY), who will run fulltime in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2015; Dakoda Armstrong (2010 ROY), who has been racing in the Camping World and Xfinity Series since his ARCA Rookie of the Year season; and Michael McDowell (2007 ROY), who has been a regular in the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series since his ARCA Rookie of the Year season.
The ARCA Mobile 200 will be March 14.