Self dominates at Daytona, Deegan impresses with runner-up finish

Michael Self led the most laps in an uniquely incident-filled Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway and held off Hailie Deegan late in the race to earn his 8th career ARCA Menards Series win and his 2nd at the high banks of Daytona. Deegan managed to avoid Daytona calamity and survive to finish 2nd in a Venturini Motorsports sandwich as Drew Dollar finished 3rd.

Sean Corr had a shot at the lead for a portion of the race and was able to notch a 4th place finish. Thad Moffitt, grandson of “The King” Richard Petty, rounded out the Top-5 after having to start at the rear due to his qualifying time being disallowed for an infraction involving the spoiler of his DGR-Crosley Ford.

The race began with an incident on the backstretch on lap one. Andy Seuss attempted to fill in a hole on the inside line but the #28 of World of Outlaws star David Gravel was already there. The #02 of Seuss was turned and took a fast ride through the grass before coming back up the track, forcing the #88 of Scott Reeves to swerve left and collide with Eric Caudell.

The second caution of the day came when Jason Kitzmiller’s #97 machine blew an engine, ending a short green flag run that saw six cars break away from the rest of the pack.

It was the Michael Self show up until the 3rd caution for another blown engine. After pit stops, the field shuffled around and Sean Corr ended up as the leader once the race got back under way. He didn’t stay there for long, though, as Bret Holmes and Tanner Gray shuffled him out of the lead. It then became a battle of who was the better pusher as Holmes had the help of Michael Self and Gray had teammate Hailie Deegan helping.

Then the big one struck. The #22 of Connor Hall was being pushed in a 3-wide situation where he drifted up into the #61 of JJ Pack. Pack was then turned into Natalie Decker, and then a wreck involving a near dozen cars commenced, taking out a significant portion of the field. Jacob Heafner perhaps had the hardest hit after being clipped by the spinning Decker and slammed into the outside wall.

This brought out a brief red flag to clean up the mess, but once the race got back rolling it was Michael Self out front once again. About 10 laps later, Self, Riley Herbst, and Holmes had pulled out to a 3-car breakaway ahead of Thad Moffitt, Chuck Hiers, Hailie Deegan, and others. While trying to push to help move the pack back up, Deegan pushed Hiers through turn 2 and made him loose. With no time to check up, Deegan hooked the right rear of Hiers and turned him into the outside wall hard.

The final 25 laps of the race featured a 7-car breakaway that remained single file for a majority of the end. With 15 laps to go, 4th place Tanner Gray started to spew out smoke for 4-5 laps before coming down on pit road. Right after that, a caution came out for when David Gravel’s right side door flew off on the track, a result from damage received during the big one earlier in the race.

It was smooth sailing for Michael Self after that, taking home his 2nd Daytona ARCA victory in dominant fashion. He’ll hope to take this momentum to start the year to chase an ARCA Menards Series championship after coming just 25 points shy of it one year ago.

With Hailie Deegan’s 2nd place at Daytona, she made history.

Deegan starts the season leading the Rookie of the Year race. “It definitely worked out in our favor,” Deegan told MRN Radio after the race, “I’m super happy with how tonight went. I don’t think it could’ve been much better for me.”

The ARCA Menards Series will return on March 6 at Phoenix Raceway for the 2nd race of the season and the first of the Sioux Chief Showdown, a 10-race championship that will combine the ARCA Menards Series with the East and West divisions.

Unofficial Results:

Pos#DriverLaps
125Michael Self80
24Hailie Deegan80
315Drew Dollar80
48Sean Corr80
546Thad Moffitt80
612Jason White80
718Riley Herbst80
83Willie Mullins80
923Bret Holmes80
1069Scott Melton80
119Thomas Praytor79
1228David Gravel78
1387Charles Buchanan78
140Con Nicolopoulos76
1509Benny Chastain74
1617Tanner Gray70
177Eric Caudell67
1806Tim Richmond55
1911Chuck Hiers49
2022Connor Hall47
2110Ryan Huff41
2220Ryan Repko40
2332Gus Dean40
2461JJ Pack39
2530Dominique Van Wieringen39
2652Natalie Decker38
2777Jacob Heafner38
2802Andy Seuss38
2901John Ferrier38
3063Dave Mader38
3148Brad Smith17
3297Jason Kitzmiller11
3388Scott Reeves0

Author: Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey (@TomBaileyScoop) grew up in the backyard of Chicagoland Speedway, making a passion for all motorsports inevitable. Tom is entering his first full year of racing coverage in 2020 as the owner and founder of InfieldScoop.com. You can contact him at [email protected]

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