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Michael Self, Hailie Deegan finish 1-2 in ARCA season opener

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Michael Self held off a last-lap challenge by Hailie Deegan to win Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway.

Self started from the pole and led 60 of the 80 laps in the 200-mile event. It was Self’s eighth career ARCA win (in 40 starts), including his second triumph in the season opener at Daytona.

“This is amazing, man, to start the season off like this, it’s unbelievable,” Self told FS1. “It’s just a great day overall. What an amazing car, to have our (Venturini Motorsports) cars finish 1 and 3 (teammate Drew Dollar) is unbelievable.”

Making her rookie effort at Daytona, Deegan becomes the third female (Erin Crocker three times and Shawna Robinson once) to finish runner-up in a race in ARCA Menards Series history. It was also her best finish in seven ARCA starts thus far.

“Coming into this race, my first goal was to finish, second goal was top 3 to top 5, I would have been ecstatic,” Deegan told FS1. “To come out here and finish second, runner-up, nothing could have been better. Obviously, every driver wants to win, but this was a victory for me.”

There were several incidents in the 80-lap, 200-mile event, but none bigger than a wreck on Lap 39 when more than a dozen cars were involved in a high-speed wreck. Among notable drivers involved were David Gravel, Natalie Decker, Andy Seuss and Dominique Van Wierengen.

On Lap 50, Deegan made slight contact with the right rear corner of Chuck Hiers, sending him head-on into the wall. Hiers and Deegan were running fifth and sixth at the time. Deegan’s car was not damaged in the incident.

With 11 laps to go, 2018 NHRA Pro Stock champ Tanner Gray’s day ended early when he was sent to pit road by ARCA officials due to excessive smoke from under the hood. Gray was running fourth when his motor let go.

The next ARCA Menards Series race is March 6 at Phoenix Raceway.

ARCA Daytona results

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Dominique Van Wieringen fastest on Day 2 of Daytona ARCA test

ARCA Menards Series
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The ARCA Menards Series capped off a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway Saturday in preparation for its Feb. 8 race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Dominique Van Wieringen posted the fastest speed of the day at 181.397 mph. She only made four laps.

“I was really surprised when (owner) Mark (Rette) said we went to the top of the charts,” Van Wieringen said in a media release. “I was practicing trying to time the draft for qualifying and I didn’t get it times just right. Hopefully when we come back for the race I can time it out a little better in qualifying and get even more.

“It’s been a good experience. It’s really intimidating because you go really fast and when things go wrong they go wrong really fast. For the first time out, it was better than I thought it would be. It was actually really relaxing. I don’t know how to explain it, it was just really relaxing.”

Out of 41 cars to make a lap, the top five was completed by David Gravel (181.236 mph), Sean Corr (181.174), Michael Self (181.145) and Drew Dollar (181.134).

Gravel, a World of Outlaws driver, will make his series debut next month.

Hailie Deegan was 16th on the speed chart after recording 62 laps throughout the day, which was the most.