Opportunities Creating Opportunities for Austin Theriaultby Kyle Pokrefky May 20, 2016 0 comments
The past 15 months in stock car racing have been a whirlwind for Austin Theriault, who finds himself returning to the national circuit this week in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Running nine races in the Truck Series for Brad Keselowski Racing in 2015, Theriault, 22, entered the 2016 season without any sort of set multi-race schedule at the national level.
A one-off deal to run the trucks’ season opener at Daytona International Speedway proved to be fruitful as the Fort Kent, Maine native earned a shot at running the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday.
This weekend’s driver of the No. 2 Klixel8 Ford led a race-high 31 laps at Daytona three months ago and was in contention for his first-ever series win before being sidelined by a Lap 92 accident.
Theriault’s overall performance at Daytona, however, turned some heads and ultimately led to him getting another crack at the Truck Series.
“Around the time that we ran Daytona,” said Theriault of what led to his start this weekend. “We were fast there and we had a lot of contention going into the race and we led the most laps, then we got caught up in a wreck.
“We wanted to give it another shot with the No. 2 truck and see if we could close the deal. Charlotte is close to home and close for everybody and we were able to make it happen, because everything costs less for travel and whatnot. We set our sights on Charlotte and the guys have been preparing for several months. I obviously feel like we’re bringing the best truck.”
This race season, Theriault has had an interesting change for his racing career as he’s moved to the K&N Pro Series East to run the full season for Hattori Racing Enterprises.
Through five races this season, Theriault is eighth in the points standings and is coming off of his best result of the season – a third at Virginia International Raceway.
The feeling of being able to run a full season and compete for a championship is a welcoming one for the ACT Late Model Tour veteran.
“I wasn’t even really running for the Truck title last year, it was more of a partial thing,” Theriault noted. “I’d say it was more of a lateral move to run more consistently for a championship and waiting for the next opportunity to come and hoping and waiting to have it come some point in the future…
“It’s been cool to finally run for a championship, I haven’t run for a championship since 2012 in late models. It’s back to what I remember – consistency and the way the points system works and the season’s really short, so it rewards consistency.”
While he does have plenty on his plate in the K&N Pro Series East, Theriault’s attention at Charlotte this week is to put in another performance that’ll earn him another start for Brad Keselowski Racing in the not too distant future.
“All of the Truck stuff has been race-by-race and I don’t know what the future holds as far as that’s concerned,” Theriault said. “This weekend is all about being where we need to be, and hopefully if the rain holds off we’ll get qualifying in and can run up front, but I’m just focused on Charlotte and if something else comes up after that, it’ll be because of something good coming out of this weekend.
“We’ll see where that goes when it happens.”
Photo Credit: NASCAR