Fort Kent race driver Theriault relocates to North Carolina to work and race for Keselowski Racing

Austin Theriault looks over his car before pre-qualifying inspection for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. The Fort Kent native has recently relocated to North Carolina.
Austin Theriault looks over his car before pre-qualifying inspection for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. The Fort Kent native has recently relocated to North Carolina.
Posted Jan. 23, 2013, at 6:13 p.m.

Austin Theriault celebrated his 19th birthday Wednesday and he’s hoping to give himself a present Sunday.

The Fort Kent native and Super Late Model development driver for Brad Keselowski Racing will be racing in Speedfest 2013 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Georgia.

There will be a 100-lap race followed by a 200-lap event on Sunday afternoon.

Theriault moved to North Carolina a month ago and is working in the race shop at BKR.

“It was a necessary move,” said Theriault. “At the end of the day, if you want to be involved in racing, whether you want to drive or work on a pit crew, you’ve got to come down here to be close to the action.”

Theriault works on Super Late Model cars during the week and said it is valuable to his development.

“I’m learning from guys who have been doing this a lot longer than I have,” said Theriault. “It’s important to see the big picture. You need to know everything that goes into making a race team successful. If you leave one link out, the whole chain is compromised.”

Theriault will run 15 races for BKR this season after running a part-time schedule last year. That means he won’t be able to run a full American-Canadian Tour (Late Model) schedule this season.

He finished third in the ACT points race a year ago and captured his first ACT win.

“We had a great year, but we can’t make it happen this year,” said Theriault. “It would take away from what I’m doing down here. But if we can get sponsorship, I’d like to do six ACT races.”

BKR also has a NASCAR Craftsman Truck series shop next to the Super Late Model shop and Theriault hopes to attend some of the truck races.

He is excited about the season and he will be reunited with crew chief Gary Crooks.

“Last year was a growing year and this will be another one,” he said. “My main focus will be on getting to Victory Lane.”

He finished third in the Governor’s Cup 200 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., on Nov. 17 and was fourth in the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., last month before electrical issues ended his race in the Snowball Derby 300 the next day.

He said he would love to run in a truck race, but he isn’t banking on it.

“One thing I’ve realized by being down here is things change on a day-to-day basis,” said Theriault. “Hopefully, my results will speak for themselves.”

Ryan Blaney and Ross Chastain will be driving BKR trucks and Theriault said team owner and defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski will also be driving a truck from time to time as will Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano.

Unity hasn’t been leased

Ralph Nason hasn’t found anyone to lease Unity Raceway yet.

George Fernald Jr. had leased it for five years but after losing over $30,000 during that time, he decided to sign off after last season.

“My phone isn’t ringing off the hook,” said Nason. “There were a couple of deals, but they fell apart.

“I’m not concerned. There’s still plenty of time,” he added. “The place is ready, we just need someone to operate it.”

He said if somebody doesn’t lease it, he could hire someone to just run the track.

But it won’t be him.

He said if nobody wants to lease it or run it, he simply won’t open it.

If somebody does lease it, Nason said he will help out by doing some of the maintenance.

“And I pay the taxes,” he said.

It costs $35,000 per year to lease the facility.

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