With a win and a second-place finish in his last two races earlier this month, Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault will enter Saturday night’s Pro All-Stars Series South Easter Bunny 150 Super Late Model race at Hickory Motor Speedway in Mooresville, N.C., with momentum.
Theriault won the South Carolina Clash 150 at the Dillon Motor Speedway on March 9 and was second behind Kyle Grissom in the Bash at the Beach 150 at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina on March 16.
The Brad Keselowski Racing development driver said he was “excited” about his start.
“I couldn’t ask for more,” said the 19-year-old Theriault. “Everybody is doing what they need to be doing. We’re gelling as a team. Our confidence level is up.
“But you can’t be overconfident. You’ve got to keep working. You’ve got to have a mindset where you strive to get better,” said Theriault. “We want to continue to build momentum.”
The Brad Keselowski Racing team is owned by the defending Sprint Cup Series point champion and has teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the Automobile Racing Club of America and Champion Racing Association (ARCA/CRA) Super Late Model series.
The Pro All-Stars Series is a touring series that involves Super Late Models (North, South and Northwest), Modifieds, Sportsman and Pro Late Models.
Theriault said his Ford Fusion has been “awesome.”
His victory over Preston Peltier at Dillon Motor Speedway came by .120 of a second, the closest margin of victory in PASS South series history.
“It was nice not only to get a win but to have it be by that margin made it even more exciting for us,” said Theriault.
He had never raced at those two tracks and he has never run at Hickory Motor Speedway and its .363 of a mile track. He grew up racing on one-third of a mile tracks in Maine.
“I heard it was a mix of all kinds of tracks in one,” said Theriault. “It suits my driving style. Like we did in the first two races, I may ride around for awhile at the beginning of the race to try to save the tires and the equipment.
“[Saving equipment] has been critical for us this season. We’ve had more tire than anyone else at the end,” said Theriault.
Theriault finished third in the American Canadian Tour’s Late Model series points standings a year ago but won’t return to the series this season so he can devote all his time to Super Late Models.
He will run a total of 21 races, 15 for Brad Keselowski Racing and six PASS North races in Maine for his own race team. He will run three apiece at Oxford Plains Speedway, including the TD Bank 250, and three at Scarborough’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
“We want to get the most bang for our buck. We want to get exposure and and we feel our best bet is to run some of the bigger shows with longer laps,” said Theriault who added that his schedule is “subject to change.”
Theriault won’t be racing for points because he will be dividing his time among several different series.
“We just want to get some wins,” said Theriault.
His own Ford Fusion is in the Crazy Horse Race Shop in South Paris and that’s the car he drove to a second consecutive third-place finish in the Oxford TD Bank 250 last July. It was a Late Model but it has been modified into a Super Late Model.
“It was pretty simple. We modified the transmission and the carburetor,” explained Theriault.
He has virtually the same two crews he had a year ago: the BKR crew featuring crew chief Gary Crooks and another crew in Maine led by crew chief Mickey Green.
“It’s important to know the people on your crew. Chemistry is important just like it is in any sport,” said Theriault, a former wrestler at Fort Kent High School.
“No driver can be successful without a good and knowledgeable team behind them,” Theriault said.