Young Fort Kent auto racing driver pondering future after finish in Snowball Derby

Austin Theriault of Fort Kent.
Austin Theriault of Fort Kent. Buy Photo
Posted Dec. 09, 2013, at 5:31 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 10, 2013, at 9:21 a.m.

Fort Kent native Austin Theriault, fresh off Sunday’s third-place finish in the prestigious Snowball Derby 300 Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., took Monday off to recuperate before beginning the process of exploring his options for the future.

The 19-year-old Theriault was a developmental driver for the Brad Keselowski Racing team this past season and Sunday’s race was his last under his contract. He will continue to work at the BKR shop in Mooresville, N.C., until the new year.

“On Tuesday, I’ll start the process of meeting people and evaluating different options,” said Theriault, who won two races for BKR and also won a 300-lap Pro All-Stars Series race at Scarborough’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in September in his family-owned race car.

“There’s a lot of decisions that have to be made for 2014,” he added. “I’d like to think there’s a place in Super Late Model racing for me. It’s fun. It’s really competitive and I learned a lot from racing them. I’d also like to do some NASCAR stuff. Racing in the [NASCAR Camping World Truck Series] would be a viable option.”

BKR has two trucks in the series but Ryan Blaney, who was the series’ Rookie of the Year, will return in the No. 29 truck and rookie Tyler Reddick will join him in the No. 19.

The K and N Pro Series East is another option and Theriault also could return to drive for BKR in the Southern Super Series.

“It’ll be Networking 101,” quipped Theriault. “Everyone wants to strike gold.”

Theriault, who finished fourth in the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway in July, said he was pleased with his third-place finish in the Snowball Derby.

He ran in the top 10 all day despite a second pit stop that slowed the car.

“But on the third [and final] pit stop with around 20 laps to go, we made some tire pressure and track bar changes which made the car turn better through the center of the corners and gave it a little more [grip] off the corners,” explained Theriault.

He crossed the finish line in fourth place but winner Chase Elliott was disqualified in post-race inspection which elevated Theriault to third. Erik Jones was awarded the win.

“We had a top-five car. But Chase was the class of the field,” said Theriault, who had been frustrated after finishing 27th in the All-American 400 last month in Nashville because of mechanical problems. He was 80 laps down at the finish.

“Overall, it has been a good year. We’ve had our share of successes and our share of stumbles. But judging by this past weekend and putting everything into perspective, we turned it around from Nashville to have a great race [in the same car] at the Snowball Derby,” he said.

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