Fort Kent stock car driver Austin Theriault is confident he will make his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series or the Nationwide Series this season.
Theriault raced Super Late Model cars for Brad Keselowski Racing the past two seasons, and he also drove for his own Austin Theriault Racing team.
The 20-year-old driver has been dividing his time between his home in Mooresville, N.C., Scott Mulkern’s race shop in Falmouth, where his No. 57 Dodges are being housed and worked on, and his family home in Fort Kent.
He has been making contacts in the business and professional worlds and is negotiating with race teams in the Truck and Nationwide series. He is hoping to land a limited-race deal in either series.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on that I’m really excited about, not only for 2014 but beyond. It has been my goal to move forward and climb the ladder. That’s what I want this year to be all about,” said Theriault. “We’re working on a lot of different angles. I’m trying to be realistic. I set some goals we can achieve, and we’ll go from there. People are helping us out, and we’re developing some good relationships.”
He said in addition to trying to get himself to the next level, “there are a lot of individuals and companies who are also trying to get their names out there. It’s a very diverse group of companies. Some are New England-based and others are national.
“Nobody likes to wait, but sometimes good things take time,” he said.
Last season, Theriault ran 25 races and posted three wins, five top-five finishes and eight top-10s for his team and Keselowski Racing. He had wins for Keselowski in the Rumble at the Pines at Southern National Motorsports Park (N.C.) and in the South Carolina Clash at Dillon Motor Speedway.
Theriault left the Keselowski Racing Team because the team dropped its Super Late Model program.
“They wanted to focus more on their two trucks,” he said.
Tyler Reddick and Ryan Blaney are driving in the Truck series for Keselowski.
Theriault also visited Victory Lane last season in his No. 57 family-owned car at the Pro All Stars Series 400 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough.
He finished third in the 57 car at the SpeedFest 200 race at the Watermelon Capital Speedway in Georgia in January.
He intends to run that car in PASS Super Late Model races this season at Oxford Plains Speedway and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough. There are three races at each track, and how many he will enter depends upon his status in the Truck or Nationwide Series.
Saco-based Southern Maine Motors Chrysler Dodge Jeep will be his primary sponsor in his Maine races.
His next race is the Ripley and Fletcher 150 at OPS on April 12, and he also plans to run the Southern Maine Motors Chrysler Dodge Jeep-sponsored race at Beech Ridge on May 3.
“After those races, I think I’ll have a much clearer picture of my future plans,” he said.
“We’re looking to position ourselves with a team that has good equipment [in the Trucks or Nationwide series]. I feel we can be successful, and we can grow. I can learn,” said Theriault.
He said racing in the PASS North series will keep him sharp, and it will give him an opportunity to “return to my roots.”
“I’m looking to win races and gain experience. I’ll be racing against the best in whatever series I’m in,” said Theriault. “I want to show people I’m ready to take the next step.”