Fort Kent stock car driver Austin Theriault will unveil the Bangor Savings Bank’s Buoy Local program paint scheme on his No. 57 Ford at 10 a.m. Thursday at the bank’s new waterfront headquarters at 24 Hamlin Way.
Theriault will drive that car Sunday in the Clarks’ Scrap Metals Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.
Theriault was the ARCA series champion last season thanks to a series-leading seven wins and 12 top-three finishes in 20 races but has been unable to land a full-time ride this year, so he is serving as a consultant for 18-year-old Chase Purdy and the MDM Motorsports team in the ARCA series.
“I work with Chase and the team and communicate with the crew chief. I’m the middle man,” Theriault said Wednesday as he traveled to Maine from North Carolina.
Theriault called his deal with Bangor Savings Bank a “great partnership.”
He said although the Oxford 250 has a national reputation, it has a “distinct local flavor” with all its in-state connections, so it’s nice to have a Maine company as his primary sponsor.
“It’s going to have a good impact for the bank, I hope,” Theriault said.
Theriault could help his bank account with a win as the driver who takes the checkered flag pockets $25,000. A driver also receives $100 for each lap led.
Theriault, 24, will be entering his sixth Oxford 250 and finished in the top four in each of his first four starts before an accident relegated him to a 35th-place showing in 2016. He has a second-place finish in 2014, two thirds (2011, 2012) and a fourth (2013).
“I’m still searching for that elusive first win in the biggest race in the Northeast and one of the biggest short-track races in the country,” Theriault said. “Hopefully we can get the car up to speed, we can get a good draw for the heat race and run a smart race. We have to make sure our tire strategy works out for us, so we can be around at the end.”
Theriault, who has six Xfinity Series and 11 Camping World Truck Series races to his credit in addition to his ARCA career, has been disappointed in not landing a full-time ride.
“I feel like my experience and my work ethic could really have benefited a lot of teams and owners out there,” he said. “I’m still in position to take any opportunity that comes my way, but it has to be one that will move me forward in my career.”
Theriault said many variables go into landing a ride, including sponsorship, and he continues to look for sponsors in his quest to climb the racing ladder.
“It’s not that I’m declining offers I don’t think are good for me. The circumstances may not have worked out either. There is a business side to it, too,” Theriault said.
Theriault’s crew for the Oxford 250 will include his father Steve and friends from Maine and North Carolina who have worked with him before.
Theriault raced in July at Spud Speedway in Caribou, but mechanical issues ended his race prematurely.
He will be driving a different car Sunday; one he is bringing from North Carolina.
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