Fort Kent stock car driver Austin Theriault, who made his Monster Energy Cup Series debut last season before a concussion prematurely ended it, is in the process of finalizing some multirace deals in a few different racing series.
He expects to race in NASCAR’s three major series: Monster Energy Cup, Xfinity and the Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
However, Theriault won’t be driving in Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
“I’m getting closer and closer to [landing rides]. We’re lining up sponsors,” said the 26-year-old Theriault, who hopes to make his debut in April or May.
Theriault has raced in all three series and drove five NASCAR Cup races for the underfunded Rick Ware Racing team last season.
He suffered a concussion on Oct. 14 during a multicar wreck at the 1000Bulbs.500 at Talladega Speedway in Alabama and wasn’t cleared by NASCAR to race again for the remainder of the season.
“The recovery took longer than I expected,” said Theriault, who feels fine now and has been cleared to race.
He finished 35th in the Talladega race and in the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Theriault was 34th at Pocono Raceway and 32nd at both Michigan International Speedway and Richmond Raceway.
The Ware Racing team had three cars, the Nos. 51, 52 and 53 cars and they had 14 drivers race a total of 91 times in 2019. They didn’t have any top 10 finishes and J.J. Yeley was the only one of the 10 drivers who ran at least two events to average better than a 30th-place finish (29.27).
But Theriault said even though the Ware Racing team didn’t have the funding or resources of other teams, he feels he is a better driver thanks to his five Cup races and the experience he gained.
He said that underfunded teams are important in NASCAR because they give drivers and crew members an opportunity to compete at the highest level.
Theriault said trying to line up sponsorship to drive a car for one of the top teams is cost prohibitive.
He is looking to line up rides for competitive teams in the Xfinity and Gander Truck series.
“I would like to have some success like I had in 2017,” said Theriault, referring to his remarkable season in the ARCA Series when he captured the points championship with seven wins and 16 top-five finishes in 20 races.
“I’d like to prove I belong [as a viable option for a successful team],” Theriault said.
And he would like to race at tracks he has never been to before.
Theriault had success in the Truck Series, posting five top-10 finishes in 13 races over a four-year span.
He has also run six races in the Xfinity series. He didn’t register a top 10 but his average finish was a respectable 18th for the three races he ran in 2014.