AUSTIN THERIAULT: “This is an unbelievable way for me to make my first start, getting to race with the JR Motorsports guys. Ernie Cope is an outstanding crew chief and the No. 5 car is one of the best cars in the Nationwide Series. I can’t think of a better opportunity for me to learn. It’s really a dream come true to be able to make my debut with these guys.
“I was able to run a few laps in Chase’s car at the test so I have an idea what to expect when we get to the track. From what I was able to learn, the track is really fast and the bumps are pretty challenging so that will make for great racing. The extra track time we get Friday will help a ton to get me more comfortable and find what I want out of the car.”
THERIAULT’S PAST: Theriault was named 2012 Driver of the Year by the Maine Vintage Race Car Association and made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that year after winning the inaugural “Maine Young Guns” competition. He leveraged that success into a ride with Brad Keselowski Racing in the Pro All Star Series (PASS) in 2013, earning three victories.
TEST DAY: Theriault joined JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott for testing at Iowa Speedway on May 6. The 20-year-old driver made a handful of test runs in Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet marking his first laps in a Nationwide Series car at any track.
FIRST TIMERS: Theriault becomes the sixth driver to make their NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in a JR Motorsports Chevrolet. He joins Steve Arpin, Richard Boswell, Chase Elliott, Danica Patrick and Andy Pilgrim on that list.
BIG SHOES TO FILL: The 20-year-old native of Fort Kent, Maine becomes the fourth driver to work with the No. 5 team this year. To date, the Ernie Cope-led team has earned one win, six top-five and seven top-10 finishes in nine starts working with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne.
SPY OPTIC: SPY manufactures the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Signature 88 Collection including Earnhardt Jr.’s Dirty Mo design. SPY is the only eyewear brand to offer the innovative Happy Lens technology – a color and contrast enhancing lens that lets in the sun’s “good” rays that studies suggest promote a positive uplift in mood and alertness, while blocking the sun’s “bad” rays.
DIRTY MO RADIO: Dirty Mo Radio is an online podcasting hub for all things related to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Housed at www.DaleJr.com, Dirty Mo Radio broadcasts four podcasts each week: Monday Morning Recap, The Dale Jr. Download, Fast Lane Family with Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and JRM 360 The Podcast. Fans are able to listen online as well as through free subscriptions on iTunes and other major podcasting services.