July 13, 2014
Theriault 21st at NHMS
Austin Theriault’s second NASCAR Nationwide Series start ended with a 21st-place result after the rookie driver ran out of fuel three laps shy of the scheduled distance in Saturday’s Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Early in Saturday’s race, Theriault settled into a rhythm racing inside the top 15 in his No. 5 BetBomb.com Chevrolet. As laps clicked away, the 20-year-old’s lap times began to improve and Theriault crept his way forward. However, the blistering pace set by eventual winner Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch dropped Theriault off the lead lap at lap 77.
Crew chief Ernie Cope helped Theriault move back onto the lead lap by opting not to pit under the race’s final caution at lap 140, allowing the No. 5 to take the wave around. The risk of taking the wave around was that Theriault did not receive fresh tires and fuel, presenting the rookie with the task of saving five laps of fuel during the race’s final 55-lap green-flag stretch.
Under the encouragement of Cope and spotter Kevin Hamlin, Theriault did everything in his power attempting to manage his fuel and maintain his 12th-place position on track. With three laps remaining, Theriault radioed his crew “Out of fuel.” After coasting to pit road, Theriault dropped to a 21st-place finish.
Brad Keselowski cruised to his 29th-career Nationwide Series victory over Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson and Chris Buescher.
Austin Theriault, driver No. 5 BetBomb.com team
“It was a wild race. There was every strategy in the book. I think a lot of people were trying to get track position back. When we went a lap down there, I figured it was going to be tough to maintain. It would have been different if there would have been a caution every 15 or 20 laps. These races seem to go green. Even though we had good speed on the long run, I need to do a better job at getting up and going on restarts because if you lose a spot, or two spots, you may come back and pass them on the long run, but it’s just something that I’ve got to work on. I appreciate everybody working hard. The BetBomb.com car was good. It’s just all about seat time for me, making laps and we tried. We were in good position but ran out of fuel.”