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September 22, 2014 Theriault Finishes 18th in Kentucky


Austin Theriault

Austin Theriault finished 18th in Saturday night’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway. The finish wrapped up Theriault’s three-race NASCAR Nationwide Series slate in the No. 5 car this season.

The rookie driver, making his first career start on a 1.5-mile track, battled an extremely loose race car from the outset. Before the race’s first caution at lap 24, Theriault settled into 17th. At that time, crew chief Ernie Cope opted to call for fuel only on the No. 5 team’s first visit to pit road. That move propelled Theriault to a race-high ninth-place position.

From there, an ill-handling car forced Theriault outside the top 25 and off the lead lap. Eventually, the condition dropped Theriault a second lap down at lap 99.

Theriault’s pace improved greatly in the second half of the race. After falling to as low of 27th, the 20-year-old crept his way forward. Despite running two-laps down, Theriault began running top-15 lap times as he bypassed a number of cars on the race’s lengthy green-flag runs. By race’s end, Theriault climbed his way back inside the top 20 to record an 18th-place finish.

Brendan Gaughan wrestled the lead away from Chase Elliott in the late laps and held off Brian Scott, Ty Dillon, Elliott and Regan Smith for his second victory of the season.

Austin Theriault, driver No. 5 Maine Open for Business team
“The beginning of the race was a really humbling experience for me. I guess I learned the balance that I was asking out of the car in practice wasn’t the balance that we needed come race time. That’s just something I’m going to learn and put it in the bank. We started off way too free and the guys tightened it up. Then it really came to life. By that time, we were already two laps down.

“The finishing position was not a reflection of how good we were at the end of the race. Sometimes you have to make mistakes and I definitely made a mistake by asking for too free of a race car in practice. We got it better and finished the race which a couple of times when we were out there that loose, I was really wondering if I was going to be able to keep the right rear under us. The guys worked hard and I appreciate them sticking through the adversity with my inexperience.”

Read the full race report here.

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