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February 23, 2015 Theriault Leads Laps and Finishes 4th in Camping World Truck Series Debut

A rookie driver does not run up front, lead laps and have a chance to win in their first start at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

Someone forgot to tell Austin Theriault (@AustinTheriault).

Behind the wheel of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans Ford F-150, Theriault scored a commendable fourth place finish in Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Theriault claimed his first top five finish in his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start plus led the race once for nine laps.

Theriault started fourth and ran among the top seven throughout the 100 lap, 250 mile event. During the first half of the race, Theriault patiently stayed in line inside the lead draft gaining valuable experience. He was running fourth on lap 50 when a 12 car accident in Turn 3 slowed the race. The incident eliminated several strong contenders and gave Theriault’s team an opportunity to pit.

On lap 52 he pitted for right side tires and fuel – a move that gave him the lead when the race went green on lap 58. Austin was leading when the fourth caution waved on lap 65. One lap later he pitted for fuel and returned to the track just behind teammate Tyler Reddick.

Over the next 32 laps the Brad Keselowski Racing duo ran 1-2. They were able to stay at the front of the pack despite two cautions and the subsequent restarts – the last of which set up a six lap dash to the checkered flag.

On the final lap of the race, Theriault was running on his teammate’s bumper. As the leaders came off Turn 4, Scott Lagasse Jr. jumped to Austin’s inside, pulling him into a four wide formation in the battle for second – but allowed teammate Reddick to scamper away for the win.

Austin Theriault – No. 29 Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans Ford F-150: “I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish in the Cooper Standard Careers For Veterans Ford F-150. At the white flag we were first and second. You’ll have some people say why didn’t we make the move earlier but it seemed like the guys that would go outside would go to the back. I was content running where I was. I’m not content finishing second but you want to make the move when it counts. Nobody wanted to go and by the time we got out of four I thought I was going to make the move but the 20 had a run. He went to the inside and then it was history. We just got sucked back in the pack and Tyler was home free.”

Chad Kendrick – Crew Chief, No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150: “Austin did a great job all night and drove a heck of a race. We felt like if he’d have stayed with Tyler until the tri-oval and then made a move we’d have ended up 1-2 and maybe we’d have had a shot at winning. He just made the move a little too early which sucked the guys up from behind and caused that big four wide deal.”

(Photo Credit: 305312Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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