There will be better days for Austin Theriault.
Theriault claimed a 14th place finish in the Toyota Tundra 250 Friday evening at Kansas Speedway, experiencing a most challenging day at the 1.5-mile speedway.
After posting the seventh best speed in final practice Thursday afternoon, Theriault was involved in an accident during qualifying with teammate Tyler Reddick. Reddick spun off Turn 2 and Theriault, with no place to go, ran directly into him. The incident forced the team to quickly prepare a backup No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 and Theriault started the 167 lap race from the rear of the 32 truck field.
From the opening laps of the race it was clear that Theriault (@AustinTheriault) would have his hands full with a tight handling truck. He and crew chief Chad Kendrick made an early stop during the first caution on lap 13 for a chassis adjustment and fuel. But when the race went back green two laps later it was still a handful for the young driver who kept a cool head under difficult circumstances.
On lap 42 Theriault spun off Turn 4, bringing out the second caution. He avoided contact with the wall and his fellow competitors with an amazing save but fell a lap down to the leaders. Theriault pitted on lap 44 for four tires and adjustments. When the race went green on lap 47 the handling condition on his truck didn’t immediately improve.
Crew chief Chad Kendrick and the team kept making adjustments at every opportunity (they also pitted for four tires and adjustments during the third caution on lap 69). During their final stop on lap 113 the team hit on a setup that greatly improved Theriault’s lap times. Over the final 52 laps the young driver ran lap times comparable to those inside the top 10 but even with the improvement it was too late to improve Austin’s finishing position. But with no prior NCWTS experience on intermediate size tracks prior to Kansas, what he learned will be valuable in next start at Texas Motor Speedway.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:
Austin Theriault, No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150: “It’s always unfortunate when you bring a good truck to the track and you’re not able to compete with it and you have to go to your backup. I felt like we took the first round of qualifying conservative. The truck was loose so we made some changes. I just didn’t have anywhere to go. Everyone on the Cooper Standard team did a great job getting everything for the race and that shows the strength of our team at Brad Keselowski Racing. We made a few changes during the race that probably didn’t help us. I put myself in a situation coming off of Turn 4 where a guy was hugging my right rear and it just snapped around and got loose on me. We’ll build on it and move forward.”
Chad Kendrick – Crew Chief, No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150: “We fought extremely tight the whole race with the Cooper Standard Ford F-150 but that last run we got it where it was decent. Austin was actually running lap times equal to or better than sixth to eighth. We’ll learn from it and get better. I know every time we leave the shop for a race that we load up two really well-prepared trucks. It’s definitely a credit to all the guys at Brad Keselowski Racing and what they do to get both teams to the track.”
About Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR):
Based in Mooresville, North Carolina and led by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Brad Keselowski (@Keselowski), Brad Keselowski Racing (@TeamBKR) fields the No. 19 and the No. 29 Fords in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. BKR, with the aim to provide young talented drivers the opportunity to improve their skills with a professional, competitive team, has also fielded entries in the ARCA Series and other developmental motorsport series. For more information please visit: www.BradRacing.com and www.TeamBKR.com.