Austin Theriault drove with the poise of a veteran to score a fifth place finish in the WinStar World Casino 400 Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Theriault (@AustinTheriault) grabbed his second top five finish in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and claimed Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors for first time this season.
He started sixth and was running eighth when he made his first pit stop for four tires and adjustments under the first caution on lap 21. Austin restarted 10th when the race went green on lap 24. Theriault briefly slipped outside the top 10 on lap 26 but returned to 10th place by lap 55. He continued to climb up the leaderboard and was eighth when he made a scheduled green flag stop on lap 74 for four tires and a round of adjustments and was again scored in 10th after the green flag pit sequence.
The third caution of the race slowed the pace on lap 83 and Theriault restarted seventh when the race went green on lap 86. Austin fell in line ninth after the restart and did a nice job during the run despite a loose handling truck. Theriault was eighth when he made his second green flag stop on lap 124 for four tires and a round of adjustments and cycled out 10th when the stops were complete on lap 132.
After the green flag stop, Theriault ran his fastest lap times of the race, equal to the leaders, and wasted no time working his way through the field. He was eighth by lap 133 and three laps later picked off seventh position. He was up to sixth when the fourth caution slowed the race on lap 147. Theriault made a four tire stop on lap 150 and lined up seventh when the race went green on lap 153.
The fifth and final caution waved on lap 162. Theriault lined up sixth for the final two lap dash to the finish on lap 165. Over the final two laps Theriault raced wheel to wheel with veteran driver Joe Nemechek for fifth place, edging his rival by half a truck length at the checkered flag.
What They Are Saying
Austin Theriault - No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150: "The Cooper Standard Ford F-150 was really fast. It was really fun racing in the top five there at the end. Joe Nemechek was on my left rear and we got really tight out of Turn 2 on the last lap but you've got to hold on. Confidence is huge at these mile-and-a-halfs. We struggled a little bit in practice on Thursday but we leaned on our teammates and that was a big help. I'm really proud of the effort by everyone at Brad Keselowski Racing."
Chad Kendrick - Crew Chief, No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford
F-150: "Austin did a great job. He got a top five in his first start at Texas and you can't ask for much more than that. He learned a ton. You could see the progression from the start of the race to the end and how much better he got. I think he had more competitive passes during the race than anyone else. We struggled on pit road and could not get a smooth pit stop put together so we are grateful for this finish."