By Ernie Clark, Bangor Daily News Staff
Austin Theriault will be in the field for his second straight NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race this weekend at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.
The Fort Kent native is one of 38 drivers entered in Sunday’s Gander RV 400, set to start at 3:12 p.m. and televised on the NBC Sports Network
Theriault will be one of three entries representing Rick Ware Racing and is guaranteed a starting position because fewer than 40 cars are signed up for the Pocono race.
His No. 52 Ford will be sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank and Trick Shot Penetrating Lubricant.
Other Rick Ware Racing entries for the second Pocono Cup race of the year are the No. 51 Ford driven by B.J. McLeod and the No. 53 Chevrolet driven by Josh Bilicki.
Theriault is familiar with Pocono Speedway, having raced to three top-10 finishes in the ARCA series at the 2.5-mile tri-oval known as the “tricky triangle.”
Theriault finished fourth in the 2015 ModSpace 125, then was ninth in the June 2017 General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 and eighth a month later in that year’s ModSpace 150.
Theriault went on to win the 2017 season-long ARCA championship.
The 25-year-old Theriault became the first Maine driver to race in NASCAR’s top division since Ricky Craven in 2004 last Sunday in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
He started 36th in the 37-car field and finished 35th after dropping out of the race on Lap 185 with rear gear mechanical problems. That ended a weekend that began with a brief opening practice on Friday after his car needed a steering box replaced.
It wasn’t until Theriault’s qualifying attempt that he ran a lap at full speed at NHMS.
The Fort Kent Community High School graduate is scheduled to participate in two Cup practice sessions at Pocono on Saturday morning, the first from 9:05 to 9:55 and the second from 11:05 to 11:55.
Pocono Cup qualifying is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Saturday.
After racing at Pocono, Theriault is scheduled to return to Maine next weekend to race in the Firecracker 200 at Spud Speedway in Caribou on Aug. 4.