October 14, 2019 Fort Kent racer hopes Sunday superspeedway race might provide a shot at NASCAR success
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault had a lot of success on superspeedways en route to his ARCA Series championship in 2017, and he hope that will continue on Sunday in the Monster Energy Cup Series.
Theriault’s fifth race of the season for Rick Ware Racing comes at 2 p.m. Sunday in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. On Oct. 20, he will jump into another Ware car, the No. 52, for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Talladega is one of two super speedways in the series, along with Daytona International Speedway. In 2017, Theriault picked up one of his seven ARCA race wins at Daytona and was fourth at Talladega.
“I feel like I’ve always been pretty good at the superspeedways, and I think the statistics show that,” the 25-year-old Theriault said.
One of the key dynamics a superspeedway race is how the high likelihood of at least one multi-car crash it can break up the expected hierarchy of racing. With cars bunched up and drafting at more than 200 mph, it doesn’t take much for a pileup.
Twenty-one cars were caught up in accidents at the Daytona 500 this season, and 12 more were swallowed up at the earlier Talladega race.
Theriault is driving for an underfunded team and won’t have the speed of the big-name teams, but it is not necessarily a big deal at the superspeedways.
“There is usually a lot of attrition in these races, Our game is not the same as the top teams with all of their money and resources,” Theriault said. “We want to be in position to pick up scraps at the end of the race and take advantage of other teams’ misfortunes. I’ll need to stay out of trouble [until then].”
The Florida-based Jacob Companies are the primary sponsor for the No. 51 Ford with Bangor Savings Bank serving as the associate sponsor. Bangor Savings Bank is the primary sponsor for the No. 52 at Kansas.
Theriault’s car will feature a patriot paint scheme to honor the late Roger Haynes, who is known for driving Ray’s Big Rig with a giant American flag during Talladega Superspeedway pre-race festivities.
In his four previous Monster Energy Cup races this season, he finished 35th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, 34th at Pocono Raceway and 32nd at Michigan International Speedway and Richmond Raceway.
He last raced Sept. 21 at Richmond.