FORT KENT, Maine – Austin Theriault of Fort Kent Maine joins the rest of the ACT Late Model Tour when the series opens its season with the NH Governor’s Cup 150 at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H., on Sunday, April 15. Theriault has two Top-10 finishes in two career starts at the track – and coming off a sophomore season in which he finished third in the final ACT standings in 2011, the 18-year-old Brad Keselowski Racing development driver hopes he another strong run at the .375-mile oval can start his season off on the right foot.
WHO: Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, Maine
TEAM: AT Racing No. 57 Pelletier Ford/Varney Insurance Ford Fusion
CREW CHIEF: Mickey Green, South Paris, Maine
BEST CAREER LEE USA SPEEDWAY FINISH: 7th (April 2011)
LAST RACE AT LEE USA SPEEDWAY: 7th (April 2011)
WHAT: ACT Late Model Tour NH Governor’s Cup 150
WHERE: Lee USA Speedway, Lee, N.H. (.375-mile oval)
WHEN: 2 p.m., Sunday, April 15
ACT LATE MODEL TOUR
NEXT RACE: Sunday, April 29, Merchants Bank 150, Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre, Vt. (.25-mile oval)
FINAL 2011 POINTS POSITION: 3rd
DID YOU KNOW?
Austin Theriault has posted Top-5 finishes in each of his last six ACT Late Model Tour starts dating back to July of last season.
Austin Theriault has competed in two Super Late Model races this year for Brad Keselowski Racing, most recently finishing seventh in The Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway in March.
Austin Theriault will graduate from Fort Kent Community High School this June.
Austin Theriault continues to take flying lessons as he pursues his own pilot’s license.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
AUSTIN THERIAULT, Driver of the AT Racing No. 57 Pelletier Ford/Varney Insurance Ford, On returning to ACT Late Model Tour competition this weekend: “Obviously, I’m really looking forward to the beginning of the ACT season. Over the offseason, we’ve been able to put together a pretty good team. It’s remained pretty much the same, other than adding a couple of people here and there. We’ve targeted our weak spots, and we’ve improved on them.
“I’m not going to make outrageous predictions. I’m the kind of guy, I don’t like to set the expectations so high that if something goes wrong it sets us off in a bad position for the rest of the year. But I’m very confident. As a team, we’re capable of finishing Top-5 every week. I really think this is our time to shine. I’m usually pretty humble, but I’m looking forward to getting off to a good start.”
On racing at Lee USA Speedway: “It’s important to have a good car in the long run at Lee. Some other tracks are different from that, but that’s the biggest thing at Lee. We’ve been pretty consistent there the past couple of times. There’s a little bit of room to improve. We definitely don’t have the track mastered by any means, but I think we can come off the first race feeling pretty good and use it as launching pad to get us going for the rest of the year.”
On how racing with BKR this winter has helped him as a driver: “To be honest, it’s been a learning experience with that. Usually, I’m very patient. That’s something I’m working on as far as the Super Late Models go – knowing when to save the tires and when to maybe get a little more aggressive. But taking care of the equipment is one of our strong points with these (Late Model) cars.”
MICKEY GREEN, Crew chief on the AT Racing No. 57 Pelletier Ford/Varney Insurance Ford, On getting the season started at Lee USA Speedway: “The track puts on a good race with these Late Models. The track has no grip, so it’s all a lot of setup and driver. Some places where the setup isn’t so good, you might do all right with it. There’s a lot of good crews and drivers down there. Some races at Lee (in other divisions), it can be a freight train – but with these cars, they can find both grooves. It’s two-groove race there, which is nice.”
On how he feels heading into the season opener: “I’m really confident. The first year we went to Lee, we didn’t really expect anything – it was the first time I’d been there as a crew chief and the first time Austin had been there. I think Austin has really learned to drive that track. The biggest thing I’m excited about – I know we have great cars – is the experience he’s gained racing down south. Him learning when to be aggressive and when not to be aggressive, it’s going to be key to our year.”
The ACT Late Model Tour heads to its up at Thunder Road International Speedbowl for the Merchants Bank 150 on Sunday, April 29… Austin Theriault debuted at Thunder Road in 2010 with a seventh-place finish in the VT Governor’s Cup 100, a finish that Thunder Road owner called the best debut by a driver at Thunder Road since Dave Dion first raced there.
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