Theriault will run the complete ACT Late Model Tour schedule in 2012 as he chases his first career Tour championship, while the 17-year-old will also run more than half a dozen Super Late Model events as a development driver for Brad Keselowski Racing.
“We've had all kinds of good opportunities in the last couple of years and learned from all of them,” said Theriault, who made his debut with BKR in the World Crown 300 at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga., last November. "I know it all has happened fast, but I feel everything happens for a reason and I'm ready for the challenge.
“I'm really looking forward to this season."
Theriault, who finished third in the final 2011 ACT Late Model Tour standings after posting six straight Top-5 finishes to close out the season, will attempt all ACT points races this year with his family-owned AT Racing No. 57 Ford.
“We're really putting all our efforts into going after the title," said Mickey Green, crew chief of the No. 57. "That's the main goal for us on the ACT side. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off last year.”
Theriault will begin his 2012 season in the BKR No. 29 at Lanier (Ga.) National Speedway in the CRA-sanctioned Speedfest 200 on Jan. 28-29. He also has plans to run The Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway in March, the Rowdy 251 in Berlin, Michigan, in June, as well as both ends of the famed Snowball Derby – both the Super Late Model and Pro Late Model events – in December as part of his schedule with BKR.
BKR is owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Brad Keselowski.
“It's definitely a huge opportunity to spread your wings and head down south for these Super Late Model races, to get some seat time with those guys." Theriault said. “We did a couple races at the end of last year for BKR and look forward to expanding on what we've been able to accomplish in the ACT Tour in the last few years.
“I'm trying to climb the ladder. We've been given a huge opportunity now and we're going to see where it takes us. I wouldn't be able to be successful without the help of my 57 crew and all the guys that I've worked with at BKR."
Green, who has worked as Theriault's crew chief on the Late Model side since Theriault's rookie season in ACT in 2010, believes that Theriault can head as far as he wants.
“I look at him as a Ryan Moore type,” Green said, noting another Maine native and ACT graduate who has driven in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and worked for a number of Sprint Cup Series organizations. “Austin's equally as good, if not better. Sometimes he doesn't give himself enough credit for how good he really is.”
Theriault hopes to add two things to his racing resume this season – a run for the series championship and a victory in one of the country's premier short-track events in the South. It's one of the reasons he made sure his schedule allowed enough room for all ACT points races as well as some of the bigger Super Late Model shows in the nation down south.
“Last year was a good example of how we can adapt to different obstacles and threaten for a win, and we came close a couple times (in ACT races),” Theriault said. “Over the winter, we've taken everything we've learned to try and make things better for this season. Championships will come, but we've got to win some races, too.
“I think we've obviously taken steps in that direction.”
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