CORDELE, Ga. – Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, Maine, posted his best career Super Late Model result by finishing eighth in the season-opening CRA Speedfest 200 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Ga., on Sunday, January 29. Theriault started 16th in the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 29 Checkered Flag Foundation Dodge after an engine problem in practice on Friday, and then he used the pit strategy game to post a Top-10 finish in his third career start for BKR. Theriault pitted for right side tires only at the halfway mark of the event, which was won by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, to gain the track position he would maintain until the finish.
WHO: Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, Maine
TEAM: BKR No. 29 Checkered Flag Foundation Dodge
CREW CHIEF: Gary Crooks, Mooresville, N.C.
WHAT: CRA Speedfest 200
WHERE: Watermelon Capital Speedway, Cordele, Ga. (.375-mile banked oval)
AUSTIN, HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR RACE?
“The race went pretty well. The field was very stout, the competition was right there. We decided to take two tires (on the pit stop). I think it was the right call knowing the circumstances that we were given. A couple of other drivers did some different things – Chase Elliott took no tires, a couple up front took four. There's pros and cons to everything.
“On a couple of restarts there, we weren't able to go enough laps before we'd get another caution or two. We got stuck on the outside, and it was tough to find grip on the outside. The guys with four tires on the bottom had the advantage. To come home eighth wasn't too bad. It was a solid Top-10. It was something we can build on, and it was a good showing for BKR.”
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ENGINE DURING FRIDAY'S PRACTICE?
“I think a lot of teams would have just packed up and gone home. The guys are not afraid to work. They stayed up until two in the morning to get the motor in – it just goes to show how they'll never give up.
“We really hadn't made too many laps in practice. From what I can tell, it was just a mechanical failure in the motor. There was no predicting it. It didn't totally destroy. We kind of caught it before it blew up on the track, but we knew it was pretty severe and had to be changed.”
DID THAT SET YOU BACK FOR THE REST OF THE WEEKEND?
“We missed pretty much an hour and a half of practice. That made it a little tougher being that I'd never visited the track before. We still got a decent qualifying run (16th). Obviously, time trialing is still kind of new to me, and I'm learning every time we go to try and time trial. We'll go back to the drawing board and keep working on trying to improve my qualifying efforts.
“To be honest, I think we were all very happy with the finish that we got. The guys – Tyler, Adam and Gary – they worked their butts off trying to get the car back together. I think we were only able to make two practice sessions before the motor blew on Friday.”
Follow Austin Theriault on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/atracing
Follow Austin Theriault on the Web: http://www.austintheriault.com
Follow GWC Motorsports Marketing on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/GWCMotorsports
Follow GWC Motorsports Marketing on Twitter:http://www.Twitter.com/GWCNewEngland