Auto racing: Austin Theriault eyes opportunity at NASCAR’s pinnacle stage in 2019

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Almost years after his full-time closing season as a driver came to an give up with a championship, Austin Theriault should make his debut at NASCAR’s pinnacle stage this season. The 25-12 months-antique Fort Kent native is close to finalizing a plan to compete in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series on a part-time foundation in 2019, starting with the series’ July 21 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He could power a second car for GoFas Racing; the crew owned using Old Orchard Beach native Archie St. Hilaire. Theriault, who has in no way competed for complete-time in any of NASCAR’s three countrywide collections, gained seven of 20 races en course to the 2017 ARCA Racing Series championship. If he were to qualify for a race at NASCAR’s maximum stage, he would grow to be the primary Maine driving force to achieve this considering that Ricky Craven finished thirtieth in a race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama in October 2004. This season, Theriault is competing part-time for Ricky Benton Racing within the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. After failing to qualify for the season-establishing race at Daytona remaining month, Theriault

hopes to be within the field for the Truck Series’ race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. “It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to race inside the Cup series,” Theriault stated Wednesday from Charlotte, North Carolina. “I’m closer than ever to creating a Cup start. There’s still stuff that has to take place behind the scenes, and we’re still finalizing some offers with a few agencies (for sponsorship). However, there’s a danger.” GoFas Racing fields Cup automobiles for Corey LaJoie, the son of -time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie. After numerous element-time seasons of opposition with some other crew, LaJoie is making his first strive at a complete season in 2019. He finished a season-high-quality 18th in the Daytona 500. Switching from Ford Fusions to Ford Mustangs before this season allowed St. Hilaire to entertain the possibility of fielding a 2d vehicle out of the GoFas solid, due to the fact his organization is now putting our bodies in-residence for the primary time and has masses of Mustangs in inventory. “I’m seeking to flow this system up against the ladder and additionally help some more youthful guys out,” St. Hilaire said. “I’ve always had a tender spot for men from Maine. I assume it’s too awful that a motive force like Austin wins an ARCA championship after which can’t discover a journey anywhere.

“If you are taking cash off the desk, he’d rank proper there with a number of the excellent drivers accessible.” The plan now could be for Theriault to race in 4 races this season. St. Hilaire and Theriault insisted they have been not interested in one-race deals, nor might limiting Theriault’s possibility to only four races this season — although St. Hilaire stated that races in New Hampshire, Michigan, Richmond, and Talladega made the maximum experience as a start line. “We’re attempting for four races,” St. Hilaire stated. “I think each person’s constructive for greater than that, but I’d say we may want to do that and be midway respectable. I advised Austin, ‘If you need to do it, I’ll assist you out.’” This might no longer be Theriault’s first time driving for St. Hilaire. Theriault received a “Maine Young Guns” opposition in 2012 to earn himself a beginner in a vehicle owned by way of St. Hilaire for a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire. He finished 19th in that occasion, his first in the collection, while additionally triumphing his first ACT Late Model Tour race that season — at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough — en path to a 2nd instantly third-region end inside the ACT standings that season. “We began talking about this at the start of the yr,” Theriault said. “There’s no other automobile proprietor from Maine in that collection, and there’s no other driver at the national ranges from there, both. We’ve usually stayed in touch. We had a verbal exchange where we realized I’ve been at this for some time and had some successes and my fair proportion of struggles, too … and I don’t recognize everyone else I’d paintings instead with.”