Fort Kent native Austin Theriault had a memorable 2017 season for Ken Schrader Racing in the ARCA Racing Series and he is hoping to build on that momentum in a more prominent series this season.
He has not yet landed a ride.
Last season, Theriault cruised to the ARCA championship, winning by 300 points over runner-up Dalton Sargeant. He registered a series-leading seven victories among his 16 top-five finishes in 20 races. He had 12 top-threes including seven in a row before his car blew a tire in the final race and he finished 25th.
He became the first driver in 65 years of ARCA to win on all of the series’ track types and disciplines in a single season.
“We accomplished a lot last year. We blew our own expectations out of the water,” said Theriault.
“But it’s time for me to move up and create an opportunity back in NASCAR. Ultimately, that’s where I want to be,” added Theriault, referring to the Sprint Cup, Xfinity or Camping World Truck Series.
He has six Xfinity and 11 Truck races under his belt but he has yet to race in Sprint Cup.
Theriault had an impressive stint in the truck series in 2015 for Brad Keselowski Racing although it was interrupted by a crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway which sidelined him for four races due to a compression fracture in his back.
He had signed on for 13 races and posted two top-fives and four top-10 in the nine races he ran.
“What I’m doing now is trying to find sponsorship in order to continue racing,” said Theriault on Tuesday, 12 days before the Daytona 500 which opens the Sprint Cup season.
A Truck race kicks off the Daytona weekend on Feb. 16, followed by an Xfinity opener the next day and the 500 on Feb. 18.
He is optimistic that he will land a ride soon.
“I feel like there is a lot of potential out there, there are some good opportunities,” said the 24-year-old Theriault. “The economy is doing well and companies are looking for ways to diversify and connect with fans and other businesses. That’s taking up a lot of my time right now.
“There are a lot of people behind the scenes that are trying to make it happen for me and I’m thankful for that. (Former Sprint Cup driver) Ken Schrader is a huge part of that. Hopefully, he can help connect the dots for me,” added Theriault.
He is confident that he can be successful in any series.
“I’m just waiting for the right opportunity, whether it’s a team that’s trying to get better or one that is already a championship contender. I’m looking for the right fit,” said Theriault.
He would love to be racing during the Daytona weekend but says it isn’t likely.
“But I’m long-term. One race isn’t going to make or break my career,” he said.
Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.