AUDIO/FEATURE: Austin Theriault Impresses In Truck Debut; Advances Learning Curve Following Daytona

Marshall Gabell Audio, Featured, NASCAR, Northeast, Southeast 0 Comments

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Story by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlanta Correspondent Marshall Gabell – Performance Motorsports Network audio – John Harrelson/NKP photo via Austin Theriault Racing –

Fourth may not have been the ultimate result that Brad Keselowski Racing rookie Austin Theriault wanted leaving Daytona International Speedway two weeks ago, but the Fort Kent, Maine native still had a certain satisfaction following the conclusion of Budweiser Speedweeks 2015.

Theriault, who competed in three NASCAR XFINITY Series races with JR Motorsports last season, pushed his teammate Tyler Reddick to the win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Daytona and scored that fourth place finish in both his debut on a restrictor plate track and his debut in the series – an impressive run for the rising star.

“We had a really great run down there,” Theriault explained. “It would have been cool to get a one-two run for Brad Keselowski (Racing), but a top five finish is really positive momentum heading into the season.”

Despite Daytona being his first appearance in the national spotlight, Theriault has shined before, dominating on short tracks across the east coast and triumphing in the ARCA Racing Series last season at Michigan.

But even with success in the development ranks, Theriault has had to struggle to secure a full-time ride in the national series ranks, something that hit him hard following the 2012 season.

Keselowski, who fielded cars for Theriault in the Super Late Model ranks, ended his team’s short track program two seasons ago, a move he made to focus more on the Truck Series, but also a decision that left Theriault ride-less and sparked his jump to JR Motorsports.

“At the end of the 2013 season, Brad (Keselowski) shut down his Super Late Model program that I had been a part of,” Theriault said. “He just decided to focus on the Truck Series and not the Super Late models, so that’s why you saw me go to JR Motorsports last season.”

However, following his resurgence late last season, Keselowski and Theriault reestablished their partnership, an agreement that put Theriault in Brad Keselowski Racing’s No. 29 in the Truck Series part-time this season.

“Now that Ryan (Blaney) is moving up, that opened up a seat in the No. 29 Truck (for BKR) and I am just so fortunate to be in this position now,” Theriault expressed. “I am running an awesome truck for an awesome team.”

With some seat time, Theriault now looks to make this a learning curve season and continue to show growth – a curve that will come much easier with mentoring from veterans like Keselowski and Joey Logano (who will also wheel the No. 29 Truck alongside Theriault).

“I think any driver will admit that when they go to the racetrack they are probably learning something new,” Theriault said. “I am no different in that respect. I want to learn from these guys. The biggest thing is to just gain more seat time and understand more about these 1.5-mile tracks and faster tracks.”

“We all get to a point where we have to move on from (short tracks) and go outside our comfort zone and go faster on these (bigger) tracks. And what better way to make the learning curve go quicker than by working with veterans (like Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski).”

 

Listen in to an extended cut of Race Chaser Online’s interview with Austin Theriault from last Thursday’s edition of the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show below:

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