Theriault Ready To Run

Michelle Theriault will drive in the Busch East Series for the North Carolina-based Spraker Racing. (Photo credit: Mike Horne).

A veteran NASCAR Busch East Series owner/driver will field a fleet of cars for a young female driver who will begin her first full season of NASCAR racing next month.

Michelle Theriault of Bristol, Conn., who turns 21 on April 17, will drive Glock-sponsored Chevrolets in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series this year. The series opens with the Greased Lightning 150 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, a .5-mile paved oval in Greenville, S.C. April 28.
Theriault and her sponsor, Glock, Inc., a leading manufacturer of hand guns preferred by law enforcement, joined Spraker Racing of Mooresville, N.C. for the series full schedule of 13 events, plus the postseason NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
Theriault has methodically developed her racing career since starting her career at six-years-old in quarter-midgets at the “Little T” at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway in 1992.
She advanced through Legends cars to Pro Late Models at Lanier National Speedway in Gainesville, Ga. Like Thompson, Lanier is a NASCAR Whelen All American Series track. She also competed in Late Models, Super Late Models and touring Late Models. She also made one NASCAR Grand National Division West Series start in 2005 at Roseburg, Ore.
Prior to the opening of the NASCAR Busch East Series season, Theriault and the new Glock/Spraker team put their efforts on the track for an ARCA race in Lakeland, Fla., in March. Theriault qualified eighth fastest and ran in the top-10 until problems sidelined the effort after a solid 50 laps.
Now the team is focused on the looming NASCAR Busch East Series season opener at Greenville-Pickens.
“We actually start testing our NASCAR Busch East Series car at Greenville-Pickens next week to shake-down the car,” Theriault said. “We’ll probably go there and test one or two times just to get me acclimated to the feel of bias-ply tires because it’s different from what I have been doing. They react a little bit differently. From testing, I’ll be able to get the feel for what those do.
“I’ve tested there once before (in another type of race car), but I’ve never raced there,” she said of the Greenville track. “At least I’ve been there to pretty much know the line and that type of stuff.”
Spraker Racing team owner Jeff Spraker is a familiar name in the NASCAR Busch East Series. A longtime driver with plenty of experience as a driver in the series, he’s also driven in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. He’s also driven in 23 NASCAR Busch Series events and nine NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events. Spraker Racing also builds and repairs a variety of race cars.
“I think Michelle has got a lot of potential,” Spraker said. “She’s shown a lot of promise in testing and the tracks the series is going to fit her style. I think it will be a great experience for Glock, for Michelle, and NASCAR, too.”
The only previous woman to race full-time in the NASCAR Busch East Series was Carey Heath of Essex, Mass., in 2003. Although she missed one race, she finished 17th in the series point race and posted a pair of top-10 finishes. Heath also competed in the inaugural post-season NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway and finished 21st.