MOVING IN: Theriault Finds New Home For Sophomore Season
Second-Year ACT Driver Joins RPM Motorsports With High Hopes

FORT KENT, Maine – Austin Theriault has garnered so much attention and so many accolades on the ACT Late Model Tour, sometimes you have to remind yourself that he’s just a 17-year-old high school student with just one year of ACT experience.

Theriault, however, doesn’t need to be reminded.

“I’m still learning as a driver, and I’m still making improvements every race,” Theriault said.

Just over a week away from the 2011 ACT season opener at Lee USA Speedway, Theriault is anxious to get things started. That’s not a surprise, considering his new home for the season will be with RPM Motorsports – an organization that’s won seven of the last eight ACT championships, including the last two with Brian Hoar behind the wheel.

Theriault will drive the No. 57 Varney Insurance Ford for team owner Rick Paya, with Hoar as his teammate.

“I’m really anxious to get started with the new team,” Theriault said. “It’s a huge opportunity that they’ve given me as a new driver. Having Brian and Rick both as mentors is going to be huge.”

Paya has said all along that he noticed something early in Theriault while Theriault raced for his family-owned team as a rookie in 2010. Theriault finished an impressive seventh in the overall 2010 ACT standings with five Top-10 finishes in 10 starts, including a career-best second at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway last July.

“He had an awesome first year. We’re going to hopefully have an even better year this year,” Paya said. “It’s finding that fine line for him now. I think he definitely has some talent, and in the right equipment I think he’s really going to shine. It’s going to be a great learning experience for him this season.”

Theriault is hoping that “experience” is the key word. One area where he’s hoping to see the biggest impact of being in the RPM stable is early on in race day – hoping that better preparation will lead to better qualifying efforts and, thusly, better race finishes.

“Last year we had good equipment, but this year we’re going to have knowledge and proven winning experience with Brian and Rick,” Theriault said. “Every race is different. I think last year, we started out OK as a new team, and we were getting better and better every week. We kind of topped out at Beech Ridge. I guess you go through a struggle at some point every year and at the end of last year, we kind of had that struggle.

“Qualifying will be a big step for us. Don’t get me wrong, our cars were great last year. But I think we’ll unload off the trailer better now, because Rick has setups down pat. We won’t be scrambling from track to track, and that will really help our qualifying.”

Paya’s goals for the No. 57 teams are modest ones.

“I’d like to see him and the team get Top-10s,” Paya said. “With Top-10s, Top-5s will come. They’re stepping stones. For Austin, a goal of mine would be to keep the fenders on it every week and be aggressive with it and bring home results.”

The one result that’s missing from Theriault’s resume?

“Getting that first win, obviously,” Theriault said. “Points just kind of add up along the year as you’re running well. Wherever we end up, we end up. But I’m really looking forward to getting that first win, more podium finishes, etc.

“But first of all, it’s just about jelling with the team as a whole. Jelling with Brian. Getting used to the rhythm that they’ve found to be successful. That’s something to shoot for – shoot for what Brian does as a driver and what Rick does as a mentor. I think that will be important for me this year.”