Theriault Ready For Sophomore Ride In Oxford 250


FORT KENT, Maine – In a 2010 season full of learning experiences for a rookie on the ACT Late Model Tour, perhaps the greatest lesson came in a non-ACT event.

Austin Theriault had high hopes for his inaugural appearance at the TD Bank Oxford 250, but when things didn’t go according to plan for the now 17-year-old driver from Fort Kent, Maine, he decided that a new approach was needed.

This Sunday, in New England’s marquee $25,000-to-win summer classic at historic Oxford Plains Speedway, Theriault is ready for his breakout performance.

“Being the new team that we were last year, just getting the experience of running the Oxford 250 was huge,” said Theriault, who will drive the No. 57 Varney Insurance Ford. “It definitely is a pressure-cooker. The ‘250’ is the biggest event in the northeast. Everyone’s watching – press, media, fans, other teams.

“It turns heads around the country.”

Theriault has done the same. He enjoyed a breakout rookie season on the ACT Tour in 2010, finishing seventh in the overall standings with five Top-5 finishes in just10 starts. He parlayed that success into a ride with 7-time Tour champion RPM Motorsports, a team owned by Rick Paya of Georgia, Vt., and already fielding cars for 7-time ACT champion Brian Hoar.

There’s little doubt that Theriault views the Oxford 250 as his chance to continue making a name for himself in racing circles. A second-place finish in a 40-lap weekly Late Model race at the track last weekend only served as added motivation.”

“I really think we can get it done with this car,” Theriault said. “I’m pretty confident in the way in treated me last Saturday.”

But having a good car and a good driver are only parts of the equation on Oxford 250 day, and that’s what Theriault took away from last year’s event, where a fast race car and his experience at Oxford Plains were left on the sidelines when the main event took the green flag.

“Last year, we went in Saturday (for practice) and had a good car, and I think Sunday we were over-confident. I think that’s what can bite you in a big race like this,” Theriault said. “There are 80 or 90 guys that are trying to beat you and get into that race, too. Last year, that’s what we learned. We’re trying not to forget where we came from last year.

“Compared to last year, we’re probably going in a little more confident in that we know we can compete at this level. The guys working with us, they’re more confident, too. We’re all growing together as a team.

“We’re going to have some fun, no matter what happens. We’ve got a decent shot at least to be right there. I don’t want to throw out numbers – but I would say I’d be disappointed to go and not run good there this weekend.”