BKR Development Driver Sees Through One Of Best Career Efforts
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Austin Theriault capped off a strong weekend in the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 29 Checkered Flag Foundation Dodge Charger with a third-place finish in the Governor’s Cup 200 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., on Saturday, November 17.
Theriault called the effort one of his best – from start to finish – in his year with BKR.
“If you split up a race weekend into three segments – practice, qualifying and the race – I think that would be correct,” said Theriault, whose finish was his best in 10 career starts for BKR dating back to the fall of 2011. “We felt really confident in practice that we were going to have a car that could run for win. In qualifying, there’s still a little bit more on the table that I’m trying to find, and the race went somewhat to our liking.”
Theriault started 11th in the 29-car field after posting the second-fastest lap in final practice, and he drove toward the front early in the going. By Lap 50, he was inside the Top-5 and he finished the first 100-lap segment in second place. From there, the car tightened up a bit on the Fort Kent, Maine, driver – though he never fell outside the Top-5 and was able to post the podium finish.
“We probably could have contended for the win, but everything had to work in our favor. It didn’t quite happen,” Theriault said. “After we bolted on tires, the car was quite a bit tighter. It’s something we didn’t quite expect, so we didn’t adjust for it. We finished where we probably deserved… I think we could have beaten Preston (Peltier) at the end if the race had gone a little longer.”
Theriault finished fourth on the track to Peltier, but Peltier failed post-race technical inspection to give Theriault and the BKR team their first Top-3 finish together.
Now, Theriault sets his sights on trying to qualify for the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., in less than two weeks.
“I’m really proud to be driving for this team,” Theriault said. “I think (the Governor’s Cup 200) was probably the best showing that we’ve had so far. Hopefully, that’s a trend that we can continue and ride the momentum into the Snowball Derby. You’ve really got to be on your game for that one. That weekend’s going to be a tough weekend with a lot of pressure, and luckily we’re continuing to close the gaps we’ve experienced throughout the season and we’re doing it at the right time.
“We’re going into it with a sense of confidence. We’re not over-confident, but we have some confidence and the guys are working really hard at the shop. I spent the week down there before the race, and it’s definitely something they pour their heart out on and you can see the results at the track.”