Tough End To Strong Speedfest Run For Theriault
Accident Collects BKR Driver While Running Inside The Top-5

CORDELE, Ga. – Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, Maine, saw a promising run get collected in someone else’s mess as he finished 13th in the ARCA/CRA Super Series Speedfest 200 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Ga., on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Theriault was among the fastest cars in two days of practice on the .400-mile oval, qualified inside the Top-10 in the 32-car field and was leading with less than 70 laps remaining in the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 29 Checkered Flag Foundation Ford Fusion when troubles hit. A broken throttle spring left him with only a quarter-throttle before a timely caution flag flew, after which he marched back inside the Top-5 only to get turned from behind in Turn 3 and effectively take him out of contention.

“I was really encouraged with the way the weekend progressed,” said Theriault, who enters his second full season with BKR. “I thought we did a pretty decent job of staying on top of the track all weekend. We had a decent qualifying effort, and I thought we had a pretty good shot at (winning). Judging by how things went last year for us as a team, this was probably our best shot at winning a race.

“Even with the way it ended, it was encouraging to come out as strong as we were this weekend.”

Theriault paced himself over the first half of the two-segment race. He lined up to start the final 100-lap segment in fifth place on the grid after a two-tire pit stop. By Lap 135, he had taken over the lead.

That track position proved to be crucial on a day where it was notoriously tough to pass under green flag conditions. Even after fixing the throttle issue and staying on the lead lap, Theriault couldn’t avoid the carnage that dotted the final third of the event.

“As much of a wreckfest as that race was, it was almost impossible to avoid all of them,” Theriault said. “We ended up getting collected and getting into someone else’s (accident). It tore the fenders off it and wrecked the car, so we fixed it as best we could and just rode around, making circles. A Top-15 isn’t horrible, but it’s definitely not what we were capable of or deserved.

“All in all, it was a very productive weekend. We’re building communication every week, every time (crew chief Gary Crooks) and I go to the track. That was one of the things we set as a goal for this year, and I feel like it was better than last year, and that was some of the reason I felt we had a chance to win this weekend. Everything was clicking pretty decent.”

Theriault returns to the seat of the BKR No. 29 Ford on March 15 for a PASS South Series race at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway.

“I’m really encouraged,” he said. “We’re capable of good things this year.”