MARNE, Mich. – Brad Keselowski Racing development driver Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, Maine, finished sixth in the ARCA/CRA Super Series Battle At Berlin 251 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich., on Saturday, June 15. Theriault qualified inside the Top-10, raced most of the night inside the Top-5 and was battling with the leaders for a podium finish when he pitted for tires with less than 30 laps remaining. After restarting 16th in the field, Theriault gained 10 spots over the final 20 laps to finish sixth for the first Top-10 finish of his career in the marquee early summer race event.
WHO: Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, Maine
TEAM: Brad Keselowski Racing No. 29 Checkered Flag Foundation Ford Fusion
CREW CHIEF: Gary Crooks, Mooresville, N.C.
WHAT: ARCA/CRA Super Series Battle At Berlin 251
WHERE: Berlin Raceway, Marne, Mich. (.438-mile oval)
NEXT RACE: June 22, PASS South 150, Southern National Motorsports Park, Kenly, N.C. (.400-mile banked oval)
AUSTIN, WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE FINAL PIT STOP?
It felt like I had a right front tire going down. We debated it, and I debated it myself. I wasn’t sure. It wasn’t one of those things where we made the quick decision to come in and change it – we talked about what to do there. I thought I knew what I was feeling, but it turned out to not be a flat, and we ended up giving up all that track position. With 20 to go, it screwed up everything we had done well all day.
Kicking ourselves over it is not going to help or make us run better next time. But I can learn from what happened last time and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
ASIDE FROM THAT, IT SEEMED LIKE YOUR RACE DAY WENT ACCORDING TO PLAN.
I’m definitely proud of the effort all weekend. We unloaded and I thought we were about equal to where we had been. We struggled a couple of weeks before when we were at Berlin for a race, and the car felt similar – but we made some changes at the shop before we even unloaded. We had a plan. The plan was to make the car better and work on getting comfortable and having long run speed without dropping off.
We executed it. Things were going well, and we found some speed. I felt confident. I knew we had one of best cars we’ve ever had there. It’s just unfortunate. We ran in the Top-5, qualified in Top-10, raced up front with those guys. But we just weren’t able to execute the whole race. There’s a lot of A lot ‘ifs,’ but we recovered well from pitting with 20 to go.
DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WIN?
We might not have had anything for (the race winner), but we were going to be right there to capitalize if anything were to happen to him. We’ve seen that before. You can’t get worked up on Lap 50 because someone is quicker than you, you know that a lot of things still have to play out.
I know that we were in good position to capitalize if there had been an opportunity.