Austin Theriault is unlike many aspiring stock car drivers. Being born and raised in a small town in northern Maine may not seem like the place to start racing, but Theriault proves that success on the track can come from anywhere. In his young career he has risen from racing at this local race track to running in NASCAR's top divisions, the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series. In 2017, Theriault was crowned the ARCA Racing Series Champion with seven wins.
Theriault's racing story began in the summer of 2007 when he turned his first laps at Spud Speedway in Caribou, Maine at age 13. Though the Theriault family had years of experience in various motorsports endeavors stock car racing was a new experience. The long winters in northern Maine provided Theriault, his grandfather, and his father ample time to learn about building and setting up race cars. Shortly after hitting the track Theriault began running out front and competing for wins and championships.
The true showcase of Theriault's natural skill on the track came only one week after purchasing his first V6 powered late model stock car when he captured the win at the inaugural Spud 150. A couple of months later Theriault qualified for his first American-Canadian Late Model Tour (ACT) race at Oxford Plains Speedway (Oxford, ME) and went on to lead a few laps amongst some of the best racers in New England.
From 2010 through 2013 Theriault raced over 20 races per year throughout New England and the United States, including two years as a Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) super late model development driver. Theriault amassed 7 wins in large races and numerous top-five and top-ten finishes.
Theriault currently holds the record of being the youngest driver to get a podium finish in the TD Bank 250, a historic New England race held at Oxford Plains Speedway. During this time Theriault raced on his first NASCAR track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Loudon, NH), in both his late model and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
At each new track Theriault won over new fans with his easygoing nature and positive attitude at meet-and-greets and autographs sessions around the country. After graduating from high school as a member of the National Honors Society in 2012 Theriault moved to North Carolina to continue his professional racing career.
In 2014, Theriault's performance caught the eye of JR Motorsports, owned by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. The team approached Theriault to race 3 NASCAR Xfinity Series races in the No. 5 car, including New Hampshire Motor Speedway--Theriault's "home track" on the NASCAR circuit.
In between Xfinity Series races Theriault kept racing in the ARCA/CRA Super Series and Pro All Stars Series with his super late model team. Aside from experiencing his first taste of racing in one of NASCAR's top series, Theriault's best highlight of 2014 was winning the Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway (Brooklyn, MI) in his first ARCA Series start with Venturini Motorsports.
2015 began with the announcement that Theriault would be driving 13 races for BKR in the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) with his first start coming in the season opening race at Daytona International Speedway. Once again, Theriault gave the fans a great show leading some laps and running in the front pack finishing the race in 4th place.
Theriault focused all of his efforts to learn as much as he could from his new team, often traveling to races even when he wasn't driving. The extra time with the team paid off when Theriault took over the truck for the final 9 races of the season. Each week the truck got better and Theriault showed his ability to successfully compete in NCWTS.
It seemed only a matter of a couple of weeks before Theriault would be on the podium or win his first NCWTS race, but a hard head-on crash with a non-SAFER Barrier covered wall at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) sidelined Theriault with a lower back compression fracture. With just a few races left to the season, Theriault listened to his doctors and spent numerous hours in rehab while the fractures healed.
Theriault's determination to get back in the No. 29 truck saw him return for the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Homestead, FL). It didn't take long for Theriault to get back into rhythm, finishing the season with 2 top-fives, 4 top-tens, and a 12th place finish just 6 weeks after the crash at LVMS.
The 2016 season started out with Theriault joining Hattori Racing to race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He competed in 11 races capturing six top-fives and 13 top-tens, including a third place finish in his first road course start at Virginia International Raceway. Theriault also competed in two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and three Xfinity Series races. In November 2016, Theriault was voted in by fans as the Most Popular Driver for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
2017 was a breakout season for Theriault who drove the No. 52 for Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) in the ARCA Racing Series (ARCA). The full-time effort was his first since racing in New England.
Working with a dedicated crew and veteran crew chief Donnie Richeson, Theriault won the season opening race at Daytona International Speedway. Yet, the win was only the beginning. He and the KSR team continued to improve their performance in each race through late nights in the shop and a "never give up" attitude. Their dedication paid off with a final count of seven wins, 16 top-fives, and 19 top-tens in 20 starts.
Theriault's consistency marked his place in ARCA history as the only driver to win on a short track, superspeedway, dirt track, and road course in one season. In the end, Theriault was crowned the 2017 ARCA Champion. In addition to the overall championship, Theriault captured the Bill France Four Crown, General Tire Superspeedway Challenge, Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge, and the S&S Volvo Laps Completed special awards.
Outside of the track, Theriault earned his Private Pilot's License on his 20th birthday and enjoys continuing his aviation studies. Racing stock cars is a demanding sport, and Theriault keeps up an active lifestyle through running, gym workouts, and mountain biking. Theriault also enjoys keeping up on current events and reading.
Theriault is busy preparing for the 2018 season and hopes to be move up into the NASCAR series on a full-time or part-time basis.