By Don Radebaugh, ARCA Racing Series
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship leader Austin Theriault is three races away from the national championship. The Fort Kent, Maine driver doesn't have it mathematically locked up yet, but it's a done-deal for ARCA's Short Track championship. After earning his third consecutive ARCA win at Salem, and sixth of the season, Theriault has clinched the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge championship for 2017.
"I'm humbled and honored to be ARCA's Sioux Chief Short Track champion," said Theriault. "We worked very hard on our short track program this year. We weren't always the best car, but we figured out a way to be there in the end…to be in contention for the wins. It's been a complete team effort. I'm so proud of this Ken Schrader Racing team. They don't give up and they keep coming back for more. It's just an honor to race with guys that want to win as badly as you do.
"Special thanks to Sioux Chief for sponsoring the award. For me, there's a lot of personal pride that goes with the Short Track championship. I think everybody pretty much knows that if you're running up front on a short track, you're in a good car and you're always up on the wheel. The short tracks tend to put a little more back into the driver's hands…you can control your own destiny a little more."
Theriault won four short track races this year, starting with Elko Speedway in early June. He also won at Madison, DuQuoin and Salem. His other short track finishes include runner-up runs at Iowa and Springfield, a third at Winchester, a pair of fourth-place finishes at Nashville and Lucas Oil, a fifth at Salem and a sixth at Toledo, giving him an average short track finish of 2.7 on the season.
The Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge championship is another championship within the overall season championship, an accumulation of points from all of ARCA's short tracks, deemed one mile in length or less. The Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge championship pays a $10,500 point fund at the end of the year.
Dalton Sargeant finished second in Sioux Chief Short Track points, followed by Gus Dean, Christian Eckes and Shane Lee. All will be receiving Short Track Challenge cash payouts in the year-end championship awards banquet in Indianapolis December 9.
The Ken Schrader Racing team also leads the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge points headed to the next event on tour, the SCOTT 150 Thursday night at Chicagoland Speedway. Theriault's crew chief Donnie Richeson leads the Cometic Crew Chief of the Year standings. Theriault has already secured the Bill France 4 Crown championship for 2017.