By: Paul Arute
(Stafford Springs, CT)— Fort Kent, Maine native and part time driver in the Camping World Truck Series for Brad Keselowski Racing, Austin Theriault, will make his Stafford Speedway debut this Friday in the K&N Pro Series East Stafford 150. Austin will pilot the #1 Hattori Racing Enterprises car owned by Shigeaki Hattori with backing from Barry Equipment out of Webster Massachusetts. Theriault is excited to be back racing in New England.
“It’s good to have the K&N cars back and I’m excited the race is in New England. It’s always good to support racing in my home region and it’s always nice to go back and visit the local short tracks,” explained Theriault. “It’s good to have a show at Stafford and I’ll have a chance to see a lot of family and friends.”
After getting his start in racing at the young age of 13 driving at Spud Speedway in upstate Maine, Theriault’s career quickly took off by winning multiple big events in the New England Late Model ranks and joining the Brad Keselowski Racing Super Late Model development program. A shining moment came after an impressive showing as a rookie in the Oxford Plains 250 including leading multiple laps. From there Theriault joined JR Motorsports as a development driver and eventually landed a 15-race deal with the Brad Keselowski Racing in the Camping World truck series during 2015 season.
After a very successful 2015 season notching 2 top fives and 2 top tens, Theriault has joined Hattori Racing Enterprises for the 2016 K&N Pro Series East season.
“It’s been an interesting year for us so far. For Ryan Truex and myself, being a part of HRE has been a positive experience for both of us, we’re both at a point where we’re thankful for every opportunity given to us,” said Theriault. “The team has been around for a while but we’re digging our heels in and we’re getting stronger as we go race to race through the season. We’re making progress every race and we’re getting to a point where we can run with the teams that have a bit more resources. Hopefully this weekend will be the weekend everything comes together and pays off for us.”
Just as nearly all the other drivers in the K&N Pro Series East, Stafford will be a new track for Theriault.
“From my standpoint I’m sure there will be crew chiefs that have been a part of teams at Stafford in the past,” said Theriault. “I know there’s some drivers I’ve talked to who have driven K&N cars at Stafford, so there’s an abundance of information out there. I don’t think any of us will have had track time at Stafford so that will even things out for a while but the cream will rise to the top, it always does. The top teams will find a way to be fast at the end of the night.”
Drivers will have the opportunity to get some track time on the half-mile the evening before the Stafford 150 in conjunction with the WEEI K&N Pro Series Fan Experience. All K&N teams will hold an open practice followed by an opportunity to meet and greet fans.
“The practice is going to be real important,” said Theriault. “We can shoot big and try a lot of things that we would normally be afraid to try on a race day. I’m sure we’ll come up with a lot of hits and I’m sure we’ll have some misses but days like this give us an opportunity to miss without any consequences.”
At the end of the day Theriault is on a mission to get his first career K&N Pro Series win and where better to do it than in front of his family and friends at Stafford.
“Stafford is one of the closest tracks we have to Maine and if we could win the 150 that would be huge for us. Where we’re at as a team I think everything is pointing to us running better and competing for wins and the sooner we can make that happen, the better off we’ll be.”
The WEEI 105.5FM Fan Experience will be open FREE of charge to race fans on Thursday, June 16. There will be a test and tune session from 3pm-6:30pm and at the conclusion of the practice, Stafford Speedway will open its paddock area to allow race fans and media to meet the drivers as well as getting a preview of the cars and team haulers from 6:45pm-8:30pm, much like the atmosphere at the track’s season beginning and season ending NAPA Pit Parties.
Tickets for the June 17 NASCAR 150 are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $27.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $30.00 for all ages and all ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.