Touring Series News
PR: Austin Theriault: TD Bank Oxford 250 Preview
(From team press release)
ACT Late Model Tour rookie Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, Maine, will attempt to qualify for the 37th annual TD Bank Oxford 250 on Sunday, July 18, at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine. This weekend marks Theriault's first attempt at qualifying for the northeast's marquee summer stock car racing event -- in fact, the 16-year-old driver has never even been to the TD Bank Oxford 250 as a spectator. He has, however, enjoyed most of his ACT success at Oxford. In 2009, Theriault qualified for his first career ACT race at the track, and this year he's posted his best starting position in an ACT race (sixth) and a top-10 finish on Oxford's flat layout. He enters the weekend having finished 14th at Airborne Speedway last Saturday night -- the highest finishing rookie in the ACT Spring Green 100.
WHO: Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, Maine
TEAM: No. 57 Varney Insurance/Hogan Tire/Daigle&Houghton Ford Fusion
NO. OF OXFORD 250 STARTS: 0
BEST CAREER OXFORD 250 FINISH: N/A
LAST OXFORD 250 FINISH: N/A
WHAT: 37th annual TD Bank Oxford 250
WHERE: Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Maine (.375-mile oval)
WHEN: Sunday, July 18 -- 2 p.m., Qualifying; 6:30 p.m., Race
TD Bank Oxford 250
PURSE: $25,000 to win; $100 per lap for leader
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
AUSTIN, ARE YOU FEELING THE NERVES CREEP UP AS YOU PREPARE FOR THE BIGGEST RACE WEEKEND OF YOUR CAREER?
I'm probably going to start feeling it the day of the race, especially when it comes to worrying about just qualifying for the race. If you go out there and you're at the back of the pack in that heat race, that's when I'm sure you're heart gets pumping and you'll start noticing nerves.
I'm guessing it probably will be the most nervous I've ever gotten, just thinking about getting into the race.
YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO A TD BANK OXFORD 250 -- NOT EVEN AS A SPECTATOR -- BUT WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE EVENT?
It's one of those races where you definitely need something like luck on your side just to get in. It's definitely going to be tough just to qualify, and if you get in that's a big deal on its own.
Your night starts when the heat races start in the middle of the afternoon.
HOW WILL YOU APPROACH THE DAY?
We have to look at it like it's an ACT Late Model Tour race that's 100 laps longer than normal. I think that might come into our favor, too. I'm a pretty patient driver, and we tend to get better as races go on.
One thing that I'll have to think about is (qualifying). You can't afford to be patient when it comes to making the race, but if you get in, you can wait a little bit and ride until the last 75 laps or so. I'll probably have to change my driving style for the heat race -- I mean, when you get in there, you've got to go. You can't wait at all.
YOU HAD THREE TOP-10 FINISHES IN A ROW DURING ONE STRETCH LAST MONTH, AND THAT 14th-PLACE AT AIRBORNE ON SATURDAY SEEMED TO SUM UP YOUR SEASON TO THIS POINT. ANOTHER TRACK YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO, ANOTHER SOLID RUN FOR A ROOKIE TEAM.
I'm not disappointed at all with 14th, not after everything we heard about how different that track was last week and some of the tire issues that were going on. It really wasn't that bad for us. I feel really good about it.
With it being a lot faster track than I've ever raced on before, I was pretty surprised at how we were able to adapt to it so quickly. Now we're excited about going to Oxford this weekend.
DOES OXFORD ALMOST FEEL LIKE A SECOND HOME TO YOU?
We're getting better every time we go there. Our finishes are getting better, but I'm getting more comfortable on the track every time, too. Consistency is the biggest thing at Oxford. If you make one mistake in the corner at Oxford, it messes you up for the entire rest of the lap.
There are no unknowns for us going into this, and that's probably only going to be a good thing. At Airborne, at Thunder Road, so many places it seems we've always had to learn something different. Not this weekend.