PHOTO: Austin Theriault, like so many others, is anticipating his first career American-Canadian Tour victory. Could it happen today at New Hampshire? (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

LOUDON, N.H. — Austin Theriault feels — as most people that follow the American-Canadian Tour do — that he’s close to nailing down his first career victory.

The 17 year-old ACT sophomore started the year with Vermont-based RPM Motorsports before switching back to the car he drove for his family’s team during his impressive rookie season last year in late July. The results have been impressive, with top-five finishes in the Oxford 250 and four of five ACT events since.

Although he hasn’t taken that first career victory yet, Theriault thinks it’s right around the corner.

“Everything is coming together,” Theriault said with a smile. “I kind of wish we would have gotten a win by now, but top five isn’t bad. If you can run top five every week it isn’t bad. If you can keep your momentum up and try to keep your bad luck to a minimum you can run for points. The whole team is pumped up, I’m pumped up, and we’ve got one [point-counting race at Airborne Speedway in two weeks] to go to get that win.”

Part of Theriault’s recent success string was a runner-up finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the site of today’s ACT Invitational, last month. Theriault made an impressive charge from the rear of the field to run behind winner Brian Hoar and Eddie MacDonald, who dropped out a few laps early with a broken ignition.

“I’m hoping everything works out like it did the last time we were here. We had a great car and everything kind of worked out in our favor,” Theriault said. “I think Eddie’s going to be really strong; I don’t know if we had anything for him last time if he wouldn’t have had mechanical problems.”

Theriault was third fastest in practice on Saturday morning at New Hampshire and drew the 24th starting position. When asked about the feelings he expects to have when he gets his first victory — and he believes it’s a matter of when and not if — Theriault paused to think but still couldn’t find the words.

“It’ll bee… I really can’t imagine right now,” Theriault said. “I’m sure the emotions in victory lane will be kind of overwhelming. It’s hard for me to say because — it’s not that I haven’t experienced winning before, but when you’re at the level of where we are now, and I know there’s more to go, but at the competitive level we’re at now, it’s kind of like getting your first championship. It’s going to be an awesome day whenever we do it, and hopefully we can get one this year. If not, then next year definitely.

“I hope to think that we can win. The finishes have proven that we can put everything together on a weekend and come out pretty decent. I don’t know what we need. It’s not much, but it is pretty close.”

The ACT Invitational is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm and will air on WDEV Radio at 96.1, 96.5, and 101.9 FM and 550 AM following the Major League Baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.