Almost years after his final complete-time season as a driving force got here to an end with a championship, Austin Theriault could make his debut at NASCAR’s top stage this season. The 25-yr-antique Fort Kent native is close to finalizing a plan to compete in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series on a part-time foundation in 2019, starting with the collection’ July 21 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He would pressure a 2d automobile for GoFas Racing, the crew owned with the aid of Old Orchard Beach local Archie St. Hilaire.
Theriault, who has never competed full-time in NASCAR’s three countrywide series, gained seven of 20 races en direction to the 2017 ARCA Racing Series championship. If he were to qualify for a race at NASCAR’s highest level, he might turn out to be the primary Maine driving force to achieve this, considering Ricky Craven finished 30th in a race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama in October 2004. This season, Theriault is competing part-time for Ricky Benton Racing within the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. After failing to qualify for the season-opening race at Daytona ultimate month.
Theriault hopes to be inside the Truck Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. “It’s been a dream of mine for a long term to race in the Cup series,” Theriault stated Wednesday from Charlotte, North Carolina. “I’m nearer than ever to creating a Cup begin. There’s nonetheless stuff that has to occur behind the scenes, and we’re still finalizing some deals with some corporations (for sponsorship). Howeverthere’s a chance.” Goias Racing fields Cup vehicles for Corey LaJoie, the son of -time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie.
After several element-time seasons of opposition with any other crew, LaJoie is making his first strive at a complete season in 2019. He finished a season-first-class 18th within the Daytona 500. Switching from Ford Fusions to Ford Mustangs before this season allowed St. Hilaire to entertain the possibility of fielding a 2d vehicle out of the GoFas stable because his organization is now striking our bodies in-house for the first time and has masses of Mustangs in stock. “I’m trying to circulate this system up to the ladder and also assist some younger guys out,” St. Hilaire said.
“I’ve continually had a tender spot for men from Maine. I suppose it’s too bad that a driver like Austin wins an ARCA championship and can’t find a journey everywhere. “If you’re taking money off the desk, he’d rank proper there with a number of the nice drivers obtainable.” The plan now is for Theriault to race in 4 races this season. St. Hilaire and Theriault insisted they have been now not interested in one-race offers, nor might restricting Theriault’s possibility to handiest four races this season — although St. Hilaire stated that races in New Hampshire, Michigan, Richmond, and Talladega made the maximum feel as a starting point. “We’re trying for four races,” St. Hilaire stated. “I suppose all and sundry are constructive for extra than that. However, I’d say we should do this and be halfway first rate. I told Austin, ‘If you want to do it, I’ll assist you out.’”
This might now not be Theriault’s first time riding for St. Hilaire. Theriault gained a “Maine Young Guns” competition in 2012 to earn himself a beginner in an automobile owned with the aid of St. Hilaire for a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire. He finished nineteenth on that occasion, his first in the series, while also prevailing his first ACT Late Model Tour race that season — at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough — en route to a second immediately 1/3-region finish inside the ACT standings that season.
“We started out speaking about this at the beginning of the 12 months,” Theriault stated. “There’s no different automobile owner from Maine in that series, and there’s no different driving force at the countrywide levels from there, both. We’ve continually stayed in touch. We had a communique wherein we found out I’ve been at this for some time and had some successes and my honest percentage of struggles, too … and I don’t recognize everybody else I’d alternatively paintings with.”