Most Popular Driver in NASCAR K and N Series From Maine

Episode 188

November 27, 2016

Austin Theriault with his "Jimmy Johnson" look. Austin ran his last race of the year at Southern National Motorsports Park. AT Racing photo

Austin Theriault with his “Jimmy Johnson” look. Austin ran his last race of the year at Southern National Motorsports Park. AT Racing photo

Theriault Second at Lucama, North Carolina Track

Qualifying second in his #57 Super Late Model, Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault went on to finish second in the Accent Imaging 125 at Southern National Motorsports Park. The youngster, Christian Eckes from Middleton, New York, had the fastest time and won the race which Theriault said was the dominant car Saturday evening.

Faced with the decision where to race at the end of the year, Theriault made up his mind after the Oxford 250 to race at the local track rather than make the trek to the Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Florida this upcoming weekend.

Getting a team to the track and all the expense in doing so plus a field of over 125 expected entrants made the choice to race in North Carolina easier. Theriault with a few friends from the Mooresville area got the car up to the second fastest qualifying time. Theriault had raced at the North Carolina track in 2013 when he won the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) race.

The Speedway Fabrication shop in Mooresville is where Theriault keeps his #57 Super Late Model. Most of the race damage from the Oxford 250 was repaired by Theriault himself at the North Carolina shop.

If you have not heard by now, the County's own Austin Theriault was voted K & N Most Popular Driver 2016. AT Racing photo

If you have not heard by now, the County’s own Austin Theriault was voted K & N Most Popular Driver 2016. AT Racing photo

Austin Theriault Most Popular Driver

Despite finishing 13th in the final points standing in the NASCAR K & N Series East was voted the Most Popular Driver. Theriault competed in 11 of the 14 races. His last race in the series was August 15 at Watkins Glen where he finished 20th.

The best finish for Theriault was a second at East Columbus Speedway July 2 where he finished behind Justin Haley. Haley went on to win the championship besting Kyle Benjamin by 22 points despite Benjamin’s three wins to Haley’s two wins.

Theriault had six top 5 finishes and seven top 10 finishes in the series. The season provided Theriault the opportunity to compete on two of the nation’s most famous road race courses, Virginia International Raceway (VIR) and Watkins Glen. At  VIR he finished third in his first road course race.

“I knew how good my fans are and that they would stand behind me (when it came to voting),” said Theriault. ” I enjoyed the time in the series”.

“The next few weeks everyone in the race scene will be taking time to re-charge their batteries. I plan to spend a couple of weeks at home.”

At this point in time he had no specific plans to announce for the 2017 season. It would be a prime time for a Maine business to step up to the plate and support one of our own.

"Testimony of the Protected; How One Lost Warrior was Found" by Doug Milliken will be my first book review. HTF Motorsports photo

“Testimony of the Protected; How One Lost Warrior was Found” by Doug Milliken will be my first book review. HTF Motorsports photo

My Dream to Review Motorsports Books Coming True

As mentioned in an earlier episode, I plan to review several books with motorsports connections over the course of the winter. I love to read and look forward to combining that love with love for motorsports.

My first book review is special to me since the author, Doug Milliken, spent part of his youth growing up in Maine. Being a part of a military family,  Milliken spent time at several Army bases.

The longest he went to the same school was after his father retired from the military. Milliken spent eighth through tenth grade at the Flint Hill Private School in Oakton, Virginia where his Dad, Charles, taught math and was the Math Department head.

Milliken’s father wanted to retire near his hometown of Saco so he moved the family to Yarmouth in the summer of 1963. Bill spent his junior year at Gould Academy in Bethel making the commute home on weekends.

His senior year he transferred to North Yarmouth Academy where his father was the Business Manager and a teacher.

What was interesting to me was that Milliken had developed a love for kart racing beginning at the age of 12 when he used  money earned on his paper route in Arlington, Virginia to purchase a two-seat go-kart from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. He ran that kart all around his urban neighborhood and the pathways in the woods.

When seated at the soda fountain at People’s Drugstore, he and his friend Bill Snoeyenbos noticed a couple of magazines about kart racing. They each bought a Billbrook kart powered by a more powerful two-cycle Clinton engine from an advertisement in one of the magazines. The Sears & Roebuck two-seater would not cut it as a race kart.

Milliken ran his first kart race in 1961 at a new dirt track in nearby Herndon, Virginia. When the family moved to Maine in 1963 there were no local race tracks to ply his skills. Milliken had to travel to Raynham, Massachusetts or Coventry, Rhode Island to find competition.

I met Milliken while doing research on Bill Milliken who I will be reporting to you about over the course of the winter. It turns out that Bill Milliken has a son also named Doug. In the course of doing an internet search for Bill’s son Doug, I sent a message to Doug Milliken who now lives in California and is no relation to the Millikens I was researching.

That is when Doug, the west coast version, told me about his book and his career in motorsports. He related to me a story about how he met the other Doug Milliken who lived in Williamsport near Buffalo, New York:

 I met Doug and William Milliken at the SAE Motorsports conference in Indianapolis in December of 2002. When I registered as a presenter, I was given a package for a Doug Milliken who lives in Williamsport, NY. I protested, and they came back and said ‘We have two presenters named Doug Milliken. The other one already registered and we gave him your speaker package.’

 “So they had to hunt down NY Doug and switch registration packages. That is when I met Doug and his dad Bill and we talked about our fathers growing up in Biddeford, Me. We figured we must be related, but didn’t know through which line. One caveat – NY Doug had a pony tail. When California Doug went home, I told my wife, it was a little unsettling to see any Doug Milliken sporting a pony tail.


The 1997 Penske PC-26of Paul Tracy at Long Beach Grand Prix. Powered by Mercedes 108D V8 turbo. L to r Penske mechanic, Bill Amelio Honeywell Turbo Technologies (HTT), Doug Milliken Manager of Motorsports Engineering for HTT, and Joe Pushys, VP Aftermarket for HTT. Doug Milliken Collection photo

The 1997 Penske PC-26 of Paul Tracy at Long Beach Grand Prix. Powered by Mercedes 108D V8 turbo. L- R  Penske mechanic, Bill Amelio, Honeywell Turbo Technologies (HTT), Doug Milliken, Manager of Motorsports Engineering for HTT, and Joe Pushys, VP Aftermarket for HTT. Doug Milliken Collection photo

That will give you a taste of what later would become a career with a turbocharger company at some of the highest levels of racing in the world. Sandwiched in between was a stint in Vietnam, college, failed marriage, and a supernatural experience with his Savior. More about that in my review next week. Later I will fill in some of the blanks about his career in motorsports.

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing.