January 18, 2015
Theriault lands a NASCAR Camping World Ride for 2015
When Austin Theriault won the Spud 150 in August 2009 against some of the best short track racers in Northern Maine he caught the eye of racing pundits throughout Maine. This kid from Fort Kent could drive!
Six years later he lands a thirteen race deal with Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) in the NASCAR Truck Series. The exact race dates are being worked on as I go to press, however, He knows for sure that Daytona and Loudon will be on the schedule.
In my limited research I cannot find any person from Aroostook County who has raced at Daytona in any of the NASCAR “Big 3” series. Theriault will be relying on his experience at the ARCA Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway. His Venturini Motorsports racer reached speeds over 200 miles per hour. He also will be relying on the experience of his experienced team under the leadership of returning Crew Chief Chad Kendrick.
Theriault’s return to BKR after two seasons (2012 & 2013) in the BKR Development Super Late Model team allows the young man to be familiar with and to the team. Theriault also spent time in the shop learning the tricks of the trade. He also has attended the three-day GRIP Seminar to learn the ins-and-outs of setting up a racecar.
Theriault will have his work cut out for him. The Camping World Truck Series will feature names like Erik Jones in the #4 Kyle Busch Toyota, John Hunter Nemechek in the Mauldin/Nemechek #8 Chevy, Jeb Burton in the # 13 Thorson Toyota, Timothy Peters in the #17 Tom DeLoach Racing Toyota, team-mate Tyler Reddick in the #19 BKR Ford, #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, Johnny Sauter in the Mike Curb/Thorsport Toyota, and Cole Custer in the new JR Motorsports #00 Chevy.
You will notice that many of those names are familiar with family ties to NASCAR. You will also notice that BKR is the only full-time team to run Fords.Theriault’s #29 Ford 150 will carry sponsorship from Cooper Standard and Careers for Veterans. My hope is that several Maine businesses step up to the plate and provide associate sponsorship to the only Maine driver in NASCAR.
Theriault’s website lists 13 race dates which I am not sure are official since my last correspondence with Austin a couple of days ago mentioned that BKR management was still working on the schedule. If this schedule holds will we see the #57 Theriault family race car attempting to win the Oxford 250 August 30, 2015?
Washburn’s Steve Doody at Joe Gibbs Racing
As promised in Episode # 38 Steve Doody from Washburn was named as one of the 60 people hired when Joe Gibbs Racing expanded to a four-car team. He will be working directly for the transportation division of Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville, North Carolina.
This marks a return to Kenseth and DeWalt since he was mobile manager in 2008-09 for the management team hired by Roush/Fenway. JGR must have liked what they saw as they selected Doody from a large pool of applicants.
Doody’s responsibilities will include 100 show appearance days. The schedule starts in Indianapolis, Indiana in February at the Mac Tools Distributors National Meeting. The schedule has not solidified yet but will include track appearances Las Vegas Speedway in March, the Daytona race in July, and the Bristol night race in August.
Doody will have a more flexible schedule than in the past and will be able to be at home in Washburn a few times during the February to November season. The showcars are maintained in JGR’s Xfinity Shop in Huntersville, North Carolina. One of the cars has won a race for JGR. Each car includes a detuned race engine.
Unfortunately Doody has no Maine appearances on his schedule. If you have a chance to be at any of the races where he is appearing say hello. I will attempt to keep you advised as to his locations as he travels across the United States.
Caribou Snowmobile Drag Races next Sunday.
In Episode 37 I had the opportunity to interview Kurt Dumond, one of the organizers of the Snowmobile Drag Races to be held at the former Van Buren Road Lodge in Caribou.The racing will begin at 10 am.
This will be the first drag race of the season held on a snow course. The 660 foot long course will feature a multitude of classes based on ISR rules. Entry fee is $20 and a $5 tech fee.
Speeds according to Dumond will be up to 120 mph with elapsed times in the 5 second range. Sleds will be able to access the site directly from the trail system. With the class set up one could ride their stock sled to the venue, race, and hit the trails to go home.
I hope to be able to get some photos and partial results as I venture to the track after church on Sunday. This will mark the first time I can cover such events since undergoing surgery to repair my Achilles tendon that tore from my calf muscle on a construction missions trip to Bogotá, Colombia. I am eager to get some action photos. I hope they get excellent weather.
More Formula SAE recommendations
As you may know I did a mini-series on pathways to a career in motorsports in Episode 36. I told the stories of four University of Maine Mechanical Engineers who were part of the UMaine Formula SAE team in 2011-2013. Their involvement in Formula SAE helped them with their career even if that career was not directly tied into the motorsports industry.
This week I was reading an article about Mazda Motorsports interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs at the high school and college level. I am including a small segment of the article I found on Racer.com. I am using it with the permission of Racer.com’s Molly Binks.
“Marcus Shen (University of Florida Mechanical Engineering graduate now Engineering Director at Speed Source) has been with SpeedSource full-time since he graduated in 2008. In his senior year at UF, he worked as a volunteer with the team.
‘It was great for me to meet the new generation of students,’ said Shen. ‘The university must be recruiting well, because they all asked really strong questions and you could tell they were tuned-in. Not many students get to see this, so I was happy to share my experiences at the university and my career.’
‘I became interested in the automotive industry when I was in high school,’ added Shen. ‘Originally, I thought I would focus on the [auto manufacturers], but I got involved in Formula SAE at Florida, and I began to see how racing could be another career path. One of my classmates raced with his father in an old Mazda RX7, so I started helping them, and now I’m engineering on the factory Mazda prototype team.’
‘It was inspiring seeing how much Marcus has accomplished in his short career in the racing industry,’ said David Kanner, a third-year mechanical engineering student and president of the school’s Formula SAE program. ‘Knowing that he was in the same exact position as us a few years ago, it was very exciting to meet him, hear from him, and put a face to the name I have heard so often in the shop.’
‘He (Shen) explained how his university training allowed him to start working confidently from day one,’ said 19-year-old Tejas “TJ” Parekh. ‘He was able to achieve the high levels the team performs with and explained how his core skills applied directly to racing. It was interesting to hear him relate a lot of what we’re learning now and how it translates into real life. He really emphasized the importance of hard work and how passionate you have to be to make it work. You have to be motivated to put the work in and use passion to apply what you’ve learned.’ “
The Mazda Prototype will be racing at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona next Saturday and Sunday January 24 &25. To read the complete article go to the link below.
I conclude this episode with this question. Don’t you think that Up North Motorsports needs to be at Daytona on February 20th to cover Austin Theriault’s debut in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series? I would love to be there to give you an inside view. You never know………
Let’s go racing!
Soli Deo Gloria