Posted: Friday, June 13th 2014 at 10:23pm
Austin Theriault wins at MIS in first career ARCA start
By Doug Donnelly
Austin Theriault celebrates with his Venturini Motorsports team after scoring the win in his first ever ARCA Series start Friday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway. / Photo: Courtesy ARCA Media
BROOKLYN, MI - Austin Theriault had a lot of firsts Friday afternoon. He was racing in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for the first time, racing on a track larger than one mile for the first time and made his first green flag pit stop.
Oh, and he won the Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway, becoming the first ARCA Racing Series driver since 2011 to win in his series debut.
"This race and the way I approached this race was very different," Theriault said after the race. "I had never raced at a track bigger than a mile before. I was very conservative, yet we still finished second in qualifying. That told me we would be okay for the race."
Mitchell, who led 65 laps, led the cars to the green flag on the final restart with 17 laps to go. That's when Theriault made his move.
"Billy Venturni (crew chief) came on the radio and said 'let's go for it,'" Theriault said.
Theriault and Mitchell's cars glanced off each other down the backstretch and Theriault grabbed the lead for good, sliding in front of Mitchell's car.
"The side draft gave me a good run going into turn three," Theriault said. "From there on, the car was awesome. I think it was all about clean air."
Justin Allison finished third for his best career finish. John Wes Townley started in the back after going to a back-up car, but still finished fourth. Spencer Gallagher was fifth, Will Kimmel sixth and Frank Kimmel seventh and the final car on the lead lap.
Grant Enfinger entered the race with the championship points lead, but Mitchell used the Menards Pole Award, leading the most laps and his third second-place finish of the season to take over the point lead after eight races on the season. Enfinger finished eighth.
"We have to look at the big picture," Mitchell said. "I am coming out of here with the point lead. We are just going to stay positive. That first win will come."
Mitchell led the first 46 laps of the race, sometimes having a lead of five seconds or more.
"Once his (Theriault) car hit mine, my day was finished," he said. "It caved in the whole right side. I felt like we had the car to beat. We had the dominant car all day."
Allison had his best finish for the second race in a row.
"I didn't know what to expect at the beginning," Allison said. "We struggled a little bit in qualifying. But, at the start of the race our car was good. After we ran about five or 10 laps, it would just take off."
Austin Wayne Self rebounded from an early scrape against the wall and a pit road penalty to finish ninth. Josh Williams finished 10th.
Veteran drivers Ken Schrader and Tom Hessert finished 11th and 12th, both two laps down.
Theriault, 20, was making his first start in the No. 66 Cometic Gasket-Renton Coil Spring Toyota. He also won the SCOTT Rookie of the Race award in the Venturini Motorsports car.
"You don't come by a car that good very often," he said.
He is the first driver since 2011 to win in his first ARCA start. Brennan Poole, Andrew Ranger and Alex Bowman all did it in 2011.
Theriault has a long history of racing late models and super late models. The Maine native is under contract with JR Motorsports to run a handful of NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season. He made his Nationwide Series debut with a top 15 finish at Iowa Speedway and will race at Loudon and Kentucky later this year.
Elko Speedway is the next race on the ARCA schedule on Saturday, June 21.
ARCA Racing Series
Michigan International Speedway - Brooklyn, MI
Corrigan Oil 200 - June 13, 2014
FIN STR NO DRIVER/HOMETOWN TEAM & CAR LAPS STATUS
1 2 66 Austin Theriault/Fort Kent ME Cometic Gasket-Renton Coil Spring Toyota 100 Running
2 1 98 Mason Mitchell/West Des Moines IA Musselman's-Wildlife Foundation of Florida-TTS Ford 100 Running
3 12 88 Justin Allison/Salisbury NC HaVaCoSales.com Ford 100 Running
4 3 15 John Wes Townley/Watkinsville GA Zaxby's Toyota 100 Running
5 9 23 Spencer Gallagher/Las Vegas NV Allegiant Travel Chevrolet 100 Running
6 10 69 Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN Messinas-Ingersoll Rand Ford 100 Running
7 7 44 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN Ansell-Menards Toyota 100 Running
8 8 90 Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL Motor Honey-Casite-Advance Auto Parts Ford 98 Running
9 4 22 Austin Wayne Self/Austin TX AM Technical Solutions Dodge 98 Running
10 13 6 Josh Williams/Port Charlotte FL Southwest Florida Cable Construction Chevrolet 98 Running
11 11 52 Ken Schrader/Fenton MO Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet 98 Running
12 14 77 Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ Caregard-AxiomWarranty.com Dodge 98 Running
13 6 55 Cody Coughlin/Delaware OH JEG's Toyota 98 Running
14 15 2 Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL DK-LOK Fittings & Valves Ford 94 Running
15 16 3 Ron Cox/Soddy Daisy TN Hixson Construction Chevrolet 89 Running
16 19 18 Bill Catania/Westfield NY Stacks Original Wings & BBQ Sauce Chevrolet 88 Running
17 18 48 Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI Radon.com Ford 87 Running
18 21 28 Mike Buckley/Ann Arbor MI ETS-Kneader Machinery Chevrolet 87 Running
19 23 10 Rick Clifton/Circleville OH Ohio Ag Equipment-Clifton Trucking Ford 82 Running
20 24 40 David Sear/LaJolla CA Carter 2 Motorsports Dodge 80 Running
21 5 25 Justin Boston/Baltimore MD ZLOOP Toyota 67 Engine
22 20 0 James Swanson/Clarksboro NJ Wayne Peterson Racing Ford 14 Handling
23 22 34 Darrell Basham/Henryville IN Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet 12 Clutch
24 26 68 Chris Bailey/South Park PA Kimmel Racing Ford 9 Brakes
25 17 97 Tom O'Leary IV/Cygnet OH Carter 2 Motorsports Dodge 2 Engine
26 25 06 Wayne Peterson/Pulaski TN Wayne Peterson Racing Chevrolet 1 Transmssn
50 Karl Weber/Ambia IN Tony Blanchard Racing Chevrolet DNS
Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell: Mason Mitchell 38.393 (187.534 mph)
Margin of Victory: 4.811 seconds Cautions: 2 for 13 laps
Time of Race: 1:19:32 Average Speed: 150.880 mph
Lap Leaders: Mitchell 1-46, 65-83 (65); Allison 47-49 (3); Self 50-55 (6); Enfinger 56 (1);
Theriault 57-64, 84-100 (25)
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