Chicagoland: Michelle Theriault race report

Michelle Theriault & Team GLOCK Experience Tough Break at Chicagoland JOLIET, Illinois (September 11, 2007) - - It wasn't the finish that Michelle Theriault had hoped for but the 21-year old ARCA rookie continued to experience her first taste of...

Michelle Theriault & Team GLOCK Experience Tough Break at Chicagoland

JOLIET, Illinois (September 11, 2007) - - It wasn't the finish that Michelle Theriault had hoped for but the 21-year old ARCA rookie continued to experience her first taste of speedway racing in Saturday's Chicagoland ARCA 200.

On the heels of a promising top-15 run at Gateway International Raceway the week before, Theriault and her Spraker Racing Enterprises team entered the 20th race of the season with some momentum.

With rain soaking Chicagoland Speedway Friday morning, the skies cleared up and sunshine began to dwell over the 1.5-mile speedway allowing the teams to prepare for the two-hour practice session in the early afternoon.

During the two hour session, Theriault quickly adapted herself to the fast track. In practice, she maneuvered a time of 31.862 seconds equaling a speed of 169.481 MPH which positioned her 27th on the charts.

"The car is good, we're tight off, but we'll be fine. We had a tire rub at the beginning of the run and we had to come in and fix it. I think with the adjustments we're going to make, we'll be in great shape for qualifying and the race. I've never been to Chicagoland Speedway, but I can tell you it's a fast race track leaving no room for error."

Knowing that her veteran team would make adjustments heading into ARCA SIM Factory qualifying, Theriault was hoping for a solid lap that would put her in the field comfortably. During time trials, Theriault whipped her No. 37 GLOCK Chevrolet around the track in a time of 31.538 seconds at 171.222 MPH. Her lap would line up 27th on the starting grid locking the NASCAR Busch East Series rookie into her fifth career ARCA start.

"We made some changes and we were able to pick up the pace in qualifying. I'm disappointed with our qualifying position. I really thought we would start closer to the top-20, but I feel our GLOCK Chevrolet will race well."

Theriault joined 39 other drivers for the 20th race of the season. The action picked up quickly in turn one on the first lap when a group of cars checked up in front of the GLOCK Chevrolet. Theriault made contact with the No. 1 car driven by Dominick Casola. The spin would send Casola into the grass but keep Theriault on track with the field staying under green flag conditions.

The first yellow flag would waive 11 laps later when Justin South went for a spin on the backstretch. Theriault was holding the 27th position at the moment of caution.

During the caution, Theriault drove the car to the attention of her Spraker Racing Enterprises team to check the front of the GLOCK machine.

Theriault would venture towards the front after starting in the mid 30s. Picking off the competition one at a time, Theriault moved back into the high 20s when the next yellow flag waived on lap 27 for a three car incident on the front stretch.

When Theriault went back to battle, she hovered inside the top-25 before radioing to the team two laps after taking the green that she felt a vibration. The team opted to bring the former USAR Hooter's Pro Cup Series competitor down pit road to change all four tires and send her back into the hunt.

When Theriault returned to the track, she informed her team that the vibration had continued and the crew again called for their driver to bring the GLOCK machine to pit road and the team would try another set of Hoosier tires to try and correct the problem. After the change, Theriault picked up to race speed but triggered the radio button identifying that the vibration was continuing and she could not drive the car.The team informed Theriault to bring her machine to pit road and pull it to the garage forcing a disappointing and early exit from the Chicagoland ARCA 200.

She would be credited with a 34th place finish.

"First, I want to apologize to Dominick and his team for the first lap tango," Theriault stated. "We went into the corner and everyone checked up and I had nowhere to go. I didn't mean to spin him out, I felt pretty bad about it."

"We had a vibration and it didn't go away after several tires changes," offered Theriault. "I hate it for everyone on the Spraker Racing team and our sponsor GLOCK. This was a big race and the final speedway event of the season. This wasn't the way I wanted our day to go."

Theriault will return her focus to the NASCAR Busch East Series as they return to competition this Friday at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS). Theriault finished an impressive 13th in her first bid at the 1.0-mile speedway earlier this season.

-credit: MichelleTheriault.com

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Justin South , Dominick Casola , Michelle Theriault