Austin Theriault, a former part-time competitor in the NASCAR Camping World Truck and Xfinity series, has won the 2017 ARCA championship.
Theriault, 23, only had to “enter and compete” in Friday night’s season finale at Kansas Speedway to clinch the series championship. He and his Ken Schrader Racing team amassed seven wins and 16-top-five and 19 top-10 finishes this season in 20 races. He also won one pole.
Theriault’s season finale was a bit anticlimactic. He brushed the wall early in the race and finished 25th. Michael Self won the race, his first series victory.
“We overcame a lot of challenges this year,” said Theriault, a native of Fort Kent, Maine. “We had a tremendous year – the support from back home, the crew, the all-nighters. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort from everyone who shared in this championship.
“Just so much thanks to Ken Schrader Racing and all the guys who made this dream season come true. We don’t always have the fastest cars but we stay consistent. We’ve basically run the whole season with two, three cars.
“It feels good to compete against guys spending more money. It’s what I like about ARCA – you can compete on a lesser budget if you race smart.”
Theriault has made a handful of starts in both the Truck and Xfinity series with such teams as Brad Keselowski Racing, JR Motorsports and Rick Ware Racing. His best national series finish was fourth in the 2015 Truck series opener at Daytona.
ARCA will conduct a two-day composite body open test at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Nov. 7-8. The 2017 season’s championship awards banquet is Dec. 9 in Indianapolis.