Concord, NC – Entering Friday’s Corrigan Oil 200 event at Michigan International Speedway, 20-year old Austin Theriault was a relatively unknown name in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards garage. But the mystery surrounding the Fort Kent, Maine native didn’t last long as he impressed winning the Irish Hills classic becoming the first ARCA driver to win in his series debut since 2011.
“You don’t come by a car that good very often. Billy and the team did a great job preparing me and the car,” said Theriault.
Theriault maintained great track position riding around in the second spot most of the day before stealing the lead away from Mason Mitchell on the final restart with 17 laps to go. After hitting clean air Theriault drove away in his No. 66 Venturini Motorsports Toyota Camry.
“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.”
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. Both Poole and Bowman did it driving under the Venturini Motorsports (VMS) banner.
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.
VMS regular John Wes Townley continued his hectic racing schedule appearing in Friday’s ARCA event before flying off to St. Louis to compete in Saturday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.
Townley continued his recent success earning a fourth place finish at the speedy Michigan D-Shaped oval. This was his second consecutive top-5 finish and fourth overall on the ARCA season. The Georgia driver backed up his solid ARCA finish with an eighth place finish Saturday night in his NCWTS effort.
Townley, driving his familiar VMS No.15 Zaxby’s Toyota Camry, qualified third but started from the back of the field after getting into the wall on his second qualifying lap before crew chief Brad Parrott rolled out his back-up machine.
Joe Gibbs Development Driver, Cody Coughlin, made his fifth start of the season behind the wheel of his No. 55 JEGS Toyota Camry. After battling a loose racecar most of the day, the 18-year old rookie gained valuable experience capturing a 13th-place finish in his debut at the Brooklyn, Michigan track. It was his second speedway start and fifth overall with VMS in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
“It was a tough day as we battled a loose car all day long,” Coughlin said after the race. “My crew chief, Jeff McClure, tried to help tighten the car up all race long. We came out of here with all four fenders on the car and we will get them next time.”
Coughlin started off the day by qualifying sixth in the morning qualifying session. He ran in the top 10 throughout most of the race. A long green flag run partnered with a loose car had Coughlin battling around the 10th to 13th position all day.
In five starts in his inaugural year in ARCA Racing competition, Cody has three top-10 finishes. His next ARCA Racing series start is scheduled for July 6th at the high-banked Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Indiana.
The season of “high’s n low’s” continued for Justin Boston who’s day ended early when his No. 25 ZLOOP-JACO Environmental Toyota’s engine expired on lap-67 resulting in a disappointing 21st place finish for last season’s ARCA rookie of the year.
Coming into Friday’s Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway, Justin Boston was one of the favorites to win the week’s ARCA Racing event.
The No. 25 Toyota Camry was fast from the moment it hit the track for Thursday’s practice session. Boston ran in the top-five and top-ten throughout practice and Friday morning Boston qualified in fifth place.
“It was a really disappointing day for us at Michigan,” Boston said. “The ZLOOP-JACO Environmental Toyota Camry was solid, definitely a top-five car, and to get another DNF stings a lot. All we can do moving forward is go out and try to win each week and definitely stop worrying about points. I’m excited to head to Elko and run the same car we won with at Toledo.”
Boston who earned his first career ARCA victory at Toledo last month is hoping to improve his luck as he’s tallied several DNF’s during the first eight events of the season. Boston earned the pole starting position at Mobile and Salem earlier in the year but succumbed to mechanical failures while accidents took him out of contention at Daytona and Pocono.
The Corrigan Oil 200 will re-air on Fox Sports 1 today (Monday) at 11am ET.
Next up on ARCA schedule is Elko Speedway. The series will have its first ever race broadcast on CBS Sports Network from the .375-mile track near Minneapolis, MN. Practice, qualifying and racing will all be held Saturday, June 21. The race is scheduled to air at 9 pm ET.