Austin Theriault's racing career has featured more ups and downs, twists and turns than a rollercoaster. A career that began at his home track of Spud Speedway (ME) evolved when he paired up with Crazy Horse Racing to compete on the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) in 2010. Nine years later, he's once again teaming up with Crazy Horse Racing, but in a different way.
Since his days competing on the ACT circuit with CHR, Theriault has gone on to compete in the NASCAR Truck Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and become an ARCA Racing Series champion. After not having a full-time ride for the 2018 season, just one year removed from his ARCA championship, the Fort Kent, Maine native became more involved in other aspects of the sport.
Theriault spent time traveling all over the country as a driver coach and mentor to some of the sport's rising stars. That experience and the relationship he had built with Crazy Horse Racing led to an exciting announcement this past Saturday at the Northeast Motorsports Expo.
The Green family (owners of Crazy Horse Racing) announced that night that Theriault would be involved as a partner with the Maine-based chassis manufacturer moving forward. According to Mitch Green -- who operates the company with his wife Judy and son Mickey -- the ultimate goal down the road is to have Mickey and Theriault run the company.
The announcement brings some clarity to Theriault's future in the sport; however, he stressed that he will continue to pursue NASCAR opportunities in the south. But when he's not racing himself, he will be working to continue a dream that Mitch, Judy and Micky Green started, while at the same time helping to fulfill the dreams of other drivers.
"The reason I ended up where I am now is because Mitch, Judy, and Micky went out of their way to get to know me as a person, and as a driver. But the sort of service that they provide I think is hard to beat around here. They built a great foundation here, the ACT Late Models are really good, outside of Maine they’ve won a lot of championships at a lot of tracks,” Theriault told Speed51.com.
"The thing with technology is that it changes so quickly, but I feel like the combination with my experience, Mitch is really good with people, and Micky is a really good fabricator; collectively when you put good qualities that one person has and combine them with qualities from other people, it can form a good foundation. We hope to be able to take Crazy Horse Racing to the next level.”
Two drivers that Theriault will be working with this year will be third-year Crazy Horse Racing pilot Ray Christian III and newcomer Jacob Perry. Christian nabbed his first Super Late Model win last October in the Granite State Pro Stock Series, while Perry has been putting time in Modified competition. Both Connecticut drivers in Theriault’s mind have the capacity to make names both regionally or even beyond, just the kind of stars that Crazy Horse is looking for.
“It’s the future of the sport, not everybody has to race to get to the Cup or XFINITY level. What we have to do as a community is let people know wherever they are racing, whether it’s Street Stocks, Late Models, Super Late Models, you can have fun and make that your career. People like that have the potential to continue to move up the ladder, but while we have them at Crazy Horse, we’re going to do the best we can for them.”
While Christian and Perry will continue to build the company’s New England base, there are those wondering if Crazy Horse could break out of the Northeast in the future. While Theriault is confident they could, they must be sure it is at a strong level locally before they proceed.
“Maybe multiple years down the road, but the thing I’ve learned is that in any business, especially racing, is that you got to walk before you can run," he stated. "My vision is take Crazy Horse and make it equivalent to when you think of Distance up here with guys like Reid Lanpher and Curtis Gerry. We need to do that first before we try to promote ourselves outside. I do feel like if you give me car down south for a couple of races, we could compete; we just need to make sure we’re walking up north first.”
In fact, Theriault has a vision for expansion that also has the company staying put in New England.
“With racing getting expensive down south, and it has up here to a certain extent, but I do feel like racing in Granite State or PASS makes sense for up-and-coming drivers moving up from Legend Cars and other series, even around the country," Theriault began. "The cost of a flight is nothing compared to the cost of racing. My vision is that individuals coming up instead of considering other series across the country outside of their budget. I want to try my best to promote racing up here as an alternative to that. I think we can do a better job; we can give drivers experience, and we can promote them."
It is a vision that will not only promote the growth of Crazy Horse Racing, but perhaps lead to the entire Northeast becoming a more affordable place for drivers to come and make a career for themselves.
“Social media has connected everybody, I don’t care if you’re in California or Maine. If you want to race in Maine, you can promote it wherever. That’s my long-term goal for outside the region, is to open those doors to our community up here so that drivers consider doing five races up here, and they can get more value out of it.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com