One of the main objectives for any rookie driver competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is to gain as much experience as possible.
That was certainly the case for Austin Theriault (@AustinTheriault) in the American Ethanol e15 225 at Chicagoland (Joliet, Ill.) Speedway. The young driver scored a 13th place finish in the Cooper Standard Ford F-150 after overcoming a bit of misfortune along the way.
Heavy rain postponed the race from Friday night to Saturday morning. Qualifying for the 150 lap, 225 mile race was also washed out, giving Theriault the 12th place starting position per the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rulebook.
Theriault had his hands full with a loose handling truck at the start of the race but he caught a break when the first caution came out on lap 15. Crew chief Chad Kendrick called his driver to pit road for a chassis adjustment on lap 16 and Austin restarted 20th when the race went green on lap 20. He was up to 15th position by lap 32 when the second yellow of the race occurred. Theriault pitted one lap later for right side tires and adjustments and he restarted third when the race went green on lap 36. At the beginning of the run Austin was tight then as the laps ticked off he was too loose. He was running just outside the top 10 as the event entered its middle stages.
On lap 76 - one lap past halfway - Austin's chances for a great finish slipped away. He was running 13th when he ran out of fuel under green. He coasted to the pit lane and the team made a four tire change and adjustments but by the time Austin was able to get back to full speed he had lost three laps to the leaders.
Try as they might Theriault and the team would struggle to make up the lost distance. The third and final caution slowed the race on lap 83 and Austin promptly took the wave around to gain a lap. He was unable to catch another caution and made his final pit stop under green on lap 136. Theriault was able to pick off a handful of positions in the closing stages of the race as some of his competitors were forced to pit for fuel. He was credited with 13th in the final rundown.