Austin Theriault is committed to becoming a better driver, and that dedication is starting to pay off for the Fort Kent native.

In January Theriault, who now resides in Cornelius, N.C., not only celebrated his 21st birthday but also signed on to drive 13 of the 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 for Brad Keselowski Racing.

“It’s really helped to build camaraderie and show everybody I’m dedicated,” Theriault said of the move from Maine to North Carolina. “I want to put 100 percent into being successful.”

On Feb. 20 he had arguably the best result of his young career when he finished fourth at the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Now, Theriault is focused on preparing for his next race in the Camping World Truck Series on May 8 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.

“Any time that you can run well at a race it’s really critical,” Theriault said. “It was another learning experience for me, and at a track that big with that much history it was very special for everybody. For me and my development it’s all about confidence and getting comfortable with how this organization works.”

Theriault said he hopes to learn as much as he can from his teammates throughout this season, and if early results in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings are any indication they should have plenty of information to share. Through seven starts Joey Logano is in second place and trails Kevin Harvick by 26 points, while Keselowski is currently fourth.

“It’s all about focusing on the competition side and that’s what they’re good at. They’re not in the Cup Series because they’re lucky,” Theriault said. “It’s about asking the right questions.

“…It’s about just having consistent weekends and before you know it everything will start clicking. You can’t force that stuff. It’s about putting in your time, just like any other sport.”

•••

This recent stretch of warm weather could not have come at a better time for Oxford Plains and Wiscasset Speedways, as both tracks are set to kick off their 2015 seasons this weekend.

“It’s actually looking really good,” Oxford Plains vice president Mike Mayberry said. “All the snow has melted and it’s way dryer than it’s been in past years with the parking lot.

“With the weather and the temperatures I’m surprised that the snow is all gone, but I’m really surprised with how dry the grounds are.”

Oxford Plains will open Saturday with a full slate of racing as a part of the alliance between the Pro All Star Series North and American-Canadian Tour. The event will be headlined by 150-lap features for each of the two series with the likes of two-time defending Oxford 250 champ Travis Benjamin and 2014 ACT points champ Joey Polewarczyk Jr. each set to compete.

PASS North standouts D.J. Shaw, Ben and Mike Rowe, Hallowell’s Johnny Clark and Farmington’s Cassius Clark are all set to compete as well.

“We’re all set to go this weekend,” Mayberry said. “The forecast was looking pretty good for Saturday also.”

It has been a similar sentiment for Wiscasset owner Richard Jordan. The track is still dealing with some lingering snow in the bleachers, but the track itself looks to be in good condition.

“We’re giving it every effort we can, that’s for sure,” Jordan said. “The weather is just remarkable as far as giving us these nice drying days. We’re working hard here to get everything ready to go for it.”

Saturday’s schedule is slated to have five races, including a 50-lap Prostock race and a second 50-lap event through the Outlaw Super Series of Maine.

•••

When the ACT returns to Oxford Plains Saturday it will also be a bit of a homecoming for Jeff White, who has not raced at Oxford since 2011.

“I’m looking forward to it,” White said. “Hopefully (the ACT and PASS North) hooking up like this is going to turn out to be a really good thing for us. I mean, 300 laps of racing, that’s pretty good racing.”

The Winthrop native finished in 10th place on the tour last season and was plagued by some tough luck. He had three races in which he did not finish, twice due to an electrical failure and once because of an issue with the motor.

White finished the season with one win (June 21 at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H.), two top fives and four top 10s.

•••

Berwick’s Joey Doiron admits that the sting of missing out on the 2013 PASS North season points championship by just four points stuck with him for some time last season.

“I was pretty let down for myself,” he said. “I felt bad for everyone with the car.”

Doiron settled for fourth place in last season’s final standings, yet as he begins his sixth season on the tour he is as determined as ever to win his first points championship.

“This year it’s full bore,” Doiron said. “It’s just a matter of putting it all together for a full 15 races.”

Doiron will compete in the AIM Recycling/Kenny U-Pull Pass North SLM 150 Saturday at Oxford Plains, but it will not be his first race this season. He has already run three times this season in PASS South races for Woodman Racing, with his top result a fourth place finish at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C. on March 7.

“It’s always good to knock the rust off,” Doiron said. “The guys I’ve been racing for is a little different, but I’m excited to get behind the wheel of my own car.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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