Austin Theriault is a former NASCAR driver from Fort Kent, Maine, who made 21 combined starts between the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Craftsman Truck series from 2014 to 2019.
His most successful season in the national levels of stock car racing came in 2017, when he won seven races and the ARCA Menards Series championship with Ken Scrader Racing. Theriault, now 30 years old, has spent the 2020s decade pursuing a career in politics. He was elected to the first district of the Maine House of Representatives in December 2022, and he is running for office in Maine’s second district of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2024.
Over the offseason, Frontstretch‘s Stephen Stumpf conducted a phone interview with Theriault to talk about his NASCAR past along with his present and future endeavors.
Stumpf: From 2014 to 2016, you were part time between [the NASCAR ranks], most notably with JR Motorsports and Brad Keselowski Racing. In 2017, you had that full-time season with Ken Schrader Racing, where you guys had a breakout year and won the ARCA championship. How did that deal come together?
Theriault: I met Kenny Schrader at the PRI (the Performance Racing Industry show) at the end of 2016, and I tapped him on the back in middle of the one of the halls and introduced myself to him. And he said, ‘Hey, I know a little bit about you. Come by the shop and we’ll sit down. We don’t have a driver for next year.’
Things like that is what I tell young drivers when they call me, I say you can’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people that you don’t know. You never know what doors people can open up. […] We sat down and talked about what each of our goals were for the year. I said if I I’m going to do this, I think we need to shoot for winning a championship.
I had been racing higher levels than that before, so I felt like I had a perfect amount of experience going into the year. And with that experience that I brought to the table, there wasn’t any reason that we couldn’t be competing for wins. And not only did we compete for wins, but we walked away with a championship.
Stumpf: You won the title with seven wins and top 10s in all but one race. Unfortunately, due to the sponsorship, you guys didn’t return in 2018. How disappointing was being on the sidelines after having such a career year?
Theriault: You look at it a few different ways. I think for Schrader Racing, accomplishing a huge feat like we did allowed…