Maine’s Austin Theriault makes 2018 truck series debut

Episode 230

September 16, 2018

Theriault brings On Point Motorsports NASCAR Truck home eighth

Gas-and-go for Maine’s Austin Theriault in the #30 Cross Insurance On Point Motorsports at the truck series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. On Point Motorsports photo

NASCAR Camping World’s newest truck racing team, On Point Motorsports, making only their second start and their first with ARCA 2017 Champion, Maine’s Austin Theriault finishing a respectable 8th in a field of 32 race trucks. Theriault finished just behind the watermelon farmer from Florida, Ross Chastain, who would win the Xfinity race the next day.

Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault being interviewed after his 2018 truck series race debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He surprised many people finishing so well with a new team. On Point Motorsports photo

In a post race update, Theriault was unsure of what is next for him and the On Point Motorsports team. No plans were announced as of publishing time that he would be driving at Talladega or any other race in 2018.

Theriault said to me, ” I was pleased that we made steady forward progress the whole race.”

Good qualifying times are essential to the new team since they must qualify to race. At this race 3 truck teams went home earlier since they were unable to qualify. He started in the 21st spot.

Theriault was glad to have Bangor based Cross Insurance on the car despite the race being on the western United States. He was certain, however, that the investment would pay off with television and other media attention.

NASCAR/IndyCar driver John Andretti battles colon cancer and urges you to get screened

The Andretti name is synonymous with racing at the national and international level. It seems like most everyone knows an Andretti. Mario is probably the best known yet his brother Aldo’s son John Andretti is familiar to many.

John Andretti raced in CART, IMSA GTP, Rolex Sports Car Series, Indy Racing League (IRL), NASCAR Monster Energy Series, Camping World truck series, and NHRA drag racing. He has two wins in NASCAR Monster Energy Series and one win in Champ Cars. His career spans from 1987-2010.

John Andretti on right with his uncle Mario Andretti at Indy 500 qualifying day 2007. Tim Wohlford photo Wikipedia

February 2017 Andretti was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Typical of the Andretti family, he would not go down without a fight. My friend and fellow motorsports writer, Brad Winters from Columbus, Indiana (he likes to remind me, Tony Stewart’s hometown) wrote this great piece on Andretti’s fundraiser and his request for everyone over 50 to get a colonoscopy. The article is used with Brad’s permission in hopes to benefit Riley Hospital and honor John Andretti’s wishes. Brad can be found on Facebook.

“Several years ago I received a call from Rich Hensley, a pharmacy rep in Kansas.  He had found my number in the back of a ‘Chicken Soup For the NASCAR Soul’ book.
He told me about a young boy for whom he made deliveries several days a week.  Rocky was a four-year old NASCAR fan with cancer and Hensley asked if I could possibly have a driver call him.
I called John Andretti and told him the situation and John said, ‘let me see what I can do and I will get back with you.’
A week later John and his coach driver, Skip, entered a trailer park in Liberty, Missouri and knocked on a door.  For the next several hours John and Skip played video games with Rocky and his family and shared several gifts John had brought with him.
The only thing John asked me to do was not call the media.  He wanted this day to be just for Rocky and his family.  John kept in touch with the family and when Rocky lost his battle with cancer John offered to pay for the funeral but found it was already taken care of by some friends of the family.  Inscribed on Rocky’s grave marker is the number ’43’ John  Andretti car.  Rocky’s mother, Terri, said the visit from John was the greatest gift the family ever received.
In 2011, John shared an idea with his longtime and loyal sponsor, Window World, in an effort to raise money for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.  His idea was to take a racecar around the country and get all the living drivers who have raced in the Indianapolis 500 to sign the car.
Window World agreed to pay for Dallara to make the car.  John then traveled thousands of miles across the country hauling ‘The Stinger’, named after the Marmon Wasp, which won the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Four years and 249 signatures later the car sold at auction for $900,000 with all proceeds going to St. Jude’s.
Corey Sears suffers from cerebral palsy, and thanks to a risky surgery, is able to walk without braces. In 1996, John heard about Corey and offered to drive Corey around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track.  Corey jumped at the opportunity and quickly found a friend in Andretti.
John has kept in touch with Corey and his family for the last 22 years, calling, texting or sending emails to Corey.  ‘John is one of the kindest men I have ever known,’ Corey says.  ‘He reached out to my family 22 years ago and I have been blessed by his friendship ever since.
In a world where athletes go out of their way to avoid people, John is just the opposite.  Countless other children and families can say this.  In a world that desperately needs more kind and genuine people, John is just that for so many of us.’
1996 also started an annual tradition for John that has raised over $4,000,000 for Riley Hospital for Children.  Dave “The King” Wilson hosted a radio show on WIBC and John was a frequent guest.  Matt, the producer of the show, would taunt Dave and say he could beat John in a race.
Dave decided to have his producer ‘put up or shut up’ and he arranged for John and Matt to have a go-kart race to silence Matt once and for all.  The outcome was expected but what was not expected was the beginning of a yearly tradition, the Race4Riley, that would change the lives of hundreds of young children.
Last year the events raised over $533,000 with every penny going to Riley.  This week will host the 22nd Race4Riley events starting with a go-kart race Wednesday at  New Castle Motorsports Park and a progressive dinner Thursday night with some of Indy’s top restaurants.

John Andretti being interviewed at New Castle Motorsports Park where the Race4Riley event is held annually. Race4Riley photo

General Mills was an early sponsor of the events and Kroger, Pepsi and Window World continue to be longtime sponsors for the events.  Nearly everything is donated so Riley sees all funds go directly to them.  This year John and Dave hope to raise over $700,000 yet Dave states that more is always needed.
Riley treats over 300,000 children annually and $700,000 accounts for just over $2.00 a child.  Every penny helps.  Donations can be made at all Indiana Kroger stores.  For more information on Race4Riley go to
This year will be a little different for Race4Riley.  John is not expected to attend the weeks events.  His son, Jarett, also a driver, will stand in for his father just as he did last year.
In February of 2017 John announced he has stage four colon cancer.  He has completed 17 rounds of chemo and will receive another round this week.  His spirits are good as he continues treatment.  Yet, in Andretti style, has used this new platform to raise awareness of colon cancer and to encourage all adults over 50 to get a colonoscopy with his #checkit4andretti campaign.  It is already saving lives with early detection.
John continues to be one of those rare humble men who are ‘jealous for, and not jealous against’ the people he meets.  He ‘runs to and not from’ the pain and sorrow of others. It is my hope you are encouraged to reach out and touch a heart.  You do not have to be famous.  We can all make a difference and it starts with one touch.  Our prayers continue to be with John, his wife Nancy, and his children, Olivia, Amelia and Jarett.”
Photo highlights from this past week

Loring Timing Association land speed racing fans will recognize this man and his race car. Bob Keselowski ran his Dodge at Bonneville this past weekend with a goal of 270 plus mph. He ran 271 mph. Brian Keselowski photo

Timing slip verifying that Bob Keselowski went 271 plus mph at Bonneville. Former PR Director for Brian Keselowski Motorsports-Speed Shop, Jennifer Calandrillo said, ” He (Bob) is very happy with the way things are going out there and the car is perfect. I believe he is going to make another run tomorrow.” She added “Way to go again Brad Keselowski who made it 3 wins in a row and the 500th win for Roger Penske! Add Bob Keselowski’s land speed shattering 271.84603mph run at the Bonneville Salt Flats earlier today and you can’t deny this weekend belongs to the Keselowski boys!” Brian Keselowski photo

Robin Holmquist, wife of snowmobile drag race team owner John Holmquist shows he is not the only racer in the family. She ran the 2018 Caribou Half-Marathon. She said, “One night we went out with some friends, then came back to our house, and saw the commercial about the marathon. We said we should walk it. Sure we said, laughed about it, then we signed on and it was real. What the hell were we thinking. I started jogging 2 days a week a couple of months ago. I did meet my goal and then some. I never thought I would ever run a half a marathon. But I’m glad I did.” Erica Holmes photo

“The California Kid” Kody Swanson did it again in the V6 powered #4 sprint car. Swanson won the Thursday Night Sprints Finale at Anderson Speedway, Anderson, Indiana. The race was the 125 lap Glen Niebel Classic. Left to right car owner Gene Nolen, Kody, Trevor, and Jordan Swanson. Darrell Harper photo


With 17 laps to go, Bobby Santos III attempted to pass Swanson for second place in turn 4 and spun. Swanson went on to win on the last lap passing Jerry Coons Jr who had led 124 laps in the 125 lap race. Santos placed fifth.  All are back in action at Eldora Speedway September 22 for the final USAC Silver Crown race of the season. Darrell Harper photo

Speedway Karting at Speedway 95 in Hermon. L to r 2nd place Jack McKee, race winner Gage Theriault, and 3rd place Mason Gillis. County native Theriault won his third feature in 5 races at the track this season. GT Racing

Senior Sportsman kart class at Speedway Karting line up for feature. L to r #88 Daniel Faulkingham placed second, Jason Theriault #14 placed third and #53 Damian Theriault won. Speedway Karting finale is September 29. Team JRT photo

Richmond Karting Speedway Senior kart finale. L to r fourth place Zachary Bowie, third place Kaylee Colby, second place Colin Dube, and race winner and points champion Damian Theriault. Fifth place Brandon Williams was absent from the photo. Team JRT photo

Frenchville native Shawn Martin, now living in Auburn, son Colby celebrates after winning the season finale point race feature at Richmond Karting Speedway. Shawn Martin photo

Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) State Karting Invitational September 22

The NMKA will be hosting their season finale on September 22 at Spud Speedway. Three classes of kart racers will run three heat races and three feature races which will determine points champions for 2018.

Pits open at 9:30 am with racing beginning at noon. Pit entrance fee is $10 per person. Grandstand viewing is free. Pizza will follow the racing action and awards will be presented. Contact me at for a detailed schedule of events for the day.

For an update from Robert Wickens who had a horrendous crash at the IndyCar Pocono Race August 19, 2018, click on the link below.

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria


Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine