NASCAR Driver Austin Theriault Running for State Legislature in Maine

by Matthew Memrick

Former NASCAR driver Austin Theriault is switching gears and running for state legislature in his home state of Maine.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the former 2017 ARCA Menards Series champion announced his candidacy last weekend at a sled dog racing event.

CBS Sports reported the 28-year-old Theriault has not raced in any significant series since 2019 based on a lack of sponsorships. He had five Cup Series starts for Rick Ware Racing that year. In total, he raced in 24 NASCAR-affiliated series races.

Before NASCAR, he won seven ARCA races and took the series championship. 

The Maine man owns a driver development business in Maine and North Carolina, where he teaches aspiring drivers to become better racers. The Bangor Daily News reported that Theriault was a mentor to fellow Fort Kent resident and 13-year-old Carson Brown. He also worked as a consultant for Xfinity Series driver Howie DiSavino III.

Former NASCAR Racer Motivated To Run, Bring Back Common Sense

Theriault is working to lead state District 151, including his native Fort Kent and Aroostook County. 

Fort Kent is a U.S. border town just outside Canada. It’s about a 3-hour, 22-minute drive from Bangor.

The man said recent political issues spurred him to run. He said he desires to bring “common sense” back to the Maine state capital in August.

“Recent events have made it painfully clear that some misguided policies are making life unaffordable for the average Aroostook County family,” Theriault said. “I am confident that we can work together to get Maine back on track and strengthen Aroostook County so that my parents and grandparents can rest assured that the community will be a flourishing place for the next generation.”

CBS Sports and The Bangor Daily News reported on Theriault’s decision to enter politics. Both stories did not mention the man’s party affiliation.

Theriault’s Not First Racer To Enter Politics

Theriault is bound to get some votes based on his popularity in the small Maine county.

He wouldn’t be the first NASCAR racer to try his hand at politics.

NASCAR legend Richard Petty ran in North Carolina back in 1996. Though the “King” won over 200 races, his pursuit of the secretary of state job didn’t work out too well. 

Democrat Elaine Marshall beat the NASCAR owner, who ran as a Republican in 1996

“If I had known I wasn’t going to win,” Petty said, “I wouldn’t have run.”

He told the Greensboro News and Record that he considered a run for state governor but opted against it.

“He has an interest in being a political force in North Carolina, and he’s going to work to maintain that,’ Richard Petty Political Action Committee operative Paul Shumaker Jr. told the newspaper in 1995. “He’s going to continue to work, and we’re going to continue to look for opportunities.”

The Level Cross native started his political career in 1978 with his election to the Randolph County Commission.