Marussia team principal thankful for rest day

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Marussia team principal John Booth is pleased with the start that his drivers have made to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, but he has admitted that the rest day on Friday does give the team extra time to review the data collected and prepare for the sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

Unlike any other race, Monaco traditionally holds the first two free practice sessions on Thursday, allowing the teams to take Friday off whilst the support series run on the track. For the fans, it may cause some confusion, but Booth revealed that this gives the teams more time to understand the data collected in practice.

“Both drivers have had a clean start to their Monaco debut in an F1 car,” Booth said in a team statement. “The programme we set out was based around giving them plenty of laps for circuit familiarisation, along with some more detailed tyre evaluations in FP2.

“We’re reasonably happy with the performance and pace of the car but there is definitely work to do to improve their race pace on the tires.”

Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton finished towards the back of the grid in yesterday’s sessions, failing to beat closest-rivals Caterham in FP1. Regardless, Booth is pleased with the start that the team has made to the Monaco GP weekend, with Bianchi finishing ahead of both Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde in the second session.

“Fortunately we have the added advantage of an extra day to go through the information we have gathered today and at least we can be happy with the initial pace of the car.”

Marussia will be hoping to take advantage of the high rate of attrition that usually occurs during the Monaco Grand Prix and build upon their season-best result of 13th at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Theriault clinches ARCA title before finale at Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) There is no long, convoluted story about how Austin Theriault came to Ken Schrader Racing, forging a team that so dominated the ARCA Series that it captured the title simply by showing up for the finale.

“We both wanted something to do,” the folksy Schrader said with a smile and shrug before Friday night’s race at Kansas Speedway. “He didn’t have a car to drive and I didn’t have a driver.”

So, they solved each other’s problem.

Theriault hopped into the seat and proceeded to win seven times over the first 19 races, building such a lead on his nearest challenger that he sewed up the title at Kentucky. And that made for a rather enjoyable weekend at Kansas, where all the pressure was off their team.

Along the way, Theriault became the first driver to win at a superspeedway, short track, dirt track and road event in the same season, and he swept the superspeedway and short-track challenges.

If there was something to win, he won it.

“I hoped we’d have a shot at it and it’s proved out this year that we’ve really exceeded anybody’s expectations,” Theriault said. “We had some things to work on early. We kind of dusted off a bit, went back to work. We had some time between Daytona and the mile-and-a-halfs that came up later in the season, and we realized where we were strong and where we had to work.

“But in the end it came back to pure dedication, I think,” he explained. “The amount of time it took behind the scenes to make this happen.”

The 23-year-old driver from Fort Kent, Maine, knows something about dedication. He appeared to be on racing’s fast track, scoring a Truck Series ride a few years ago for Brad Keselowski, when a terrifying crash at Las Vegas left him with a broken back and sitting on the sidelines.

The best ride he could find last year was in the K&N Pro Series.

It was at a trade show in Indianapolis last December that Theriault ran into Schrader, who was busy putting together a team for this season. They had dinner a couple nights later and, Schrader said, it was his wife Ann who came away impressed by the yes-sir, no-sir driver.

“My wife doesn’t go to all the races,” Schrader said. “After we talked she said, `I like that guy. How good is he?’ She doesn’t know. I knew he was racing well in Keselowski’s truck, had an unfortunate wreck, had to sit out a bit. I told her, `That’s somebody who could make us very happy next year.”‘

Theriault delivered on that promise.

They weren’t the only ones happy Friday, either. Zane Smith earned his second pole of the season, beating teammate Sheldon Creed to earn the top spot for the Kansas ARCA 150, while 20-year-old Natalie Decker announced a full-time ride with Venturini Motorsports next season.

“This is obviously a big step in my career,” said Decker, who made six starts as a rookie this season. “I’m confident and ready for this next move. After tonight my focus shifts to next season. We’ll be ready to go at Daytona.”