NNS: JR Motorsports adding Super Late Model driver Austin Theriault for 3 races

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JR Motorsports already has one young gun on its Nationwide Series team with 18-year-old Chase Elliott. Later this season, it will add another.

Austin Theriault, 20, who raced for Brad Keselowski’s Super Late Model team in the past two seasons, will drive JRM’s No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro in three Nationwide events at Iowa Speedway (May 18), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 12), and Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 20).

A product of the vibrant New England racing scene, Theriault earned three Pro All Stars Series victories last year. He has also spent time in the American-Canadian Tour and the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series.

“Our company is known for putting young talent in cars and giving them a shot on one of NASCAR’s biggest stages, and that is what we are giving Austin with this three-race opportunity,” said JRM general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller in a statement.

“This keeps our No. 5 car on the track, and it gives Austin the chance to show what he’s got with a lot more eyeballs taking notice.”

Eyewear brand SPY will sponsor Theriault for the Iowa race as an extension of its partnership with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s “Dirty Mo Radio” podcasts.

“I am excited to be continuing my professional development with JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series,” Theriault said in his own thoughts. “I have been working hard for this opportunity, and to be associated with JR Motorsports and SPY is a dream come true.”

The part-time No. 5 has been driven primarily by Kevin Harvick this year in Nationwide, and currently sits fourth in the series’ owner’s standings.

F1 2017 driver review: Lewis Hamilton

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Following on from the driver reviews from the Verizon IndyCar Series, MotorSportsTalk kicks off its Formula 1 recaps by looking back on Lewis Hamilton’s championship year.

Lewis Hamilton

Team: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Car No.: 44
Races: 20
Wins: 9
Podiums (excluding wins): 4
Pole Positions: 11
Fastest Laps: 7
Points: 363
Laps Led: 527
Championship Position: 1st

Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up his fourth Formula 1 world title with two races to spare, but his margin of victory was far from representative of what was arguably his greatest championship victory yet.

Mercedes entered 2017 bidding to become the first team to defend its titles across a seismic regulation change, and appeared to be on the back foot early on after Ferrari impressed in pre-season testing and won the opening race through Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton was left wrestling with a “diva” of a car, as coined by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, but was able to get on top of it by the second race of the year in China, taking a dominant win in wet-dry conditions.

The win was representative of Hamilton’s form through the first portion of the season. When he won, he won in style – as in Spain, Canada and on home soil in Great Britain – but the off weekends saw him struggle.

Heading into the summer break, Vettel’s championship lead stood at 14 points, with the pair’s on-track rivalry having already spilled over in Baku when they made contact behind the safety car.

But Hamilton then produced the form that propelled him to titles in 2014 and 2015, breaking the back of the season through the final flyaways. As Vettel and Ferrari capitulated over the Asian rounds, picking up just 12 points when a full score of 75 for three wins was certainly in reach, Hamilton capitalised and put himself on the brink of the title.

While Hamilton’s run to P9 in Mexico was a messy way to wrap up his hardest-fought title to date, getting across the line and the job done was a significant result.

Unlike his last two titles, Hamilton was tasked with an enemy outside of the team in this title race and a car that arguably wasn’t the fastest on the grid.

But his unquestionable talent and ability to dig deep to get himself out of tough situations – Singapore and Brazil being two key examples where the result was far from expected – proved crucial once again.

Hamilton is now in the annals of F1 history as one of its all-time greats. The pole record is his, and only two drivers can boast more world titles than him (Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio).

Depending on how long he wants to continue racing, going down as F1’s statistical all-time great is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Season High: Charging from the pit lane to P4 in Brazil, a race he could have even won.

Season Low: Dropping out in Q2 in Monaco, only recovering to P7 in the race.