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.

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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