Austin Theriault made his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut on Friday at Michigan International Speedway in the Venturini Motorsports No. 66 Toyota and won the Corrigan 200 after beating Mason Mitchell on a restart with 17 laps to go. He became the first driver to win his ARCA debut race since Alex Bowman in 2011.
Mitchell meanwhile had to settle for his fifth second place finish in his last 10 starts as he still looks for his first win.
Mason Mitchell started from the pole and took off from the start. On lap 2 Austin Wayne Self was running third and got into the outside wall which dropped him to ninth before he could gather it back in.
The first caution would come out on lap 4 when Tom O'Leary blew an engine. He finished 25th of the 26 cars. Also stopped on the track at the time of caution was Rick Clifton but he would continue.
The race restarted on lap 9 and Mitchell again opened an early large lead. By lap 15 he led over Austin Theriault by 2.7 seconds. Spencer Gallagher was third, Justin Allison fourth, and Justin Boston fifth. By lap 30 Mitchell's lead was up to 5.6 seconds.
Green flag pit stops began at the end of lap 44 when Spencer Gallagher was passed for third by Justin Allison and decided to come to pit road. Justin Boston pitted on lap 45 but stalled his car and his team could not get it to refire. They eventually pushed him behind the wall before they returned the car to the race.
On lap 47 with a 3.6 second lead over Theriault Mitchell pitted and he was followed by the second place car. Mitchell's team had trouble with the jack on the left side of his stop which cost him about eight seconds because after the stops Theriault was ahead of Mitchell by about four seconds.
Justin Allison had inherited the lead until he pitted on lap 49 which gave the lead to Austin Wayne Self who had pitted on the first caution. Self pitted on lap 56 but stalled the car leaving which ended up putting him two laps down. Grant Enfinger who entered as the points leader also pitted under the first caution and then from the lead on lap 57 but he also stalled leaving and lost two laps.
Theriault would cycle to the lead and he was ahead of Mitchell by two seconds. Theriault hit lap traffic and on lap 65 Mitchell took advantage to take the lead back.
The second caution then came out on lap 76 when Justin Boston blew his engine. He ended up finishing in 21st. The top two cars of Mitchell and Theriault did not pit while the other four cars on the lead lap and the free pass car pitted.
The race would restart on lap 84 and Mitchell chose the inside lane with Theriault on the outside. The two would battle side-by-side through turns 1 and 2 and on the backstretch the two made slight contact when Theriault tried to side draft Mitchell. That allowed Theriault take the lead into Turn 3 and he set sail from there. By the finish on lap 100 Theriault won by about five seconds. It was the fastest ARCA race ever at Michigan.
Finishing third was Justin Allison for his career best finish. John Wes Townley finished fourth, Spencer Gallagher fifth, Will Kimmel sixth, and the last lead lap car was Frank Kimmel in seventh. Grant Enfinger finished eighth, Austin Wayne Self ninth, and Josh Williams tenth. Ken Schrader finished 11th, Tom Hessert 12th, and Cody Coughlin 13th.
Mason Mitchell has taken the points lead away from Grant Enfinger for the first time this season and leads by 30 points. Frank Kimmel is 155 points back in third. John Wes Townley is fourth and Tom Hessert fifth.
The tenth race of the season will take place at Elko Speedway on June 21st.
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