Dave Farrington, Jr. didn’t have the start to his 2015 season that he was hoping for. One year after being crowned the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Maine State Champion, the driver of the orange No. 23 didn’t have the best of luck as he traveled to a handful of touring series events throughout New England during the early stages of the year.
On Sunday, all of that bad fortune was reversed when Farrington, a member of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, scored his first Late Model win carrying the Kulwicki colors. The driver from Jay, Maine took the lead from Nick Hinkley on lap 162 and pulled away to win the Coastal 200 $3,000-to-win Late Model race at Wiscasset Speedway (ME).
“That was a great win for us,” Farrington told Speed51.com powered by JEGS on Tuesday. “I’d say probably the biggest one of our career, lap wise and money wise certainly. We were kind of struggling here in New England, but if felt real good to get the win.
“I feel like we’re back on track now within the program itself. I made sure that I could do a polish victory lap in honor of Alan (Kulwicki). I had to make sure I got permission first from the people at the speedway and they gave me the okay, so I proceeded to do that.”
Throughout the first half of Sunday’s 200-lap race in the coastal town of Wiscasset, Maine, Farrington didn’t look like he would be a factor to win the race. The car was sensitive to any changes that his team made that day and was extremely loose come race time. Luckily for Farrington, the caution flag waved a number of times during the early stages of the race allowing him to come to pit road for adjustments.
“I think a lot of people counted us out in the first half of the race because we were not a contender at all,” Farrington stated. “We were pretty bad. We were just hanging on and struggling just to stay in the top-10 to be honest with you. We pitted two or three times trying to tighten the car up. We were nowhere near where we needed to be and I think we were probably about a straightaway or so from getting lapped at one point. Cautions fell in our favor and gave us the time to make the adjustments we needed to make and stay on the lead lap.”
On lap 87, Farrington made the decision to come to pit road to make his only two-tire stop of the race. At the end of the day, he believed the decision to pit early ended up being what ultimately put them in a position to win the race.
“That was really what we needed and that was the difference,” Farrington said. “We slowly made our way back to the front and saved our stuff better than most. It all worked out at the end.
“The second set of tires we put on weren’t really a whole lot different than the first stagger wise and everything else, but it made the difference in the end. It was more about just getting in the position that we could to win the thing.”
When Farrington came down pit road for his two-tire pit stop, he said that there were a number of people working on his car that he didn’t even know. Normally, his family-owned team consists of himself, his father and his uncle Jeff, but with live pit stops factoring into the equation, a larger pit crew was needed.
“We ended up getting some of our sponsors who happened to be at the track to help pit the car,” Farrington stated. “The coolest thing about it was that a couple of the guys changing tires and jacking up the car up for us, I didn’t even know who they were.
“It’s so cool to have the local community. Us being from Jay, our sponsors Wood Pellet Warehouse and Hilltop Collision Center are from Jay as well. It just all comes together as one family and one team within the community. It’s a great win for us and I hope it gives the team some morale and brings more of our supporters to the track, too.”
Despite winning the 2014 Pro Series championship at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) and being named the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion for the State of Maine, Farrington didn’t record a single win last season. Being able to shake the monkey off of his back so early in the 2015 season has him confident that things are going to turn around for him moving forward.
“It’s hopefully going to be the turning point in our year because we haven’t had much success leading up to Sunday,” Farrington said. “It’s good to have the monkey off of your back to finally win that race that eluded us all year last year.
“We went to Beech Ridge and finished ninth in the season opener, which is okay. It could have been worse; it could have been a wreck or something like that but it still wasn’t where we want to be to start off defending our title. The win just means a whole lot to our family and the rest of our season.”
One of the most unique aspects of Sunday’s event held at Wiscasset Speedway was the low ticket price of $5 for fans wanting to watch an extended-distance Late Model feature. According to Farrington, the large crowd assembled at the race track made the win even more special for him.
“The grandstands were packed,” he said. “There were over 2,000 people there and I’ve never seen it so packed. Of course, who can pass up going to an event like that for five dollars? Hats off to Richard and Vanessa Jordan and the whole Wiscasset Speedway staff. They’ve really turned that place around and made it one heck of a short track in the state of Maine.”
Farrington not only liked the amount of fans on the track, but he also enjoyed the sight of pulling into victory lane. Carrying the Kulwicki Driver Development logo on the side panels of his race car and racing in honor of the late great Alan Kulwicki only added to that enjoyment.
“It certainly means a lot to carry the colors and the name into victory lane.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: 5th Turn Racing in Maine Facebook Page