CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 9, 2016) – Labor Day Weekend is the traditional end of the summer season. It is the last weekend for family vacations, the last weekend before school starts and the end of the local short track seasons in many places; especially in the Midwest and Northeast. For 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) drivers Alex Prunty and Dave Farrington, Jr., the weekly short track season saw great success, but also came with the bitter taste of just missing out on the brass ring.
Heading into the final race of the season at Slinger Speedway, Prunty, was a scant 44 points out of the lead, just behind three-time and defending track champion Steve Apel and resurging veteran Chris Blawat. As the evening progressed, Prunty found himself in the prime position to take advantage should Apel or Blawat have troubles. The Lomira, Wisconsin native shadowed his uncle, Dennis Prunty, lap after lap, waiting for the cagey veteran to leave an opening or make a mistake. That opportunity did not present itself, nor did Apel or Blawat slip up, as they found themselves embroiled in a tooth-and-nail fight for 3rd place. Blawat took the spot and won his first track title, while Prunty, who finished a close second in the race, took heed in being crowned Rookie of the Year.
“We finished 28 points out of first place in our rookie year,” Prunty noted. “Considering where we were at the start of the year, when I was hoping to keep the car in one piece and trying to get comfortable in the car, we have accomplished so much. To put it in perspective, if we would take our eighth place from week one, and make that a fourth, we would have won the championship. I am extremely proud of our team. We went up against some great competition this year, earned a lot of respect from veteran drivers, and made a lot of new fans.”
Prunty will compete in the Season Championship battles at Dells Raceway Park this weekend and hopes to return to the legendary Central Wisconsin track later in the month for the September Showdown. If his racing budget allows, he is looking at tackling the National Short Track Championships in Rockford and the season ending Falloween 150 at Dells Raceway Park in late October. The early season Kulwicki Cup point leader maintains a strong position near the top of the standings, with thirteen top-five finishes and two wins so far this season.
For Dave Farrington, Jr., 2016 was certainly a rebound year and a return to the great success he experienced as the 2014 Beech Ridge Motor Speedway track champion and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Maine State Champion. Running a diverse schedule of NWAAS weekly races at Beech Ridge, occasional PASS North super late model races, and ACT Tour shows, Farrington and his team have proudly carried the KDDP colors to six different tracks this season.
Farrington, who had been winless at Beech Ridge since 2011, picked up two feature victories this season, as well as six top-five finishes. Leading the points for much of the season, Farrington suffered a blown engine on August 6, which was a serious setback for the small, family-run team. Farrington fought through it, pulling out a strong second-place finish at an Oxford Plains weekly show and a fourth at Beech Ridge on August 20. Consistently finding himself down on horsepower, Farrington slipped back in the points during the final weeks and came up short, finishing just behind first-time track champion, Curtis Gerry.
Farrington and crew plan on competing in several late season PASS North and ACT races, mirroring their 2015 stretch drive. He will hit the track this weekend in a 50-lap feature at Oxford Plains Speedway. With his early success, season-long consistency at Beech Ridge and stellar off-track fan and community engagement, Farrington finds himself in a strong position to compete for the 2016 Kulwicki Cup.
“It’s an absolute honor to wear the Kulwicki colors for the second straight season,” Farrington said. “Last year, we were disappointed with our on-track results and we hit the ground running this year. Despite the engine trouble, we have had some great runs. Our competition knew we were there each and every night and that meant so much.”
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-KDDP Press Release. Photo Credit: Alex Prunty FB