SCARBOROUGH — Garrett Hall is 19, but that doesn’t mean he’s too young to have learned from experience.

For the second straight season, Hall entered championship night at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway leading the Sport Series division.

Last season he crumbled and lost his lead. Saturday night he closed the deal, finishing fifth ahead of 2008 champion Sally Gherardi and veteran Clyde Hennessey to wrap up his first track title.

“Last year I learned a lot. We had four teams battling for a championship and I was the leader by only a couple points,” Hall said. “Last year I was really stressed up. Tonight I came in as, ‘If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t we move on and become a stronger team.’ I had it mentally in my head not to get stressed out and to just take it as another race.”

The other track champions crowned Saturday night in the weekly NASCAR Whelan All-American series were also first-time champs.

Dave Farrington Jr., 23, of Jay had his Pro Series crown clinched as soon as he took the green flag. Then he went out and did what he’s done all season; he avoided trouble – especially when an early wreck that put Mike Fowler into the backstretch wall happened right in front of him – and moved from the back of the starting grid to the front, finishing fifth.

“Boy, when Fowler got involved in that wreck I don’t know how we didn’t get involved,” Farrington said. “The brake pedal was all the way to the floor. I think there’s been a lot of luck involved this year even though we never got a win.”

Justin Karkos of Livermore Falls captured his first Wildcat championship. He won the Mini-Stock championship at Oxford Plains in 2009.

Karkos entered the night with a 30-point lead on David Vaughan. While Vaughan did all he could, winning both his heat and the feature, Karkos’ solid fourth-place run was more than enough to secure the title.

The Sport Series division was the only one with real dramatic possibilities.

Hall led Gherardi by seven points, and Hennessey was 21 points behind. In the 13-car, 35-lap feature, Gherardi was unable to find the speed or grip to contend (she needed to beat Hall by five spots). Meanwhile, Hall methodically worked forward to secure the title, passing Hennessey in the process. Russell Morse won the race.

“I could have ridden behind Clyde, but I don’t want to be one of those guys,” Hall said. “I want to go out there and do the best I can.”

The championship night could be the final race in the Sport Series for Hall, a 2013 graduate of Scarborough High. The family-owned team (his father, Dennis, won the 1993 Limited Sportsman championship) recently purchased a Pro Series car and is contemplating a move to Beech Ridge’s premier weekly division.

“We’ll see how it goes. It’s up in the air,” Gary Hall said. “I still want to race this car, but I want to race the other one, too.”

In the Pro Series race, Corey Bubar dominated to win his fourth event of the season. But Bubar’s title hopes were scrubbed weeks earlier because of accidents. That was the type of thing Farrington avoided all year en route to 15 top-10 finishes in 16 races.

“He was really consistent, he probably had a top-three car every week,” Bubar said. “He got what he could out of it and he didn’t try to get too much. Luck is a big part of it, but you definitely have to be good, too. You don’t just win one of these championship on just pure good luck.”

Farrington finished the season with eight straight top-fives, but it was his second-place finish in the season opener that set the championship run in motion. At that time, his team was uncertain about racing full time at Beech Ridge.

“We just decided if we were doing well enough and were high enough in the points, we’d keep coming back,” he said. “I’m sure everybody here didn’t expect (my) 23 car to be the Pro Series champion this year. There’s probably some members of our crew and maybe even myself who didn’t think we could win it. We just try to play it week by week and go where the wins can be or where we think we can have the best chance of being successful.”

 

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CORRECTION: This story was updated at 6:18 p.m. on Sept. 2, 2014, to correct the first name of Garrett Hall.


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