It’s not the largest sponsor decal on Dave Farrington’s bright orange No. 23 Pro Series race car. But it’s the most significant and is already paying dividends.

Farrington, 23, of Jay, is one of just seven short-track drivers across the nation whose cars are sporting the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) logo. The program is named for the late Alan Kulwicki, the 1992 Winston Cup champion.

“They narrowed it down to 15 and did some phone interviews and then they picked the seven finalists,” Farrington said. “It was quite amazing.”

According to KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts, who was Kulwicki’s longtime public relations man, more than 100 drivers applied.

Farrington has a solid resume that includes qualifying for four straight Oxford 250s. Last year, in his first season racing full-time at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Farrington won the top Pro Series title with superb consistency, overcoming a midseason blown motor.

What set him apart from other candidates – he’s the only driver from the Northeast in the KDDP, Roberts said – was Farrington’s preparedness, education, and some striking similarities with Kulwicki.

Farrington has a mechanical engineering degree and is pursing his master’s in business at the University of Maine while working as a production engineer at Bath Iron Works. Kulwicki, who died in a plane crash in 1993, also had an engineering degree. Farrington’s racing has always been family-based. Kulwicki was the last of the independent driver/owners to win NASCAR’s top championship.

“We did conference calls with each of the 15 finalists and I can recall Dave being almost exceptional in the way that he conducted himself,” Roberts said. “It eerily reminded me of Alan. Plus, one of our advisory board members had retired from working at a shipyard. There were just so many parallels that it made it almost a no-brainer that Dave would be among our seven drivers.”

The KDDP was established by Kulwicki’s stepmother with the intent of helping “grassroots” racers with sponsorship money, publicity and networking opportunities while keeping Kulwicki’s legacy alive. Kulwicki drove the No. 7 car, and each of the seven KDDP drivers will receive $7,777 in direct sponsorship funds. One driver will be named winner of the Kulwicki Cup on Nov. 15, which comes with a bonus check of $54,439 (seven times $7,777), Roberts said.

The KDDP is significantly different in approach from other development programs, Farrington said. One of the better known is JR Motorsports. Mainers Austin Theriault and Reid Lanpher have had stints driving for JR Motorsports, co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“We’re staying in our own equipment and racing in our own area,” Farrington said. “We’re not sending in applications and then paying out money to drive their equipment. (KDDP is) going to support us in our race programs. Honestly, it’s just the complete opposite of JR Motorsports. I’m not moving down to Virginia and driving their cars and paying $250,000.”

The direct sponsorship money Farrington will receive is modest but still significant. Farrington said it could cover about half of his seasonal tire bill. The impact of having his name associated with a former Winston Cup champion is harder to measure, but likely of greater value.

“I think we want to carry our career as far as we can within budget limits. This is one of my last great chances to move up from here, and generally that’s what we’re looking to do,” Farrington said.

Farrington said this year he’s intent on defending his Beech Ridge championship on Saturday nights and also wants to take a crack at the Pro All-Stars Series Super Late Model Northeast Championship, including Saturday’s race at Beech Ridge (qualifying begins at 3 p.m.).

Farrington also will make some forays into the American-Canadian Tour.

If the season goes well, he believes the logical next step would be to try the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Tour.

Most of all, Farrington wants to win a race in 2015, something that eluded him last season.

“Picking up some wins at Beech Ridge would be nice, and picking up a win at the Oxford 250 is always the dream,” he said.

NOTES: Windham’s Bradley Babb, Beech Ridge’s 2012 Pro Series champ, was one of the 15 Kulwicki finalists. … After a year of dormancy, Unity Raceway has a 2015 schedule, featuring Sunday racing. General Manager Nick Huff is adopting a model Wiscasset Speedway has used since it reopened in 2013 by having two groups of divisions that race on alternate weeks. Opening day at Unity is May 17.