Farmington man is racing on the biggest stageFarmington NASCAR fans are in for a treat next month. It’s not every day they get to cheer for a hometown boy racing at Daytona International Speedway. But this year, local fans will have a new favorite on the track, because Farmington’s Adam Royle has already locked up a spot in the University of Northwestern Ohio Battle At The Beach, set for Feb. 18-19 at Daytona.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Farmington NASCAR fans are in for a treat next month. It’s not every day they get to cheer for a hometown boy racing at Daytona International Speedway.
But this year, local fans will have a new favorite on the track, because Farmington’s Adam Royle has already locked up a spot in the University of Northwestern Ohio Battle At The Beach, set for Feb. 18-19 at Daytona.
The UNOH Battle At The Beach is a new event, presented as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Royle is one of 10 racers with a guaranteed place in the race because he finished ninth in the nation in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Now 31, Royle has been racing for most of his life.
“My dad was involved in racing, my grandpa was in racing, so I grew up with it,” Royle said. “I always wanted to do it.”
He started racing at age 15 in the Sportsman’s Division at Elko and wound up earning Rookie of the Year. The second year, he came home with the Champion title in the same division.
He moved into the Late Model division and raced that for a while, then decided to participate in American Speed Association Racing at the ASA track in Wisconsin for a few years. Eventually, Royle decided to come back to Elko and Raceway.
As a driver, Royle gets points for every feature he competes in. Those points are registered against other drivers around the nation. As the season progresses, drivers are ranked nationally through the NASCAR association.
“It’s based on a point system all year long,” Royle said. “They take your best 18 features of the year to determine where you place in the nation.”
When it got right down to the end of the season in October, Royle learned he was pretty close to qualifying for the Battle At The Beach.
“We had to win the last two nights in Elko to get in, and we were a clean sweep both nights,” he said.
He knew he was close to qualifying, but it wasn’t until the following Wednesday that he found out he had not only qualified, but he’d come in ninth in the nation in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, which locked him into a guaranteed spot at Daytona.
There will be 100 cars coming to the race, he said, but only 30 of those drivers will actually qualify to race in the main feature.
“For a kid from Farmington, Minnesota to go down there and give it a whirl will be pretty interesting,” he said.
Still, Royle will have to participate in some of the qualifying events, which is just fine. He hasn’t been behind the wheel of his stock car, a 2013 Ford Fusion, since October. But he’s pretty confident he will be good with the four hours of practice he’ll get once he gets to Daytona.
These days, Royle and his crew are going through his car, getting it ready for his Daytona debut. Daytona has some regulations that have to be met, so they’re working on updating the car to meet those requirements.
He’s got a few longtime sponsors in Godfrey Custom Signs, Impact Printing, Independent Black Dirt, Circle Track Magazine, Muscle Mustang Fast Ford Magazine, Cihak Farms and Ford Racing, but he’s also out finding new sponsors. The race will be televised on Speed Channel, so the visibility of his car has attracted quite a few new sponsors from all over the United States these past few months. Those sponsorships help to pay for the car’s tires, motors, maintenance and so on.
“I don’t make any money in this. All the money we make goes to the sponsorships,” he said. “It’s a very expensive hobby I like to do.”
Drivers will be competing on a four-mile oval on the back stretch of the speedway. The Battle At The Beach is Feb. 18. Royle shouldn’t be too hard to spot – his national rank has earned him a spot in the front row.
“That’s a good thing, because everyone is behind you then,” he said.
Royle and his wife, Joy, have three sons, ages 10, 8 and 4.
Getting to Daytona also involves travel and transport, which doesn’t come cheap. To help Royle get to Daytona, and get his car down there, too, a beer bash fundraiser has been set up at Tailgaters in Farmington. The event will start at 6 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 26.
“We’re trying to get some funds to get the trucks down there, so we’re inviting everyone to come out and have some fun with us,” he said.
He’ll even sign autographs.