POLAND — At a time when most preteen girls are discussing last summer’s best beach days with friends or hanging out at the Mall, one young girl in Poland is reflecting on a summer spent going in circles.

After six years racing Karts, 12-year-old Maggie Ferland jumped into a Legends car last spring to compete in the highly-competitive New England Legends Car (NELCAR) series. Ferland was part of the Young Lions division, designated for drivers between the ages of 12 and 16. 

Legends cars are 5/8th scale replicas of prewar coupes, powered by 1,200cc motorcycle engines. They’re fast, responsive and serve as an ideal transition vehicle for young racers going between Karts and a full-sized stock car.

Ferland competed at Wiscasset and Oxford Plains Speedway this past summer, yet could not race in the NELCAR events at Beech Ridge (Scarborough) due to an age restriction in that type of car.

Incredibly, she finished 17th in overall points and earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors, the youngest ever to earn that award in series history.

“It feels good knowing I was the top rookie in such a competitive division,” Ferland said. “There were some pretty tough drivers, including my dad. You only have one rookie season. I’m proud of how it turned out for everyone that helped.”

Along with her father, Scott, two well-known veterans within the Maine racing community helped guide Ferland through her learning curve. Farmington legend Billy Clark and former Oxford official Randy Varney were both fixtures in Ferland’s shop and at the track all season. She knows how valuable Clark’s mechanical expertise can be to a racer at any level.

“I noticed a huge improvement in how my car handled after the first time Billy worked on it,”  Ferland added. “I know that he can improve the setup on any race car, and that I’m very lucky to have his help getting the car dialed in.”  

Scott Ferland has been around auto racing for decades. His connections with men like Clark and Varney will provide priceless guidance to his daughter, yet he says it’s her raw talent that amazes those who watch her compete.

“She is really very smooth and consistent out there, lap after lap,” Ferland said. “Despite her age, she acts level-headed on the track and doesn’t get rattled. We live on a farm, so she’s driven equipment and isn’t intimidated by anything. 

“She uses her head on the track, just like she does at home. I’m super proud of what she’s been able to accomplish. I bought a Super Late Model for her this fall. She already has a few laps in it and wants more. She’s just hungry to gain more experience.”

Ferland isn’t making any long-term plans right now, choosing instead to talk about realistic goals for next season. Like most drivers, male or female, a chance to win or at least land on the podium is the ultimate dream.

She seems content to continue gaining experience and honing her skills one step
at a time. Some day, she’ll have her own chance to shine.

“Our plan for right now is to run the full NELCAR Legends schedule again next season. I had a blast last summer, and just hope to be even more competitive in 2014.” 

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