Through The Esses - Daniel Herrington - A Genuine Prospect Working Hard To Succeed
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Herrington wins at VIR in the rain
© Andrew S. Hartwell

There are many young men and women who regularly prowl racing paddocks on any given weekend looking to land a ride with a team. For some, the hunt will end well while many will come away empty handed. It takes a potent combination of driving talent, professional demeanor, strong interpersonal skills and winning personality to get car doors to open. If you have a few of the right attributes, but not all of them, your chances aren't going to be as good as those who command all these qualities.

Then again, if you have the money, you can open your own doors. Then the question becomes, can you demonstrate your talent well enough to eventually be weaned off spending the family fortune and instead be paid to drive? If not, you will soon find all that is left of the fortune is the receipts for the expenses you paid.

Amongst the many hunters there are indeed some genuine prospects that do possess the right mix of characteristics to carry them up the ladder of professional racing. A professional racing coach, like veteran racer and author Ross Bentley, can pick these people out of the crowd. And when they find a natural talent with what it takes to go far in racing, they will do what they can to help them get up to speed.

Daniel Herrington is one of those young people that Ross Bentley believes is 'the whole package'.

"Daniel's very fast, and he makes it look easy. He's one of the best I've seen at reading and communicating what the car is doing to his team - he's very good at his role in tuning the car. I've always thought that he's the perfect "All American" driver - just the way he comes off when you meet and talk with him - which makes him very marketable. Plus, he understands the business side of the sport. Most important, he works harder at becoming a professional than just about every other driver. He deserves every opportunity he gets in racing - and more."

That was enough of an endorsement for us to want to spend some time getting to know Daniel Herrington. We recently talked with him and came away impressed with his passion for constantly improving his ability in a race car, and for his tenacity and his optimistic demeanor. He is just 21 but he exhibits the kind of mental maturity while outside the cockpit that can only translate into a serious commitment to go fast while inside it.

Unlike many other professional racers in waiting, Herrington did not start out in karts. In fact, his first taste of high speed driving came six months after he became a licensed driver. He attended a driving school in his 16th year and immediately became intrigued with the prospect of going faster and faster, all while driving someone else's car and getting paid for it in the bargain.

In the following paragraphs, Herrington tells us his story of the journey he is on to become a respected professional racing driver. With the moral support of people who know talent when they see it, we suspect his time to shine is near.

"When I was 16 I got my driver's license. I honestly didn't know much about racing at all. I saw it on TV but I really didn't think about it much. I found the Justin Bell Driving School on the internet somewhere and I convinced my dad that for his birthday we should go down and try that together. I only had my street license for about six months at the time. I never ran in karts and the school was really my first experience going fast in a car.

We got to drive Camaro's and Corvettes for three days and both of us were hooked right away. I met some great instructors there in Guy Cosmo and Shane Lewis. I have stayed in touch with them ever since and they are always giving me encouragement.

From that experience my dad and I bought an E30 BMW and started doing some club races with NASA (National Auto Sport Association). My first race was at VIR, just after my 17th birthday, and just one year after I starting driving a street car at all. All went well i