Kulwicki Driver Development


2021 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
-Team of Seven KDDP Drivers Racing from Coast to Coast in Representing 1992 NASCAR Champ-

CONCORD, N.C. (March 22, 2021) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the 2021 racing season. These young racers will be helping keep the memory and legacy of 1992 NASCAR Cup Champion and Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki alive, while also competing for the rich ($54,439) and prestigious annual Kulwicki Cup Championship. The announcement was made live on today’s edition of “The Bullring” on Speed51.com (Speed51.TV), KDDP’s official media partner.

The drivers range from 16 to 22 years of age and hail from seven different states.

The seven drivers, in alphabetical order with hometowns and Twitter handles, are:

WYATT ALEXANDER, 21, Ellsworth, Maine - @WAlexander_96

After finishing just outside the top seven in the 2019 edition of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, Alexander seeks to best the incredible success of fellow Mainer Dave Farrington, Jr., in both 2015 and 2016. Working towards earning his engineering degree from the University of Maine, Alexander will compete full-time at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway this season along with other pro and super late model starts in the Northeast. Alexander picked up a Granite State Pro Stock Series victory at Beech Ridge last season.

LUKE FENHAUS, 16, Wausau, Wisconsin - @lukefenhausracing, @luke_fenhaus

A 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist, this is the youngster's second year in the program. He was the 2018 super late model track champion at State Park Speedway, and finished a competitive third in the 2020 Slinger Nationals. A high school junior, Fenhaus will again compete full-time with the ARCA Midwest Tour, where he has several career top-five and top-10 finishes. Fenhaus will also make the three-hour trek to the Slinger Speedway every Sunday night to test his mettle against some of the finest weekly super late model warriors in the United States.

MAX KAHLER, 17, Caledonia, Illinois - @max_kahler

As a rookie on the tour, Max Kahler captured the 2020 Big 8 Series championship in the final race of the year at Oktoberfest in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Earlier in the season, he won a Big 8 feature at his home track, Rockford Speedway. A high school junior and starting linebacker on the football team, Kahler scored the biggest victory of his young career, winning the prestigious National Short Track Championship at Rockford last October. In 2021, Kahler will compete in more super late model races, running the full TUNDRA and Alive for Five Series, select starts with the ARCA Midwest Tour and at Slinger Speedway, as well as several races with the Big 8 Series.

RYAN KUHN, 20, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts - @RyanKuhnRacing

The very first Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist from the Bay State, Ryan Kuhn stormed onto the asphalt late model scene in 2018, winning the track championship at Seekonk Speedway and seeing success throughout the Northeast region in 2019. In 2020, Kuhn scored eight top-10s in nine races in his first full season on the American Canadian Tour (ACT), including a podium finish at Riverside Speedway. Kuhn is also an accomplished sim racer, scoring several victories during the 2020 Rowdy Energy Select Super Series hosted by Speed 51. Kuhn is set to tackle the full PASS North Series this season, as well as ACT races, GSPSS events and select Seekonk races.

KOLE RAZ, 18, Lake Oswego, Oregon - @RazKole

Raz, the two-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Arizona State Champion, makes the "Kulwicki 7" after missing the cut for the 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program. In 2020, Raz battled all season with teammate Brandon Farrington, scoring five wins and the track points championship at Tucson Raceway Park. A senior at Lake Oswego High School, Raz is also a talented basketball player. This season, Raz will compete full-time on the Spears SRL Southwest Tour with Sigma Racing and make several starts on his home turf in the Pacific Northwest.

BROOKE STORER, 22, Land O’ Lakes, Florida - @brookestorer9

While 2020 was an abbreviated season for most short track racers, it was a career year for Brooke Storer. Winning five races and scoring eight fast qualifier awards in Florida's ultra-competitive Wheelman Series, Storer established herself as the driver to beat nearly every night. She followed up her success in Florida with an Alabama State Championship in the Pro Truck Division. Storer participated in the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. In 2021, Storer plans on running the full Wheelman Series and hopes to make some pro and/or super late model starts as her schedule allows.

DYLAN ZAMPA, 17, Napa, California - @zampa_dylan

The younger brother of former Kulwicki Driver Development Program semifinalist, Logan Zampa, Dylan Zampa made a name for himself in his very first pro late model start in 2019, winning a televised race at Madera Speedway in California. He finished third in series points. While the COVID-19 pandemic hampered his 2020 schedule, Zampa hopes to come back strong in 2021, stepping up to run the full Spears SRL Southwest Tour Pro Late Model Series, and returning to Madera for several NutUp Series races.

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“This was the most difficult assignment that our voting board members have faced since we started our program prior to the 2015 season,” said Tom Roberts, executive director of the KDDP. “With our last year’s edition of the program having to go on hiatus due to the pandemic, we decided that the appropriate thing to do was to make our 2020 semifinalists automatically eligible for that same status this year.

“To be fair and to continue to move forward, we opened up another application period for the 2021 program that concluded the first weekend of January,” Roberts said. “The end result was that we had the most qualified candidates ever who comprised our group of semifinalists. It was difficult enough to select just seven drivers from our 2020 semifinalists. Adding 10 more deserving young racers to that list made selecting our finalists for 2021 such a demanding task.

“I want to salute our incredible board members for their involvement and commitment during the entire evaluation and voting process this time around,” said Roberts. “Not only did they take in consideration the backgrounds of all the applicants, they also were very diligent in reviewing all of the interviews and studying the competition schedules for all of the semifinalists. They realistically could have selected multiple groups of seven finalists who were so deserving and would make fantastic representatives for Alan and our organization.

“I realize that today’s announcement will make our seven special finalists extremely happy and proud, and they certainly should be,” Roberts said. “We urge them to strive to emulate the personal fortitude and dedication that Alan Kulwicki displayed in becoming a NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer.

“At the same time, this news will also bring disappointment to all the others,” added Roberts. “We hope that every driver who was selected as a semifinalist will consider it as a major honor, especially when they think about the vast number of qualified competitors who applied for our program. We hope that they learned from being a participant in the process and will continue to go forward this season, turning heads along the way. We hope that when the season concludes, they will all be improved racers who will consider applying again for our 2022 program.”

After the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on last year’s competition, the 2021 season will mark the sixth fully-functioning year for the KDDP, which was established in 2014 by the Kulwicki estate for the purpose of helping worthy drivers toward reaching their dreams while at the same time keeping Alan’s memory and legacy alive.

The seven drivers announced today as members of the 2021 KDDP class will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization will provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season as they compete for the grand prize “Kulwicki Cup.” That award winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial prize ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy.

Seymour, Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski won the inaugural Kulwicki Cup in 2015, while Lomira, Wisconsin’s Alex Prunty claimed the 2016 title. Marietta, Georgia’s Cody Haskins returned from being a 2016 finalist (finished sixth) to win the 2017 Kulwicki Cup Championship and Greeley, Colorado’s Brett Yackey claimed the title in 2018. Jeremy Doss, from Upper Lake, California, won the 2019 Kulwicki Cup honors.

“We want to say a special thanks to our former KDDP Champions – Ty Majeski, Alex Prunty, Cody Haskins, Brett Yackey and Jeremy Doss – who all continue to provide incredible input and play an integral role in our organization’s activities,” said Roberts. “They will always be such important members of our Kulwicki Team who we are so proud of.”

The Kulwicki Cup competition goes from April 1 through Oct. 31. The contest’s points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance. Drivers are given points for both their success in chasing checkered flags and for community engagement, program representation and social media activities.

The KDDP urges you to keep up with all of its news and activities by regularly visiting Speed51.com, the organization’s official media partner.

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ADDITIONAL SEMIFINALISTS NAMED FOR 2021 KULWICKI DRIVER PROGRAM
-Seven KDDP Finalists to be Selected from Diverse Group of 25 Promising Young Racers-

CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2021) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today 10 additional racers that will join the semifinalists for their 2021 program. These 10 drivers will join the 15 competitors who were selected for the 2020 edition of the program, which fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. The end result will see a total of 25 semifinalists vying to be among the seven finalists selected to be among the organization’s sixth class members.

The 10 additional semifinalists for the KDDP for 2021 are (in alphabetical order):

  • Cameron Bolin, 16, Sharon, South Carolina - @cameronbolin67
    • 2020 Greenville-Pickens (SC) Speedway Late Model Stock Car Track Champion
  • Cooper Bouchard, 22, Hinesburg, Vermont - facebook.com/BouchardMotorsports
    • 2020 feature winner at Thunder Road (VT) Speedway
  • Nick Egan, 24, Lomira, Wisconsin - @nickegan13
    • Multiple feature wins at Slinger, Madison, Hawkeye Downs, La Crosse, and Wisconsin Dells
  • Brandon Farrington, 24, Tucson, Arizona - @B_Farrington25
    • Multi-time Super Late Model Track Champion at Tucson (AZ) Raceway Park
  • Max Kahler, 17, Caledonia, Illinois - @max_kahler
    • 2020 Big 8 Series Late Model Champion; 2020 National Short Track Championship Feature Winner
  • Janson Marchbanks, 17, Anderson, South Carolina - @ut_marchbanks
    • 2020 South Carolina 250 feature winner at Florence (SC) Motor Speedway
  • Becca Monopoli, 31, Lakeland, Florida - @BeccaMonopoli
    • 89 feature wins and 17 track championships in various series over the last decade
  • Ryan Millington, 19, Statesville, North Carolina - @Ryan_M_Racing17
    • 3rd place, 2020 NASCAR AAWS National Points; 2-time Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway LMSC Champion
  • Hunter Wright, 19, Lebanon, Tennessee - @HunterWright29
    • 2019 Nashville (TN) Fairgrounds Speedway Rookie of the Year (PLM)
  • Dylan Zampa, 17, Napa, California - @zampa_dylan
    • Won first ever Pro Late Model start at Madera (CA) Speedway in 2019

Those 10 drivers join these 15 racers who were chosen as semifinalists last season before the organization went on hiatus due to the pandemic:

  • Wyatt Alexander, 21, Ellsworth, Maine - @WAlexander_96
    • Granite State Pro Stock feature winner at Beech Ridge (ME); Boss Hogg 100 winner at Wiscasset (ME)
  • Danny Benedict, 24, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada - @Dannybenedict54
    • 2019 KDDP Finalist, 2018 Provincial NASCAR Whelen All American Series Champion
  • Jackson Boone, 20, Franklin, Tennessee - @jacksonboone7
    • 2019 Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Pro Late Model Champion
  • RJ Braun, 20, Wales, Wisconsin - @rj_braun
    • 2019 Big 8 Rookie of the Year; 2019 Slinger Speedway SLM ROY; 2020 SLM winner at Kaukauna (WI)
  • Chad Butz, 21, Howard, Wisconsin - @ButzCbr8
    • Youngest Super Late Model winner in Norway Speedway (Michigan) history at the age of 15
  • Luke Fenhaus, 16, Wausau, Wisconsin - @luke_fenhaus
    • 2019 KDDP Finalist, 2018 State Park Speedway Champion, 2020 Slinger Nationals Pole Winner
  • Marcel Gravel, 24, Wolcott, Vermont - @Gravel86Marcel
    • 2017 Milk Bowl pole position winner; all-time Thunder Road track record holder
  • Austin Herzog, 18, Clovis, California - @Austin11Herzog
    • 2019 Nut Up Pro Late Model Champion at Madera Speedway
  • Garrett Huffines, 18, Selah, Washington - @GarrettHuffines
    • 2019 Fall Classic winner (Yakima Speedway) & Pro Late Model Track Champion
  • Ryan Kuhn, 20, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts –
    • 2018 Seekonk Speedway Late Model Champion; pole winner, 2020 Milk Bowl at Thunder Road (VT)
  • Reilly Lanphear, 21, Duxbury, Vermont - @reillylanphear
    • Full-time competitor on the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) in 2020
  • Jacob Nottestad, 19, Cambridge, Wisconsin - @Jnottestad97
    • 2x Slinger Speedway Late Model Track Champ; feature winner in first SLM start at Oktoberfest (2020)
  • Kole Raz, 17, Lake Oswego, Oregon - @RazKole
    • 2019 NASCAR Whelen All American Arizona State Champion; 2020 Tucson Speedway Champion
  • Riley Stenjem, 21, Stoughton, Wisconsin - @77stenjem77
    • Won 2 of 3 Late Model features at 2019 Jefferson Speedway Wisconsin State Championships
  • Brooke Storer, 22, Land O' Lakes, Florida - @brookestorer9
    • 7 feature wins in 2020, including with the 5 Wheelman Late Model Series; 150 total feature wins

“We had an incredibly impressive group of competitors who applied during the most recent application period,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts. “I applaud our great board members for their diligent work in selecting the 10 additional semifinalists.

“They certainly have a monumental task ahead of them now in selecting our seven finalists from this fantastic group of racers,” Roberts added. “Each and every one of the semifinalists are very deserving and I’m confident that Alan would be proud to have all of them carrying his colors this season.”

The additional semifinalists will be participating in interview sessions with KDDP officials during the next two weeks, with the recordings of last year’s semifinalist interviews also being distributed to the voting board members.

The KDDP board will reconvene during the week of March 8-14 and their final vote will take place shortly after.

The seven 2021 KDDP finalists will be officially announced and interviewed live on the Monday, March 22 edition of Speed51.com’s “The Morning Bullring.”

The seven selected drivers will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization will work to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season as they compete for the “grand prize.” The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy. Seymour, Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski was the 2015 Kulwicki Cup winner during the inaugural year for the program. Lomira, Wisconsin’s Alex Prunty claimed the 2016 title and Marietta, Georgia's Cody Haskins was the 2017 KDDP Champion. Brett Yackey, from Greeley, Colorado, claimed the 2018 Kulwicki Cup and Upper Lake, California’s Jeremy Doss earned the 2019 crown.

The Kulwicki Cup competition goes from April 1 through Oct. 31. The contest’s points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance. Drivers are given points for both their success in chasing checkered flags and for community engagement, program representation and social media activities.

The KDDP urges you to keep up with all of its news and activities by regularly visiting Speed51.com, the organization’s official media partner.

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2021 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM APPLICATIONS BEING TAKEN
-Up to 10 Additional Semifinalists Will Be Added to Group of 15 Racers Selected for 2020 Program-

2021 KDDP App LinkCONCORD, N.C. (December 1, 2020) – The application period for the 2021 edition of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) is now open and has been extended until January 8, 2021. Up to 10 drivers will be added to the 15 semifinalists who were named for last year’s program, which was placed on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even though we continue to be in a situation faced with so many unknowns as we head into a new year, we’re taking a proactive approach in hopes that our 2021 program can roll off as scheduled,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “Alan Kulwicki was always a positive thinker and we’re following his lead moving forward. With the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines just around the corner, we’re confident that 2021 can offer a major turnaround for racing, the sports world and life in general.

“This year has been such a difficult challenge to navigate for racing everywhere and I applaud competitors, promoters and track owners alike for being able to provide fans with fantastic competition in the areas where facilities could operate,” said Roberts. “We are really looking forward to getting the sixth season of our program underway, hopefully as scheduled on April 1.”

The 2020 program saw 15 semifinalists being selected and named on March 2, with individual interviews completed on March 12. With the pandemic impacting the country with a fervor, the KDDP board members chose to not go forward in selecting seven finalists for 2020. When it was clear that the program could not operate up to even minimum standards, the board members officially pulled the plug for the year on June 4.

“I applaud our fantastic group of board members for doing everything possible to have a program up and running this year,” said Roberts. “They were committed to making sure that if we had a program, it could offer a level playing field and live up to the tremendous reputation it had earned during our first five years.

“With the board opting to not go forward and select seven finalists from the group of 15 semifinalists, they felt the appropriate thing to do was award those drivers selected this year with automatic semifinalist status for our 2021 program. The end result will see us selecting our seven finalists for the 2021 program from up to a maximum total of 25 promising young racers.”

The 15 KDDP semifinalists for 2020 included, in alphabetical order: (Twitter & Highlights)

Wyatt Alexander, 20, Ellsworth, Maine - @WAlexander_96

Youngest ever champion of Wiscasset Speedway’s Boss Hogg 100

Danny Benedict, 23, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada - @Dannybenedict54

2019 KDDP Finalist, 2018 Provincial NASCAR Whelen All American Series Champion

Jackson Boone, 19, Franklin, Tennessee - @jacksonboone7

2019 Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Pro Late Model Champion

RJ Braun, 19, Wales, Wisconsin -

2019 Big 8 Rookie of the Year, 2019 Slinger Speedway SLM Rookie of the Year

Chad Butz, 20, Howard, Wisconsin - @ButzCbr8

Youngest Super Late Model winner in Norway Speedway (Michigan) history at the age of 15

Luke Fenhaus, 15, Wausau, Wisconsin - @luke_fenhaus

2019 KDDP Finalist, 2018 State Park Speedway SLM track champion, five feature victories

Marcel Gravel, 23, Wolcott, Vermont - @Gravel86Marcel

2017 Milk Bowl pole position winner & all time Thunder Road track record holder

Austin Herzog, 17, Clovis, California - @Austin11Herzog

2019 Nut Up Pro Late Model Champion at Madera Speedway

Garrett Huffines, 18, Selah, Washington - @GarrettHuffines

2019 Fall Classic winner (Yakima Speedway) & Pro Late Model track champion

Ryan Kuhn, 20, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts –

2018 Seekonk Speedway Late Model Champion

Reilly Lanphear, 20, Duxbury, Vermont - @reillylanphear

Going full time on American Canadian Tour after racing Late Models at Thunder Road

Jacob Nottestad, 18, Cambridge, Wisconsin - @Jnottestad97

2019 Late Model Track Champion at Slinger Speedway with 9 feature wins and 9 fast times

Kole Raz, 16, Lake Oswego, Oregon - @RazKole

2019 NASCAR Whelen All American Series Arizona State Champion

Riley Stenjem, 19, Stoughton, Wisconsin - @77stenjem77

Won 2 of 3 Late Model features at 2019 Jefferson Speedway Wisconsin State Championships

Brooke Storer, 21, Land O' Lakes, Florida - @brookestorer9

2018 Auburndale Speedway Sportsman Champion, two Wheel Man Racing Series feature wins

Racers who would like to apply for the 2021 Kulwicki program and join those 15 semifinalists can do so by visiting the organization’s website at www.KulwickiDDP.com and following the directions.

Immediately after the January 8 deadline, the KDDP staff will formulate a presentation of the applications received for the board members to review. They will interview and select up to 10 additional competitors who will join the 15 from last season as semifinalists for the 2021 program.

The additional drivers who are chosen will be announced live on Speed51.com’s “The Morning Bullring” in early February. The board will then select seven competitors from the huge group of semifinalists who will compete for the rich and prestigious 2021 Kulwicki Cup. Those seven drivers will be named and interviewed live on the Monday, March 15 edition of Speed51.com’s “The Morning Bullring.”

The seven selected drivers will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization will work to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season as they compete for the “grand prize.” The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy. Seymour, Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski was the 2015 Kulwicki Cup winner during the inaugural year for the program. Lomira, Wisconsin’s Alex Prunty claimed the 2016 title and Marietta, Georgia's Cody Haskins was the 2017 KDDP Champion. Brett Yackey, from Greeley, Colorado, claimed the 2018 Kulwicki Cup and Upper Lake, California’s Jeremy Doss earned the 2019 crown.

The Kulwicki Cup competition goes from April 1 through Oct. 31. The contest’s points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance. Drivers are given points for both their success in chasing checkered flags and for community engagement, program representation and social media activities.

The KDDP urges you to keep up with all of its news and activities by regularly visiting Speed51.com, the organization’s official media partner.

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Download and print 2021 Application

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2020 KDDP SEASON CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
-Semifinalists from 2020 to Receive Bye for 2021 Kulwicki Driver Development Program-

CONCORD, N.C. (June 4, 2020) – Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) officials have announced that the 2020 program has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of this year’s semifinalists will receive a “bye” to become one of 25 semifinalists for the 2021 program.

“We’re extremely disappointed to announce that our 2020 KDDP season has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tom Roberts, the organization’s executive director. “Our advisory board members held on as long as possible, hoping for the best. When it became evident that we couldn’t execute a program that would match the standards we have set over the last five years, we decided it was best to scrap our efforts for this year and focus on 2021.”

The number “7” is the basis for all facets of the KDDP, including the number of participants, the stipends provided its finalists ($7,777), the prestigious Kulwicki Cup grand prize award (7 x $7,777), the number of board members and the length of the annual competition (seven months).

“In an effort to support continuity for our program, the board considered a condensed season,” Roberts said. “But when it was apparent that even a majority of our customary competition timespan couldn’t occur, it was just not feasible to go forward with the program this year.

“While it has been promising to see some tracks open in a few areas across the country, our program continues to be one that is all-encompassing. Our 2020 program semifinalists represented nine different states and one Canadian province. When racing would return everywhere and there could be a level playing field for all involved is a question that can’t be answered at this time.

“Through the efforts of many, we have seen the KDDP grow to be the most recognized and respected driver development program in North America today,” said Roberts. “Alan Kulwicki was never one who was content in getting anything half-done throughout his amazing career and that fact certainly entered the equation in making our decision.”

While there will be no battle for the prestigious Kulwicki Cup Championship this season, the 15 semifinalists for the 2020 program will have “one leg up” heading into the 2021 edition of the program.

“The support and patience displayed by this year’s semifinalists has been amazing and so greatly appreciated,” Roberts said. “It has truly been a ‘we’re all in this together’ atmosphere for the last several months as we monitored the situation and hoped for the best.

“We felt like it was appropriate to show our gratitude to this group in some manner. It was decided that all of our semifinalists for 2020 – provided they still fit the criteria and requirements for eligibility – will draw a bye and automatically be grandfathered in as semifinalists for our 2021 program.”

The format for next year’s edition of the Kulwicki Program will see a total of 25 semifinalists that will vie to be one of the seven finalists competing for the 2021 Kulwicki Cup. The group will consist of the semifinalists from this year who retain eligibility, with the remainder coming from applicants selected by board members next February.

The entire roster of 2021 semifinalists will be announced during the final week of February 2021, with the seven finalists named on Monday, March 15, 2021.

Applications for the 2021 Kulwicki Driver Development Program will be available by mid-November (at http://www.kulwickiddp.com/) with the deadline to apply on December 31.

The KDDP urges you to keep up with all of its news and activities by regularly visiting Speed51.com, the organization’s official media partner.

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KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM CONTINUES “ON HOLD” STATUS
-Officials Closely Monitoring Situation; Next KDDP Update Scheduled for Final Week of May-

CONCORD, N.C. (April 29, 2020) – Kulwicki Driver Development Program officials announced the continuation of the “on hold” status for their 2020 edition of the program through the month of May.

“We’ve seen some progress over the last month as our nation continues its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “We think the next six weeks will be crucial in giving us insight as to whether having a program this year will be possible. We will continue to have all aspects of the program on hold, including the selection of our seven finalists.

“During the conference calls with our advisory board members, we’ve explored all the scenarios we may be facing, including what could be an abbreviated battle for the prestigious Kulwicki Cup,” said Roberts. “With all facets of our program revolving around the number 7, including what has been seven months of competition each year so far, we continue to discuss the feasibility of a shortened competition.

“We’ve worked hard to make the KDDP the preeminent driver development program in North America and will monitor the situation throughout the month of May,” Roberts said. “We’re hoping everything continues to improve and everyone can get back to racing soon.

“I’m confident that our organization will be prepared to move forward quickly when that opportunity comes,” said Roberts. “In the meantime, we urge all short track racers to continue to be understanding, positive and optimistic in all of their social media activities as we all go through this together.”

The 2020 battle for the rich and prestigious Kulwicki Cup is the sixth edition of the contest that honors 1992 NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki.

The KDDP urges you to keep up with all of its news and activities by regularly visiting Speed51.com, the organization’s official media partner.

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ALL ASPECTS OF 2020 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM PUT ON HOLD
-Seven Finalists Named at Later Date; Next KDDP Update Scheduled for Final Week of April-

CONCORD, N.C. (March 26, 2020) – Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) officials announced today that all aspects of the 2020 edition of the battle for the prestigious Kulwicki Cup have been put on hold. This includes the naming of the seven finalists who will vie for the championship during the sixth edition of the contest that honors 1992 NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki.

“After meeting with our advisory board members late yesterday afternoon, we have decided to put everything on hold for now,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “This includes the voting on our seven finalists who will represent Alan Kulwicki and our organization when we are able to return to a stable racing environment. We will have our next scheduled official update during the final week of April.

“Voting for the seven finalists and naming them would be an action initiating some form of obligation, not only from the KDDP to the drivers selected, but also from those drivers to our organization,” Roberts said. “At this time, with the vast quantity of unknowns everyone is facing, we feel it is in everyone’s best interest to not go in that direction.

“While I won’t speculate on when our final vote will take place, we’re committed to make sure that all of the semifinalists receive the exact same level of consideration,” Roberts said. “We were extremely fortunate to be able to complete all of the interviews with the 15 semifinalists before the shutdown everywhere began.

“While the tools necessary in allowing our board members the opportunity to review the interviews were slow coming, we expect to have MP3 recordings of all of them in the near future. That fact will play a crucial role in being able to complete the process quickly when the timing is right to move forward.

“While I know the suspense has been building as to who our seven drivers will be, I’m asking for understanding, patience and support from everyone at this time,” said Roberts. “Rest assured that we will be focused on our finalists being named in plenty of time to gear up for our next Kulwicki Cup competition.

“These are unprecedented times in the world of motorsports and sports in general,” Roberts said. “We all are so eager to get back out there competing on the short tracks across North America and hope that day is coming soon.

“Our program is very unique in that the contest for the Kulwicki Cup is staged both on and off the track. Getting back to where the drivers and teams can return to the speedways to wage battle in all areas is the first hurdle we face. Then, another one of the major facets our organization must consider is the community service aspect. With ‘social distancing’ being mandatory for safety at this time, the impossible question to answer is when it will be appropriate for our competitors to engage with the public in their activities outside the racing venues.

“We feel very confident that we’ll have a much better handle on what we’re facing at this time next month,” said Roberts. “Our organization will be meeting on several occasions to discuss the many scenarios that we could be faced with relative to this edition of our program. We will also continue our efforts to have all of our operational supplies such as decals, patches, hats and other items ready when we can get everything rolling again. I can assure you that we will be fully prepared to act expeditiously.

“In the meantime, we are urging all of this year’s semifinalists to be positive and optimistic in their social media activities,” Roberts said. “We are all in this together and we’re confident that our sport will bounce back bigger and better than ever.”

The KDDP urges you to keep up with all of its news and activities by regularly visiting Speed51.com, the organization’s official media partner.

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2020 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM SEMIFINALISTS NAMED
-Team of Seven KDDP Drivers Competing for 2020 Kulwicki Cup Will Come from Group of 15 Racers-

CONCORD, N.C. (March 2, 2020) – The seven drivers who will represent the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) for the 2020 racing season will come from a diverse group of 15 semifinalists that were announced on this morning’s edition of Speed51.com’s “The Morning Bullring.” The drivers range in age from 15 to 23 years of age and represent nine different states and one Canadian province.

“The process to select our 2020 KDDP driver lineup has already required some extremely difficult choices by our advisory board members,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts. “There were more than 30 different drivers who received votes during the initial round of judging and the board did a fantastic job in narrowing it down to 15 semifinalists. They certainly face an incredible task in selecting just seven drivers out of this group to carry the KDDP colors and compete for the Kulwicki Cup this season.

“The desire to be a KDDP driver continues to grow in the short track racing world each year and I think this distinct group of semifinalists certainly reflects that,” Roberts said. “The quantity of applicants for our 2020 program was very impressive, but it was the quality of competitors who applied that was most striking to me. We had numerous track and series champions among those who didn’t make our semifinalist list this time around.

 “Our board members did an absolutely incredible job in choosing these 15 semifinalists,” said Roberts. “I would have welcomed any of the applicants that the board considered into the group. While they were able to narrow it down to these 15 drivers, there were at least another 30 who would have been quality candidates for the seven finalist spots for our 2020 program.”

The 15 KDDP semifinalists for 2020 include, in alphabetical order: (Twitter & Highlights)

  • Wyatt Alexander, 20, Ellsworth, Maine - @WAlexander_96
    Youngest ever champion of Wiscasset Speedway’s Boss Hogg 100
  • Danny Benedict, 23, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada - @Dannybenedict54
    2019 KDDP Finalist, 2018 Provincial NASCAR Whelen All American Series Champion
  • Jackson Boone, 19, Franklin, Tennessee - @jacksonboone7
    2019 Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Pro Late Model Champion
  • RJ Braun, 19, Wales, Wisconsin -
    2019 Big 8 Rookie of the Year, 2019 Slinger Speedway SLM Rookie of the Year
  • Chad Butz, 20, Howard, Wisconsin - @ButzCbr8
    Youngest Super Late Model winner in Norway Speedway (Michigan) history at the age of 15
  • Luke Fenhaus, 15, Wausau, Wisconsin - @luke_fenhaus
    2019 KDDP Finalist, 2018 State Park Speedway SLM track champion, five feature victories
  • Marcel Gravel, 23, Wolcott, Vermont - @Gravel86Marcel
    2017 Milk Bowl pole position winner & all time Thunder Road track record holder
  • Austin Herzog, 17, Clovis, California - @Austin11Herzog
    2019 Nut Up Pro Late Model Champion at Madera Speedway
  • Garrett Huffines, 18, Selah, Washington - @GarrettHuffines
    2019 Fall Classic winner (Yakima Speedway) & Pro Late Model track champion
  • Ryan Kuhn, 20, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts –
    2018 Seekonk Speedway Late Model Champion
  • Reilly Lanphear, 20, Duxbury, Vermont - @reillylanphear
    Going full time on American Canadian Tour after racing Late Models at Thunder Road
  • Jacob Nottestad, 18, Cambridge, Wisconsin - @Jnottestad97
    2019 Late Model Track Champion at Slinger Speedway with 9 feature wins and 9 fast times
  • Kole Raz, 16, Lake Oswego, Oregon - @RazKole
    2019 NASCAR Whelen All American Series Arizona State Champion
  • Riley Stenjem, 19, Stoughton, Wisconsin - @77stenjem77
    Won 2 of 3 Late Model features at 2019 Jefferson Speedway Wisconsin State Championships
  • Brooke Storer, 21, Land O' Lakes, Florida - @brookestorer9
    2018 Auburndale Speedway Sportsman Champion, two Wheel Man Racing Series feature wins

“While I’m certain that all 15 of these young racers are thrilled to be among our semifinalists, I want to extend a special message to all of the other applicants who were not selected,” said Roberts. “Keep honing your skills on and off the track, keep chasing those checkered flags and please consider applying again for the 2021 edition of our program.

“With only seven of these 15 semifinalists advancing to be a finalist this season, that is the exact same message I’ll be giving the eight drivers who don’t make it this year. Just having the distinction of being a KDDP semifinalist is truly an accomplishment in itself and something to be very proud of.

“The next step in the process to determine the 2020 KDDP class will be the interview sessions the board members will be having with each of the semifinalists,” said Roberts. “While our board will be getting to know all the semifinalists better, we encourage everyone to follow these 15 young racers on Twitter and other social media platforms. They are all outstanding young racers who have already accomplished a great deal in their brief careers.”

Driver interviews will take place from March 10 through March 12.  After a final review and vote by the advisory board, the 2020 KDDP team of seven drivers is expected to be announced live on the Monday, March 30 edition of Speed51.com’s “The Morning Bullring.”

The seven selected drivers will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses.  The organization will work to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season as they compete for the “grand prize.” The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy. Seymour, Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski was the 2015 Kulwicki Cup winner during the inaugural year for the program. Lomira, Wisconsin’s Alex Prunty claimed the 2016 title and Marietta, Georgia's Cody Haskins was the 2017 KDDP Champion. Brett Yackey, from Greeley, Colorado, claimed the 2018 Kulwicki Cup and Upper Lake, California’s Jeremy Doss earned the 2019 crown.

The Kulwicki Cup competition goes from April 1 through Oct. 31. The contest’s points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance.  Drivers are given points for both their success in chasing checkered flags and for community engagement, program representation and social media activities.

The KDDP urges you to keep up with all of its news and activities by regularly visiting Speed51.com, the organization’s official media partner.

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JEREMY DOSS CLAIMS 2019 "KULWICKI CUP" CHAMPIONSHIP
-Promising Young California Driver Comes on Strong in Final Two Months of Annual Competition-

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 14, 2019) – After recording a stunning finish to a spectacular season, Upper Lake, California's Jeremy Doss has claimed the 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) Kulwicki Cup Championship. The hard-charging 22-year-old secondgeneration racer posted three wins during the final month of competition, including an impressive $10,000-to-win victory in the October 5 Nut Up 150-lap Short Track Shootout at Madera Speedway.

Coupling strong on-track finishes with diligent community service work and impactful social media activities lifted Doss to the top of the standings after last week's final vote.

The final 2019 KDDP "Kulwicki Cup" point standings look like this:

1) – Jeremy Doss – 1,233
2) – Justin Carroll – 1,227
3) – Derek Griffith -- 916
4) – Luke Fenhaus -- 750
5) – Danny Benedict -- 649
6) – Carson Kvapil -- 335
7) – Paul Shafer Jr. -- 249

"Both Jeremy and Justin Carroll were so incredible this year and our voters were faced with judging the closest competition in our program's history during their final evaluations," said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. "All of our voters were quick to recognize the blockbuster job both drivers did in representing Alan and our organization in their off-track undertakings. I was personally touched by the unique and effective measures utilized to educate a new generation about who Alan was and what he stood for. Their off-track activities were so impressive and they truly did make a difference in their communities.

"Season-long on-track performance was a major factor during the final voting," Roberts said. "I applaud both drivers and their teams for attempting to race as many times and at as many tracks as they could. They both were determined to proudly carry our colors and spread the Kulwicki legacy as much as possible this season.

"Jeremy came off a successful 2018 season running the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series, where he won three races and the points championship," said Roberts. "He won again at All American Speedway in Roseville, California, on April 14 in SRL competition, before transitioning over to the Pro Late Models. He debuted his flashy black No. 75 race car in winning fashion on June 15 on the Roseville one-third-mile oval. During the summer months, Jeremy and the striking winning car he named 'Bonnie' became the most formidable duo on California short tracks in many years. For the season, Jeremy posted wins in an incredible 57 percent of his races (12 wins in 21 outings) during the 2019 KDDP competition and mentored three other young racers along the way.


"Justin was so impressive in his overall presence both on and off the track this season," Roberts said. "He learned so much by being in our program during the 2018 season and really turned heads this year. Folks will forever remember the beautiful Hall of Fame tribute car he ran first in the CARS Tour Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway. Running at new tracks and competing in 10 more races than he did last season (competed in 32 races from April 1 through October 31 this year), Justin came home the winner in 25 percent of his events. His valiant effort in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, where he fought back from adversity to post a solid seventh-place finish, was representative of his never-quit demeanor that he displayed the entire season.

"Jeremy was a participant in our program back in 2016 and he finished fourth in the competition that season," said Roberts. "Justin finished third in our 2018 final standings. It was so admirable to see the improvement both of these young drivers made this season. The way that they both ramped up their program involvement was so outstanding and we'll always have so much respect for them. In the end, Jeremy received more first-place votes and scored more competition points.

"Derek Griffith came on so strong in the final few months of the season," Roberts said. "He finished sixth in the program last year and came back to finish a strong third in the standings this year. While he increased his off-track activities substantially this season, his on-track improvement and overall performance was so striking. Derek posted three times the number of victories this year (six in 2019 versus two in 2018). Most impressive was his stirring performances on the challenging Oxford Plains Speedway. After posting an impressive runnerup finish in the prestigious Oxford 250 in August, Derek recorded his breakthrough win on the three-eighths-mile oval on September 15.

"Luke Fenhaus finished fourth in our KDDP competition this year and he turned so many heads along the way," said Roberts. "He caught the attention of so many fans and racing insiders as a member of our 2019 team of drivers. He's only 15 years old and already has a Super Late Model track championship (State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin) under his belt. His performances at Slinger Speedway, where Alan cut his racing teeth, were remarkable this season. He has already been pegged as a future star in our sport and it's going to be fun watching his progress in the next couple of seasons.

"Danny Benedict's young career continued on an upward trend during the 2019 season and his contributions to our program were so appreciated," Roberts said. "He continued his winning ways at Sunset Speedway and turned on some very excited Canadian fans to the Polish Victory
Lap. His foray into the tough APC Late Model Series this season was so impressive. At the end of the year, everyone certainly knew who Danny was and respected his talent and competitive spirt.

"Carson Kvapil's season was hampered by not getting to compete in as many Super Late Model races as he'd anticipated," said Roberts. "While he continued to be a terror in Outlaw Kart competition, he also showed so much potential in the late model races he ran. He and his dad were able to acquire a car from Toby Nuttleman's team late in the season and had some solid performances down the stretch.

"Pauly Shafer would definitely get our 'hard luck award' if we gave one," Roberts said. "He was able to score a huge victory in September's Tony Bettenhausen Classic 100 at Grundy County Speedway, but the adversity he encountered most of the season was pretty mind-boggling. Pauly graduated from college back in the spring and has taken on a huge role in the family business. His ability to balance the demands on his time was extremely commendable."

The 2019 seven-driver KDDP team combined for 31 wins and 83 top-five finishes during the seven months of competition.

Doss becomes the second KDDP champion hailing from west of the Mississippi River. He joins Ty Majeski of Seymour, Wisconsin (2015), Alex Prunty of Lomira, Wisconsin (2016), Cody Haskins of Marietta, Georgia (2017) and Brett Yackey of Greeley, Colorado (2018) as the organization's fifth title winner.

Doss and the other six members of the 2019 KDDP class will be honored during the KDDP's annual banquet set for Thursday, Dec. 12 in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Highlighting the activities for the evening (two days prior to what would have been Alan Kulwicki's 65th birthday) will be the presentation of the winner's check for $54,439 and the special KDDP "Kulwicki Cup" champion's trophy to Doss. Kenny Wallace, renowned racer, broadcaster and motorsports personality, will serve as the featured speaker. Official media partner Speed51.com will offer a free live-streaming broadcast of the event.

While the 2019 season is over, drivers can start applying for the 2020 Kulwicki Driver Development Program beginning on Monday, November 25. Please visit www.kulwickiddp.com on or after that date for the application and additional information. All applications are due on December 31, 2019.


# # #

For additional information on the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, please visit the official website at www.kulwickiddp.com. Follow us on Twitter at @KulwickiDDP and keep up with the organization's latest news on official media partner Speed51.com.

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KENNY WALLACE IS FEATURED SPEAKER FOR 2019 KDDP BANQUET
-Event Set for December 12 Fetes Drivers & Namesake Kulwicki; Features Live Speed51 Coverage -

Kenny Wallace

CONCORD, N.C. (November 6, 2019) – Kenny Wallace, renowned racer, broadcaster and motorsports personality, will serve as the featured speaker for the 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) Awards Banquet on Thursday, December 12. The annual affair, which will celebrate the organization’s fifth season and what would have been Alan Kulwicki’s 65th birthday, will be held in The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway and feature a live streaming broadcast on Speed51.com.

“It’ll be an honor and pleasure to come and speak to the organization that continues Alan Kulwicki’s legacy today,” Wallace said. “I am really looking forward to it.”

“I was offered a job by Alan before I became a race car driver,” Wallace said. “I got to know him very well when I was a crew member for my brother Rusty. Later I became a race car driver and raced against Alan, so I got to know him in a lot of different ways.

“Alan had a brilliant mind and was a great race car driver,” added Wallace. “He was ahead of his time. After a race in Dover I asked Alan why he was so tired. The answer he gave me told me everything I needed to know. Alan said to me he was tired because he gave it everything he had in the 400-lap race. It made me question myself if I gave it everything I had.  He could do everything on his own and that is what I admired most about Alan. He was on an island by himself and we all learned a lot from him.”

Wallace, a St. Louis native, is the youngest of the three-brother second-generation racers born to Russ and Judy Wallace. He earned his nickname, "Herman," early in life when local Lake Hill Speedway promoter Bob Mueller made note of Wallace's boisterous behavior when taking up for his father (a champion racer in his own right), likening him to the mischievous cartoon character “Herman the German.”

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BATTLE FOR 2019 KULWICKI CUP GOING DOWN TO THE WIRE
-Final Few Weeks Will Determine This Year's KDDP Champion in Closest Contest Ever-


CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2019) – In what is shaping up to be the closest battle in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) history, the month of October will determine the winner of the rich and prestigious Kulwicki Cup Championship for 2019. After two of three judging/voting periods, Concord, North Carolina's Justin Carroll leads Upper Lake, California's Jeremy Doss by eight points (1,043-1,035).

As of the end of the second reporting period on September 30, here's how the point standings look:

1st - Justin Carroll - 1,043 2nd - Jeremy Doss - 1,035 3rd - Derek Griffith - 813 4th - Luke Fenhaus - 697 5th - Danny Benedict - 565 6th - Carson Kvapil - 262 7th - Paul Shafer Jr. - 248

With only the month of October remaining to be considered in the battle for the 2019 Kulwicki Cup Championship, both on-track and off-track activities are more important than ever in the five-year history of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program.

"This one is definitely going down to the wire," said Tom Roberts, who heads the KDDP organization. "The old adage of it's not over till it's over is certainly the case here. When Brett Yackey led Justin Mondeik by only 42 points entering the final month last year, I figured there was no way it could be closer. Man, was I ever mistaken!

"Justin Carroll was in our program last year and he learned so much about what it takes to win the Kulwicki Cup," Roberts said. "When he came out so strong at the beginning of the year, it really didn't surprise me that he had a good lead in the first standings (through July 15). Jeremy Doss was a KDDP driver back in 2016 and it took him a few months to really get rolling.

"What was so evident to me during the latest standings is how much value our voters put in on-track performance and quality wins," said Roberts. "They inquired about strength of starting fields, number of cars and quality of competition. I feel like all of that information is so important in a competition such as ours. We are so fortunate to have special smart phone racing apps which provide us that data.

"With that in mind, it was no surprise to see Derek Griffith on such an upward climb in our points," Roberts said. "Derek got on a winning streak in the tough PASS North competition and really beefed up his off-track activities. The latest standings certainly reflect that.

"Not only have our drivers been getting the job done on the track this season, their community service activities have been extremely impressive," said Roberts. "Their methods of paying tribute to Alan have been so unique and well appreciated and the manner in which they reinforce those activities with social media has been exceptional.

"While it looks like Justin, Jeremy and Derek have separated themselves from the others, it will be very interesting to see what Luke Fenhaus, Danny Benedict, Pauly Shafer and Carson Kvapil have up their sleeves for the final weeks. I'm sure they'll continue to be active out there in gaining attention to our program, while also increasing their points in our final standings."

As of this period's cutoff date (September 30), only Paul Shafer, Jr. and Carson Kvapil have competed in less than 15 races (although both topped that number this past weekend at Oktoberfest). The current 2019 KDDP competition (on-track) points look like this: (points & number of races/wins/top-5s/top-10s)

Jeremy Doss - 126 (18/9/17/18)
Justin Carroll - 114 (28/6/16/20)
Derek Griffith - 97 (19/5/11/13)
Danny Benedict - 94 (25/2/13/20)
Luke Fenhaus - 90 (22/2/11/16)
Paul Shafer, Jr. - 46 (14/1/3/7)
Carson Kvapil - 38 (14/0/3/6)

The KDDP points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers' on-track performance. Voters are asked to rank the drivers from first to seventh in their job of representing the organization and points (from 70 for first to 10 for seventh) are awarded for those rankings. Each voter is given 10 discretionary "bonus" points to award the drivers for "exceptional contributions" to the program. Community engagement, program representation and social media activities account for much of those points. The remainder of the points come from actual racing statistics (based on each driver's best 15 race finishes Race wins award 10 points, with 2nd-5th-place finishes getting 6 points, 6th-10th 4 points, 11th-15th 2 points and 15th-plus 1 point.

During the annual competition, two regular season rounds of judging points are averaged (however, bonus points continue to accrue) and added to a final round of voters' judging points. The overall competition points (maximum 150 points for 15 wins) are applied and the driver with the largest points total will be the Kulwicki Cup Champion.

When the KDDP Advisory Board members reconvene early next month, they will cast their final votes which will award one of these 2019 drivers a check for $54,439 and the unique and prestigious Kulwicki Cup champion's trophy that goes with it. They will join the illustrious list of KDDP champions which also includes Ty Majeski (inaugural 2015 season), Alex Prunty (2016), Cody Haskins (2017) and Brett Yackey (2018).

"I want to extend a special thanks to all of our KDDP board members for continuing to do such an exemplary job during the voting process," said Roberts. "They continue to be totally professional in their evaluations and I have so much personal respect for all of them. I also want to give a ton of credit to all of our former champions for their input and valuable insight.

"The final few weeks of our competition this season promise to be the most exciting in our program's history," Roberts said. "These drivers are outstanding when it comes to representing our program and no matter who comes out on top, we're guaranteed to have a fantastic champion.

"All of the drivers have been so supportive of each other throughout the season and their camaraderie has been so impressive," added Roberts. "They are all winners on and off the track. We're really looking forward to getting them all together in Charlotte in December for our annual KDDP awards banquet and celebrate what would have been Alan's 65th birthday."


* * *

The 2019 season marks the fifth full year for the KDDP. The seven drivers receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization works to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season as they compete for the "grand prize." The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy.

The Kulwicki Cup competition runs from April 1 through October 31. The final voting is targeted for the first week in November, with the 2019 KDDP "Kulwicki Cup" Champion expected to be announced on Thursday, November 14. The champion and all the other competitors will be honored at the organization's annual awards banquet, scheduled for Thursday, December 12, in The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The KDDP urges you to keep up with all of its news and activities by regularly visiting Speed51.com, the organization's official media partner.

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KDDP DRIVERS PRESENT & PAST READYING FOR SUNDAY'S OXFORD 250 -Derek Griffith, Cole Butcher & Dave Farrington All Dreaming of Victory in Prestigious Race-


OXFORD, Maine (August 22, 2019) – It's the big one in New England. It is the Super Late Model race that is discussed all season long. Its history and prominence are so great that racers all across North America simply refer to it as "The 250." Entering this weekend's 46th edition of the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway, the race's "prestige factor" continues to grow. Celebrating the victory after 250 laps on the 3/8ths-mile egg-shaped oval in Oxford, Maine, is more coveted than ever.

"I try to keep my emotions in check in everything I do, especially when I'm at the race track," said Hudson, New Hampshire, racer Derek Griffith, a second-year member of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. "But to tell you the truth, I know I'll cry if I can win it. It would mean so much to me and my team. It would be a dream come true.

"I know the tears would come because that track has beat me up so much through the years," continued Griffith. "Since I came over to the PASS Series (Pro All Stars Series) on a full-time basis, I've logged more laps on that track than anywhere, but I've had the worst luck there than any place we race.

"I must have raced there about 30 times overall, but this will be only my fourth 250," Griffith added. "Through the years, we've had fast race cars there, but never had the luck we needed."

For Griffith, the 22-year-old hard charger who has three PASS North SLM victories and is fourth in points, he feels like the timing couldn't be better to pull out of his garage and make the 2½-hour haul up the road to Oxford.

"I'm really happy to be going back there this weekend with the way we've been running lately," said Griffith, who is tied for third in the most recent 2019 Kulwicki Cup point standings, after finishing sixth in last year's KDDP competition. "We have picked up so much and made so many gains over the last few times we've raced there.

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JUSTIN CARROLL IS EARLY LEADER IN 2019 KDDP POINT STANDINGS
-Jeremy Doss Getting Into His Groove & Tight Battle for Third in Battle for Prestigious Kulwicki Cup-

CONCORD, N.C. (August 8, 2019) – Justin Carroll, a 23-year-old rising racing star from Concord, North Carolina, is the early leader in the 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) “Kulwicki Cup” point standings. With three months remaining to determine this year’s champion, Carroll leads 22-year-old Upper Lake, California’s Jeremy Doss by 99 points (563 for Carroll to Doss’s 464). The battle for third is a tight one, with 22-year-old Hudson, New Hampshire’s Derek Griffith holding a one-point lead over Luke Fenhaus, a 15-year-old racer from Wausau, Wisconsin (374 points for Griffith to 373 for Fenhaus).

Here are the current Kulwicki Driver Development (KDDP) point standings: (as of 7/15/19)

1st          -              Justin Carroll      -              563
2nd        -              Jeremy Doss      -              464
3rd         -              Derek Griffith    -              374
4th         -              Luke Fenhaus    -              373
5th         -              Danny Benedict -              290
6th         -              Carson Kvapil     -            158
7th         -              Paul Shafer, Jr. - 91

“Although it’s really way too early to predict the outcome of this year’s battle for the Kulwicki Cup, it shouldn’t be too surprising to see Justin and Jeremy battling it out for the lead at this point in the season,” said Tom Roberts, the KDDP’s organizational leader. “Both of these young drivers are in our program for their second year, with Justin finishing fourth in the points last season and Jeremy finishing fourth back in 2016.

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PAUL SHAFER JR. FOCUSED ON WINNING ARCA MIDWEST TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
-Like Alan Kulwicki, 2019 KDDP Driver “Pauly” Shafer Known As An Unconventional & Atypical Racer-

(NOTE: SPECIAL PAUL SHAFER JR. Q & A FOLLOWS THE RELEASE)

CONCORD, N.C. (May 1, 2019) – Just like NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki did three decades ago, 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) competitor Paul Shafer Jr. marches to the beat of a different drummer.

Kulwicki was labeled as quirky, unique and unorthodox. Those adjectives also suit Shafer perfectly. Off the track, Kulwicki was known to be the life of the party. The same can definitely be said about Shafer. However, at the speedway and on the track, Kulwicki was meticulous with details, hands-on with execution and driven to succeed. That is also the case for the rising young racing star affectionately known in the motorsports world simply as “Pauly.”

“Any comparisons to Alan Kulwicki that I receive are considered as ultimate compliments,” said the soft-spoken, yet hard-charging 22-year-old racer from Portage, Indiana. “I’m so proud to be wearing his KDDP colors this season and we can’t wait to get back out on the race track.”

Just as Kulwicki was successful in mixing his early racing career with the pursuit of a college degree (received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1977), Shafer has followed a similar path. He is set to get his accounting degree from the Valparaiso University College of Business on May 19.

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2019 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
-Team of Seven KDDP Drivers Racing from Coast to Coast in Representing 1992 NASCAR Champ-

CONCORD, N.C. (March 25, 2019) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the 2019 racing season. These young racers will be helping keep the memory and legacy of 1992 NASCAR Cup Champion and Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki alive, while also competing for the rich ($54,439) and prestigious annual Kulwicki Cup Championship. The announcement was made live on this morning’s edition of Speed51.com’s “The Morning Bullring.”

The drivers range in age from 15 to 23 years of age and represent five states and one Canadian province.

The seven drivers, in alphabetical order, are:


DANNY BENEDICT, 22, KAWARTHA LAKES, ONT (@DannyBenedict54)
The second Canadian to compete for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program crown, Danny Benedict hopes to follow countryman Cole Butcher’s incredible success over the past two seasons. The 2018 NASCAR Whelen All American Series (NWAAS) Provincial Champion in Ontario, Benedict will again compete at his home track of Sunset Speedway in 2019 and will join the highly competitive APC United Racing Tour for pro late models. A power line technician apprentice, Benedict has won 10 career late model races, including the Velocity 250 in 2017 and 2018, the biggest race at Sunset Speedway.  


JUSTIN CARROLL, 23, CONCORD, NC (@toast57)
Justin Carroll returns to the Kulwicki Driver Development Program after finishing fourth in the 2018 standings. Carroll will again carry the torch for the Late Model Stock Car (LMSC) division in the KDDP, competing for the CARS Tour championship and racing throughout North Carolina and Virginia all summer long. Carroll and his family-owned team are working with noted crew chief Jason Stanley for the first time in 2019 and hope to add to Justin’s career total of 10 LMSC victories. Carroll scored the inaugural Throwback 276 win at Hickory Speedway in 2017 and picked up the checkered flag in the Rodney Cook Classic at Ace (NC) Speedway in 2018.
 

JEREMY DOSS, 22, UPPER LAKE, CA (@jeremydoss75)
Jeremy Doss returns to the Kulwicki Driver Development Program for the second time, having finished fifth in the 2016 standings. Doss won the 2018 Spears SRL Southwest Tour points championship and is a two-time Pacific Challenge Series champion (2012 and 2016). A winner of over 40 super late model races, Doss plans on defending his SRL championship in 2019, while also running part-time at several Northern California tracks with his family-owned team. Doss will also travel to several of the bigger West Coast races, including the Montana 200 and the Summer Showdown at Evergreen Speedway, as his schedule allows.

LUKE FENHAUS, 15, WAUSAU, WI (@luke_fenhaus)
This high school freshman stormed onto the Central Wisconsin Super Late Model scene in 2018, winning five races and the track championship at State Park Speedway in a hotly contested battle with 2018 Kulwicki Driver Development Program runner-up, Justin Mondeik. Fenhaus was also Rookie of the Year in the Midwest Truck Series, capturing four victories. In 2019, Fenhaus will defend his title at State Park Speedway and compete in a handful of both ARCA Midwest Tour and Wisconsin Challenge Series races. When not behind the wheel of his race car or attending school, Fenhaus helps out on his family’s grain farm.

DEREK GRIFFITH, 22, HUDSON, NH (@DerekGriffith12)
Derek Griffith will again compete for the Kulwicki Cup in 2019, hoping to improve upon his sixth-place finish in 2018. Griffith and his family-owned team claimed the Pro All Star Series (PASS) National Championship in 2018, winning two early season races at Dillon (SC) Motor Speedway and Thompson (CT) Speedway, and posting consistent finishes to close out the year. Griffith finally captured a long-deserved victory during Speedweeks at New Smyrna (FL) Speedway, winning the week-ending 100-lap finale in a hard fought battle with Bubba Pollard. In 2019, Derek will again chase the PASS National and North series championships and plans on competing in both the Speed 51 Select Challenge at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis and the Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway. 

CARSON KVAPIL, 16, MOORESVILLE, NC (@Carson_Kvapil)
The 16-year-old son of former NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil, Carson will compete full-time for Brad Mannstedt under the tutelage of noted crew chief Toby Nuttleman in 2019. Sitting in a Super Late Model for the first time in 2018, Carson won an ARCA Midwest Tour race at Golden Sands Speedway and a TUNDRA series race at Dells Raceway Park. A sophomore at Mooresville (NC) High School, Carson is a 58-time winner in outlaw karts and is a two-time Open Division champion at Millbridge (NC) Speedway. In 2019, Carson will compete for the ARCA Midwest Tour championship and tackle the Red, White, and Blue series at Wisconsin International Raceway, the Triple Crown at Madison International Speedway and other major events.

PAUL SHAFER, JR., 22, PORTAGE, IN (@ShaferRacing7)
This Valparaiso University senior has not only established himself as a racer to beat throughout the Midwest, but is also one of the most beloved drivers in the pits because of his easy-going nature and quirky sense of humor. Behind the wheel, though, Shafer is all business, winning the Tony Bettenhausen 100 at Grundy County Speedway and an ARCA Midwest Tour show at Jefferson Speedway in 2018. The 2013 Illiana Motor Speedway track champion plans on competing for the ARCA Midwest Tour championship again in 2019. He will also defend his Tony Bettenhausen 100 title and plans on trekking north to Madison International Speedway for the Triple Crown Series. Shafer with graduate from Valparaiso with a degree in Accounting this May.

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2019 KDDP SEMIFINALISTS TO BE ANNOUNCED ON MONDAY’S “THE MORNING BULLRING”
-Will Mark the Latest Example of Speed 51’s Popular New Weekly Program’s News-Breaking Function-

CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2019) – The semifinalists for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) class of 2019 will be announced live during Monday morning’s (February 25) episode of Speed51.com’s “The Morning Bullring.”

Originating from Studio 51 in Concord, North Carolina, every Monday at 7:30 a.m. ET, the live show is hosted by Bob Dillner and Casey LaJoie. Each show features exclusive interviews and in-depth discussion about the hottest topics from the short track racing world. Racing enthusiasts who can’t catch the live show on Speed51.com or on their Facebook page can enjoy the replay and podcast made available by Speed51.com after each episode concludes.

“We jumped at the opportunity to have our semifinalists announced on ‘The Morning Bullring,’” said Tom Roberts, Executive Director of the KDDP. “This new show is one of the best things to ever happen to short track racing from a media standpoint. Not only is it fun and entertaining, it’s one of the most informative programs out there today.

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** NEW**

2019 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM APPLICATION

Download PDF | WORD

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DR. JERRY PUNCH IS FEATURED SPEAKER AT KDDP AWARDS BANQUET
-Evening Also Includes Short Track “State of the Union Address” by Respected Racer Bubba Pollard-

CONCORD, N.C. (November 27, 2018) – Noted auto racing and college football broadcaster Dr. Jerry Punch will serve as the featured guest speaker at this year’s Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) awards banquet. The evening will also feature a short-track racing “State of the Union Address” by respected veteran racer Bubba Pollard. The annual gala event is set for Thursday, December 13, in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will feature a live streaming broadcast.

Punch grew up in Newton, North Carolina, and got his first taste in broadcasting when he was selected to be part of a local radio team representing Newton-Conover High School. He was a walk-on at North Carolina State and served as a backup quarterback playing for legendary coach Lou Holtz. After graduating magna cum laude in 1975 with a degree in Zoology, Punch went on to receive his medical degree from Wake Forest School of Medicine in 1979. During his med school years, he subsidized his educational expenses through prize money he earned racing at short tracks in his home state.

Punch began his professional broadcasting career in 1980 as a reporter for Motor Racing Network (MRN).  In 1982, he served as an emergency room physician at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, while also continuing his growth in broadcasting. He moved up the road to serve as director of emergency medicine at Bunnell Community Hospital in Palm Coast, Florida, when he began working for ESPN as a pit reporter for NASCAR races in 1984. That began a stellar career Punch enjoyed with “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” that spread to not only position him as one of the most recognized and popular motorsports broadcasters, but also included decades of college football coverage.

“We are so pleased to have Dr. Punch join the group for our annual celebration and can’t wait to hear him speak,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “During all of his years working with ESPN, ‘Doc Punch’ developed extremely close relationships with many of the drivers. That certainly was the case with Alan Kulwicki. He was the TV reporter there interviewing Alan when he won his first NASCAR Cup race in 1988 at Phoenix. It was also ‘Doc Punch’ who was there at Atlanta interviewing Alan after he won the NASCAR Cup Championship in 1992. It’s so appropriate to have ‘Doc Punch,’ who knew Alan so well and appreciated him so much, as our featured speaker during the season that Alan was finally voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”

“Alan Kulwicki epitomized the ultimate underdog,” said Punch. “He was certainly the most focused and determined driver I have ever been around. He always had the mentality of a winner and a champion. Even though he was the little guy, operating as a driver and owner with much fewer resources and personnel compared to the bigger teams, he never let that be an obstacle and get in the way of achieving his dream.

“We enjoyed a great relationship from the first time we met at the race track,” Punch said. “I had actually gotten familiar with Alan back in 1985 when I was working the Busch Series race at Milwaukee and he won the pole. When he moved to the South to run for the Cup Rookie of the Year in 1986, I already had my eye on him as a driver with a bright future. I knew how dedicated Alan was and understood that the garage area was his workplace. I think that the mutual respect we had for each other was evident in every interview we did together. I was so happy to see him get voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year as he is so deserving. I’m thrilled to be able to share my memories of him with the KDDP group gathered there in a few weeks.”

Pollard, the 31-year-old driver who hails from Senoia, Georgia, is on course to be one of the most successful competitors in motorsports history. The third-generation racer won local bicycle races as a kid on a two-wheeled vehicle that he built himself. He progressed through Legend Cars into Pro Late Models back in 2002, winning six features and the track championship at Senoia Speedway. He ventured into Super Late Model racing in 2003 and started racking up victory after victory. Pollard broadened his racing horizon through the years and began to chase checkered flags in the biggest races across North America. In 2011, Pollard was chosen as the inaugural Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Driver of the Year and voted as the Speed51.com Driver of the Year by fans across the country.

Pollard’s remarkable racing resume includes victories in most every prestigious short track event from coast to coast. Just last year, he returned to Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin for the second year to win the Slinger Nationals on Alan Kulwicki’s “home track.” This season, Pollard took the checkered flag in the Oxford 250 in Maine in his first-ever visit and claimed the victory in the inaugural Canadian Short Track Nationals at the Jukasa Motor Speedway in Cayuga, Ontario, Canada.

“Bubba Pollard is unquestionably the most respected and popular short track racer in North America today,” said Roberts. “His legend continues to grow every time he takes to the track. When Bubba speaks, everybody listens. The phrase ‘been there, done that’ is so appropriate when it comes to discussing Bubba and his incredible career. Very deservingly, he has become a racing icon to all the fans, media members and promoters alike. We are thrilled to have Bubba join us for the evening and hear his unique perspective about our sport.”

“Alan Kulwicki was always one of my biggest heroes growing up,” said Pollard. “My dad and I always looked up to him because he worked on his own cars and we respected the way he handled himself. He was always smooth as a competitor and was able to get the most out of all of his equipment. What he was able to achieve as an owner/driver was unheard of and he earned so much respect during his short career.

“I’ve been following the Kulwicki program for several years now and appreciate so much what they’re doing for short track racing,” Pollard said. “I was honestly flattered when they asked me to attend this year’s banquet and speak. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The banquet will occur on the eve of what would have been Kulwicki’s 64th birthday and will celebrate the fourth full year for the organization that bears his name. All seven competitors who represented the KDDP during the 2018 racing season will be recognized. Highlighting the activities for the evening will be the presentation of the winner’s check for $54,439 and the special KDDP “Kulwicki Cup” trophy to 2018 champion Brett Yackey of Greeley, Colorado.

Speed 51.com, the official media partner of the KDDP, will provide free live streaming coverage of the event beginning at 7 p.m. ET on December 13.  Speed 51’s Bob Dillner will serve as emcee for the evening.

“We are so blessed to enjoy the outstanding relationship we have with Bob and his Speed51 team,” Roberts said. “They have been with us since the planning stages of our organization and their support through the years has been invaluable. Our banquet may be closed to the public as for actual attendance, but thanks to Speed51.com, everyone across the globe will be able to log on, tune in and enjoy all the evening’s activities.”

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BRETT YACKEY CLAIMS 2018 “KULWICKI CUP” CHAMPIONSHIP
-Third-Generation Colorado Driver’s Title Bid Boosted by Incredible Finish to Impressive Season-

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 20, 2018) – After posting an incredible finish to an impressive season, Greeley, Colorado’s Brett Yackey has claimed the 2018 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) Kulwicki Cup Championship. The hard-charging 18-year-old third-generation racer recorded three of the biggest wins of his young career during the final weeks of the competition and padded his points lead during the organization’s final voting.

When the seven months of the annual KDDP competition (April through October) had concluded, Yackey had accrued 1,099 points to Gleason, Wisconsin’s Justin Mondeik’s 957. Both Yackey and 22-year-old Mondeik were finalists in the 2017 Kulwicki Cup contest, with Yackey finishing third and Mondeik fifth.

The final 2018 KDDP “Kulwicki Cup” point standings look like this:

1) – Brett Yackey - 1099
2) – Justin Mondeik - 957
3) – Cole Butcher - 869
4) – Justin Carroll - 644
5) – Brittney Zamora - 561
6) – Derek Griffith - 419
7) – Molly Helmuth – 253

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2018 KULWICKI CUP BATTLE GOING DOWN TO THE WIRE
-Points Tighten as Final Few Weeks Will Likely Decide This Year’s KDDP Champion-

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2018) – With only the final weeks of October remaining in the battle for the 2018 Kulwicki Cup Championship, both on-track and off-track activities are more important than ever in the four-year history of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. It is apparent that what the seven KDDP drivers accomplish during the remaining days of the competition will determine the final point standings for 2018 and see one of those drivers claim the rich and prestigious Kulwicki Cup.

“I’ve personally always believed in the popular adage of first impressions making lasting impressions,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “There’s actual research that supports that axiom. But when it comes to our organization’s contest to determine our annual champion this year, it looks as if it will be the last impressions that prove to be first in importance.”

After the KDDP’s second voting period that ended on Sunday, Sept. 30, the point standings have tightened up to show that only 42 points now separate new leader Brett Yackey of Greeley, Colorado, from second-place Justin Mondeik of Gleason, Wisconsin. Porter's Lake, Nova Scotia’s Cole Butcher is running a solid third and could vault to the top after the third and final voting. Brittney Zamora, of Kennewick, Washington, has been the driver on the move since the last standings were released. The hard-charging 19-year-old racer has catapulted up to fourth and could be a serious challenger when the final points are tallied next month. Concord, North Carolina’s Justin Carroll, Derek Griffith of Hudson, New Hampshire and Seattle, Washington’s Molly Helmuth round out the seven-driver 2018 roster.

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KULWICKI’S HOF IMAGE COMES FROM LEGENDARY LENSMAN RUSS LAKE
-Veteran Motorsports Photographer Thrilled with Selection; Looking Forward to Attending Induction-

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 25, 2018) – Russ Lake first photographed Alan Kulwicki racing at the old Hales Corners Speedway during Kulwicki’s 1973 rookie season on the Milwaukee area third-mile dirt oval. Some 45 years later, it is one of legendary lensman Lake’s prized images that has been selected to serve as Kulwicki’s primary photo for his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

 

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BENNY ERTEL RECALLS RACING’S GREATEST ALL-STAR PIT CREW
-Veteran Racer Shares Many Special Memories of Incredible Charlotte Race from 32 Years Ago-

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 27, 2018) – As the NASCAR drivers, teams and fans head back to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the annual fall racing weekend, veteran motorsports management pro Benny Ertel recalled a special race held there 32 years ago. The official results sheet shows that Ertel drove the No. 12 Miller American Pontiac from a 12th-place start to a 12th-place finish in the Oct. 1, 1986 Bullfrog Knits 150. In reality, no documented statistics will ever fully explain what occurred during that Charlotte/Daytona Dash Series event on the 1.5-mile CMS quad-oval.

The event will always hold the distinction of featuring the greatest all-star pit crew ever assembled for a race. Take a look at the official personnel roster for Benny’s No. 12 team that day:

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Kulwicki Driver Development Program driver Derek Griffith gets up to speed during the 2017 edition of the prestigious Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway. He and Canada’s Cole Butcher are both members of the 2018 KDDP class and will be carrying the familiar logo on their cars this weekend at the Maine short track.

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BUTCHER & GRIFFITH LOOK TO TURN HEADS IN SUNDAY’S OXFORD 250
-2018 KDDP Drivers & 2016 Kulwicki Cup Runner-up Farrington Prepared for Rich & Prestigious Race-

OXFORD, Maine (August 21, 2018) – Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) drivers Cole Butcher and Derek Griffith enter this weekend’s rich and prestigious 45th Annual Clark’s Scrap Metal Oxford 250 looking to rebound from the disappointment they endured in the 2017 edition of the race. Last year’s Pro All Stars Series (PASS) battle at the legendary Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine was mostly forgettable for Butcher and Griffith, who finished 36th and 38th, respectively.

The 2017 Oxford 250 was an exceptionally difficult pill to swallow for Butcher, the hard-charging Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia driver. In the thick of the battle for another Maritime Pro Stock Tour (MPST) points championship, Butcher was attempting to compete in both the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour race at Petty International Raceway in New Brunswick and the Oxford 250 on the same weekend. (That’s a 366-mile drive, plus clearing U.S. Customs and Border Protection en route.) After Saturday’s race at Petty was postponed until Sunday, the 2016 MPST champ opted to compete at Oxford Plains instead. When the 2017 racing season concluded, Butcher lost the Pro Stock Tour championship to Shawn Turple by a single point (2,467 to 2,466).

For this year’s Oxford 250 weekend, Butcher and his family-owned team are taking a different approach.

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U-27 Wiggins H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Team
WIGGINS RACING U-27 TEAM HONORS ALABAMA GANG’S DAVEY ALLISON
-HydroFest 2018’s “Home Team” Proud to Carry New NASCAR HOF Member’s Image on Hydroplane-

Image 1 | Image 2

GADSDEN, Alabama (June 20, 2018) – Racing’s “Alabama Gang” will be thrilling fans once again this weekend as the Gadsden, Alabama-based Wiggins U-27 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Team announced today they will honor legendary Hueytown, Alabama driver Davey Allison in this weekend’s Guntersville Lake HydroFest 2018. Allison, a winner of 19 races and 14 pole positions in only six full seasons on NASCAR’s top tour, was recently named as a member of the 2019 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Wiggins crew will pay tribute to Allison, one of the most popular drivers in stock car racing history, by running a special tribute decal on the U-27.

“Growing up here in Alabama, my dad and I were huge fans of the ‘Alabama Gang,’” said Charley Wiggins, co-owner (with father Milton) of the U-27 Team. “I was a regular going to all the Talladega races since I was nine years old and I became one of the biggest Davey Allison fans around.

“To tell you the truth, when we lost Davey, my interest in NASCAR faded for a while,” Wiggins said of Allison’s passing on July 13, 1993, as the result from injuries sustained in a helicopter crash. “Davey was my driver and there was such a huge void without him racing. I really think there are many fans out there, especially here in Alabama, who feel the exact same way.

“For our team and especially me personally, it’s such an honor to be able to run his picture on our boat and pay tribute to him like this,” said Wiggins, the sole H1 Unlimited team owner from the Southeast. “I know all his many fans will appreciate it and enjoy celebrating Davey being voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this way.”

“When we were working on the announcement last week that the team would be honoring Alan Kulwicki by putting his tribute decal on the U-27, Charley was quick to say that Davey was always his favorite driver,” said Tom Roberts, the Guntersville resident who heads the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. “I could sense just how much Charley wanted to honor Davey in a similar manner.

“The Allison Family will always be like an extended family of my own,” said Roberts, who served as Bobby Allison’s public relations representative for Miller Brewing from 1984 through 1988. “With both Alan and Davey being voted into the 2019 Hall of Fame Class, I thought it would be appropriate if Charley’s team could honor them by running the decals for both of these special drivers.”

“I reached out to the Allisons and they were so supportive of the idea,” Roberts said. “Bobby and Bonnie signed off on it almost immediately. It took a day or so to finally connect with Liz (Davey’s widow), but she was absolutely ecstatic that Charley wanted to pay tribute to Davey like this.

“Although they can’t be here to see the boat live and up close, we’ll definitely be passing along images of the U-27 to them,” said Roberts. “We also hope to capture some of the fan excitement to show them. I think it will be quite amazing to see the crowd support of the U-27 this weekend. Not only is Charley’s team the only one from this region, now they will have a member of racing’s legendary ‘Alabama Gang’ visible on their boat, too.”

“With Alan riding on the cockpit and Davey on the engine cover, it’ll be like old times at Talladega with those two drafting each other,” Wiggins offered with a chuckle. “Davey and Alan were both Ford drivers for their entire NASCAR racing careers, so that should certainly add to the meaningfulness of having both NASCAR Hall-of-Famers on our U-27.”

This weekend’s Guntersville Lake HydroFest 2018 (June 22-24) will feature both the H1 Unlimited and Grand Prix World (GPW) hydro classes. Wiggins Racing will be fielding entries in both classes, with veteran Cal Phipps driving both boats.

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U-27 Wiggins Racing–H1 Racing Team Paying Tribute to Kulwicki
-Latest NASCAR Hall-of-Famer’s Photo on Hydroplane’s Cockpit for HydroFest 2018-

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala.  (June 12, 2018) – Owners of the Gadsden, Alabama-based U-27 Wiggins Racing – H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Team announced today that they will be paying tribute to 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame member Alan Kulwicki by carrying his image on the cockpit of their boat during the upcoming Guntersville Lake HydroFest 2018.

“I always had so much respect for Alan and what he was able to accomplish in NASCAR in such a relatively short period of time,” said U-27 Wiggins Racing team owner Charley Wiggins. “We can certainly identify with Alan, as our team is a small family-run operation that takes great pride in getting the most out of our equipment and limited personnel. It’s a sincere honor to be able to pay tribute to Alan this way. Like so many other racers and fans out there, we were cheering when his name was announced as a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2019.”

Wiggins comes from a racing family. His uncle, John Wiggins, was a noted successful drag racer who campaigned the famous “Glow Worm” dragster all over the Southeast. His father, Milton, is co-owner of the team and first raced outboards as a youngster back in 1954. Over the years, Milton moved to the inboard category of boats powered by automotive engines and eventually to the GP Grand Prix class. Charley followed his father’s footsteps and became a successful boat racer in his own right, driving since he was nine years of age and growing through the ranks all the way to pilot the famed U-6 Miss Madison Unlimited Hydroplane during the 2000 season.

“One of the things that impressed me the most about Alan was his educational background,” said Wiggins. “He was not only a driver and team owner, he also had an engineering degree. That was unheard of back then and I feel like it was such an asset. To be successful in our contracting business (Chase Building Group, Inc), I earned my degree in Building Science (has a B.A. degree from the College of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University). I had a few classes in engineering, but I wish I could have taken more. The education and degree I have works perfectly on the construction side of my life, but I wish I had done additional engineering studies to help over on the racing side.

“We’re really looking forward to the big race weekend in Guntersville,” said Wiggins. “The promotion of our racing there has been referred to as being like NASCAR on the water. With that in mind, it’ll be really cool to have a NASCAR champion and Hall-of-Famer like Alan Kulwicki riding on the cockpit of our U-27 out there.”

While the special decal commemorating Kulwicki’s spot in the 2019 HOF Class will debut on Wiggins’ Unlimited Hydroplane in two weeks in Guntersville, racing fans from Nova Scotia, Canada, to Seattle, Washington, will become familiar with it during the remainder of the 2018 racing season.

“We want to thank Charley and everyone associated with Wiggins Racing for helping us introduce the decal in such a spectacular fashion,” said Tom Roberts, a Guntersville resident who was Kulwicki’s media representative during his entire career and now serves as the Executive Director for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. “I know Alan would get such a huge kick out of seeing himself riding on the cockpit of the U-27. I certainly will.

“After Charley’s team carries the decal in the HydroFest, we will be sending out a supply to every driver who has carried the KDDP colors over the last four years,” Roberts said.  “We’ll be asking them to proudly display the decals on their race cars, pit boxes and support vehicles in celebrating Alan’s election to the Hall of Fame.”

The Guntersville Lake HydroFest 2018, set for June 22-24, will feature both the H1 Unlimited and Grand Prix World (GPW) hydro classes. Wiggins Racing will be fielding entries in both classes, with veteran Cal Phipps driving both boats.

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Additional background on Wiggins Racing:

·         In 2003, the Wiggins Racing Team won Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association (ULHRA) championship events at Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada, and won the General Motors Cup, or “Super Bowl of Hydroplane Racing,” in Seattle, Washington, with driver Cal Phipps, a multi-time champion in six classes of boat racing. 

·         The team raced sporadically over the next few years, winning an event in 2008 at Pickwick Dam in Hardin County, Tennessee.

·         Wiggins Racing took a break from active competition during the next few years. Instead, they focused on starting a contracting business specializing in mid-size commercial construction (Chase Building Group, Inc.) and maintaining a successful boat restoration business (also housed in their complex located off Sutton Bridge Road between Gadsden and Rainbow City).

·         After preparing and racing Grand Prix World hydro boats for several seasons, the Wiggins Team went all out back in 2015, when they purchased the U-17 “Our Gang Racing” Unlimited Hydroplane. They competed as the U-27 Dalton Industries H-1 Unlimited and, again with Phipps behind the wheel, finished third in the series points. For their first-year effort as unlimited owners, Wiggins Racing was recognized with both the Crew of the Year and Owner of the Year awards for the 2015 season.

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KULWICKI’S NASCAR HALL OF FAME NOD A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION
-KDDP Drivers Past & Present Reflect on 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion's Pending Hall of Fame Induction-

CONCORD, N.C, (May 31, 2018) – When Alan Kulwicki was named to the 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class last Wednesday afternoon, it was reason to celebrate for his many fans and supporters who have been pulling for his inclusion since he was first nominated back in 2015.

That was certainly the case for everyone associated with the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. Last Wednesday was nearly four years ago to the day that Tom Roberts, Paul Andrews and Tony Gibson were among the group gathered at a press conference to announce the formation of the KDDP. That media event at The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway took place the very same day that the Hall of Fame announced its 2015 class.

"I distinctly remember (PRN Radio's) Doug Rice and others feverishly checking their phones to see who had made the Hall," recalled KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. "I was so excited to announce the formation of the KDDP and that Paul and Tony were our first board members. But at the same time, I remember thinking 'Man, wouldn't it be great if this program could also help Alan's cause for getting into the Hall of Fame, too?'”

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NEW ENGLAND DRIVERS GRIFFITH & FARRINGTON BOND OVER KULWICKI LEGACY
-2018 KDDP Driver Derek Griffith Receiving Mentorship & Advice from 2016 Program Runner-Up Dave Farrington-

CONCORD, N.C. (May 10, 2018) – New England drivers are a tight bunch. Sure, they have their differences on and off the track, but they tend to always look out for each other when they are on the road. While racers from the Northeast may enjoy an unparalleled level of camaraderie, there is still a home state pride that is second to none among those from Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, respectively.

For 2018 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) finalist Derek Griffith and 2016 program runner-up Dave Farrington, a strong bond really did not exist between the two top Super Late Model competitors until recently. During the 2018 racing season, the 25-year-old veteran Farrington is providing mentorship and advice to the hard-charging 21-year-old Griffith as he hopes to be the first Kulwicki Cup champion from New England.

While the two drivers had raced against each other for several years, they really had not talked much at the track until last season. That all changed last May when Griffith and Farrington were attempting to compete in the PASS North race on the 4/10ths-mile oval at Montmagny, QC, Canada. While Griffith and his Hudson, New Hampshire-based team had no troubles crossing the Canadian border, Farrington and his team were waylaid. In fact, three of Farrington’s crewmen were turned away by border officials. Farrington drove them all back home to his Jay, Maine, race shop, slept for a few hours and hit the road early the next morning all by himself.

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 “2018 Kulwicki Driver Development Program competitor Derek Griffith (left) is getting mentorship and advice this season from Dave Farrington (right), who carried the KDDP colors during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The two racers are among the top New England Super Late Model drivers and have bonded over continuing the Kulwicki legacy.”

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KDDP DRIVERS ACTIVE ON & OFF TRACK AS 2018 SEASON REVS UP
-Mondeik & Butcher Strike Balance Between Community Service Projects & Preseason Prep Work--

CONCORD, N.C. (April 26, 2018) – By the time late April rolls around, most North American racers have been on the track, whether in competition or preseason testing. But for drivers in the Upper Midwest and Canada, this spring has been exceedingly difficult with lingering adverse weather wreaking havoc on their plans. Facing a battle against Mother Nature in order to start chasing checkered flags, several members of the 2018 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) roster have utilized the time to get entrenched in worthwhile causes off the track.

Gleason, Wisconsin’s Justin Mondeik can’t get over yet another major storm that hit his hometown last weekend. “We got over 20 inches of snow in Gleason and a foot where I go to school at Michigan Tech (in Houghton, Michigan),” said Mondeik. “Typically, going home means getting away from all the snow, but this weekend it was worse back there.”

A member of the 2017 KDDP class, Mondeik is hoping to build off a strong finish to last season that saw him consistently finish in the top-10. “We really came on at the end of the year, which was a huge boost of confidence after the rough start we had,” said Mondeik. “I’ve never been more confident as we enter 2018.”

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2018 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM COMPETITORS ANNOUNCED
-Team of Seven KDDP Drivers Racing All Over North America in Representing 1992 NASCAR Champ-

CONCORD, N.C. (March 16, 2018) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the 2018 racing season. These young racers will be helping keep the memory and legacy of 1992 NASCAR Cup Champion Alan Kulwicki alive, while also competing for the rich ($54,439) and prestigious annual Kulwicki Cup Championship.

The seven drivers, in alphabetical order, are:

COLE BUTCHER, 21, PORTER’S LAKE, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA:

The 2016 Maritime Pro Stock Tour (MPST) Champion and 2017 series runner-up, Cole Butcher has seven MPST victories since 2015. Last year, Butcher won his second Atlantic Cat 250 at Scotia (Halifax, NS) Speedworld and made several trips south of the border, posting strong finishes at Oxford Plains Speedway and Hickory Motor Speedway. He also competed in the Snowball Derby for the first time, finishing 15th after a strong early run. Butcher's family-owned team will compete for the MPST title again in 2018 and will continue a relationship with Donnie Wilson Racing for several U.S. starts, including the All American 400 in Nashville, Tenn.,  and a return trip to the Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Fla. Butcher returns to the Kulwicki Driver Development Program fold after posting a fourth-place finish in 2017.

JUSTIN CARROLL, 21, CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA:

When all was said and done with the 2017 racing season, Justin Carroll had a most impressive year. Carroll won the CARS Tour "Throwback 276” at Hickory Motor Speedway, racing cleanly while three-wide with his fellow competitors for the final twenty laps before coming out on top. To cap it off, Carroll's paint scheme that night paid tribute to Wisconsin short track legend Dick Trickle, a longtime on-track rival of Alan Kulwicki and good friend away from the track. A multiple-time winner in both Late Model Stock Cars and Pro Late Models, Carroll and his family-owned team will participate in both CARS Tour and NASCAR Whelen All American Series action again this season. Carroll was a 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program semifinalist.

DEREK GRIFFITH, 21, HUDSON, NEW HAMPSHIRE:

There is perhaps no other Super Late Model racer in the Eastern United States that has put more miles on their hauler over the past two seasons than New Hampshire's Derek Griffith. Traveling from the snowy North to the World Series of Asphalt Racing in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., the past two winters, Griffith has also come South for several PASS South and National Tour races. He picked up an early season win in February in PASS action at Dillon Motor Speedway, outdueling several of the country's top Super Late Model teams. A 28-time winner in his career, Griffith will again compete for the PASS North championship, run with the Granite State Pro Stock Series (he is the 2015 series champion), and other races yet to be announced. Griffith was a 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program semifinalist.

MOLLY HELMUTH, 22, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON:

A three-time Most Popular Driver at her home track of Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway, Molly Helmuth is expanding her racing schedule significantly in 2018, both in quantity and geographic area. Helmuth will compete at Evergreen, run in the Northwest Super Late Model Series and venture to compete in the East Coast in CARS Tour Super Late Model Tour action. Helmuth will partner with Will Jones and his J&J Racing Unlimited team for the entire nine-race CARS Tour season. Helmuth is a 2017 graduate of Western Governors University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.

JUSTIN MONDEIK, 21, GLEASON, WISCONSIN:

Over the final two months of the 2017 racing season in the Midwest, very few drivers could have improved more than Wisconsin's Justin Mondeik. After missing the first ARCA Midwest Tour race of the season and destroying his primary car in a frightening wreck at Gateway International Speedway in June, Mondeik and his family-run team went on a tear. Mondeik rattled off multiple top-10 finishes and greatly improved his qualifying prowess. Mondeik finished 10th in the 2017 ARCA Midwest Tour points and just missed out on the Rookie-of-the-Year crown. In 2018, Mondeik will compete for ARCA Midwest, TUNDRA Series, and State Park (Wausau, Wis.) Speedway championships, plus compete in additional races in Central Wisconsin. He is currently attending Michigan Tech University and is hoping to graduate with a Mechanical Engineering degree in 2019. Mondeik finished fifth in the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program standings.

BRETT YACKEY, 18, GREELEY, COLORADO:

The son of Colorado racing legend Bruce Yackey, Brett Yackey has established himself as a racer to watch heading into the 2018 season. A multiple-time winner at I-25 (Pueblo, Colo.) Speedway, Yackey finished third in the season standings at the highly competitive Colorado National (Dacono, Colo.) Speedway (CNS). A high school senior with a 3.75+ GPA, Yackey will compete for the track title at CNS again in 2018, along with select races at other tracks in the Rocky Mountain region. He was the 2016 NASCAR Whelen All American Series Colorado State Rookie of the Year. Yackey finished a close third in the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program standings.

BRITTNEY ZAMORA, 18, KENNEWICK, WASHINGTON:

A freshman studying Elementary and Special Education at Washington State University, Brittney Zamora burst onto the Super Late Model scene in 2017 with two race wins and the Northwest Super Late Model Series points championship. Zamora was the first female racer to win a SLM championship in the Pacific Northwest. This season, Zamora will race for the track title at Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway and compete in several big shows on the West Coast, including the Montana 200 in Kalispell, Mont., and the Fall Classic at The Bullring in Las Vegas.

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CODY HASKINS CLAIMS 2017 “KULWICKI CUP” CHAMPIONSHIP
-“Hands-On” Georgia Driver Outpoints Minnesota’s Ostdiek by Slimmest of Margins-

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 17, 2017) – By the slimmest of margins, the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) is proud to announce that Marietta, Georgia's Cody Haskins is the program's 2017 champion. Haskins, who won two races and finished in the top-five 13 times, edged out Lakeville, Minnesota's Michael Ostdiek 965-952 after on-track results and community engagement points were taken into account.

The final 2017 KDDP “Kulwicki Cup” point standings:

1) – Cody Haskins - 965
2) – Michael Ostdiek - 952
3) – Brett Yackey - 844
4) – Cole Butcher - 607
5) – Justin Mondeik - 532
6) – Braison Bennett - 472
7) – John Peters – 331

"It's really no surprise that the season title came down to Cody and Michael because they have been neck and neck since the late spring,” said Tom Roberts, Executive Director of the KDDP. “They were nearly equal on and off the track, but Cody really impressed our board with his hands-on approach at the track and his massive amount of off-track activities after his season wrapped up in early October.  It doesn’t come as a shock that the two drivers who were invited to return to the program in 2017 finished in the top two spots.”

For Haskins, this championship is the culmination of a yearlong journey that began on a late night drive home after the 2016 KDDP banquet last December. "Cody has often said that the 2016 banquet was one of his most humbling experiences,” said Roberts. “Finishing where he did in the 2016 standings (fifth of the seven drivers) motivated him to improve for 2017. His Alan Kulwicki-like hands-on approach offered a notable parallel to the 1992 NASCAR champion and his on-track results were consistent. But what really put Cody over the top this season was his commitment to engaging with his neighbors and the fans."

An executive with KRC Power Steering, Haskins participated in fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the American Red Cross, Goodwill and the Shriner's Hospital. He also helped raise money for the family of Terry Evans, a fellow racer who was killed in an accident after leaving Myrtle Beach (SC) Speedway in July.

“Like several of our drivers, Cody also spent time with school kids in and around his hometown, visiting a number of schools and churches throughout the season,” Roberts said. "It sure seemed like that whenever there was an open weekend in the racing schedule, Cody and his team were somewhere signing autographs and meeting young race fans. What set Cody apart for me, personally, was that even on his wedding day, he and his new wife found the time to visit a local food pantry and help those less fortunate. That just shows what kind of character he has."

If there was any driver in this year’s KDDP class who understood the power of working closely with young people, it had to be Ostdiek. The Iowa State University student from the Twin Cities suburbs focused his off-track energies on his own quarter-midget driver development program, which continues to shape and mold the next generation of Midwest short track racers.

"Michael has really emerged as not only a top young talent on the track, but has established himself as a leader off of it as well,” Roberts said.  “His driver development program is second-to-none and his commitment to fundraising and improving the lives of those around him continues to impress.”

Ostdiek won the 2017 ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year, edging out fellow KDDP finalist Justin Mondeik.  He picked up three race wins at his home track of Elko (MN) Speedway, along with six top-five finishes throughout the season. "I think Michael impressed a lot of people this year and he will only improve in 2018,” said Roberts. “I know that Gregg McKarns and all the ARCA Midwest Tour community are proud that he represented them so well and they look forward to having him back in the fold next year."

Colorado's Brett Yackey finished a close third, followed by Nova Scotia's Cole Butcher, Wisconsin's Justin Mondeik and Braison Bennett, and Maine's John Peters. Those remaining five drivers all acquitted themselves well on-and-off the track in 2017, with Yackey really standing out throughout the season.

"For a high school senior, Brett really impressed us throughout the year,” said Roberts. “He raced hard at Colorado National against some of the best competition in the West and then impressed us with his off track work.” Among his many off-track activities, Yackey helped raise over $4,000 for former Colorado National Speedway driver Dalton Hewitt's cancer fund, selling baked good, burritos, and hosting a silent auction. It was incredible that he was able to balance all of that with also being a star athlete at Greeley Central High School.”

Cole Butcher, who posted two wins, including the prestigious Atlantic Cat 250, and 10 top-10 finishes, was a big supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, hosting two young race fans and their families at Scotia Speedworld in June. Justin Mondeik showed great improvement on the track during the season, and played a critical role in helping raise funds for the Northwoods Veterans Post in Merrill, Wisconsin. Braison Bennett embodied the Kulwicki spirit in many ways; owning, maintaining, and fixing his own race cars on a limited budget, but still able to find victory lane at Wisconsin International Raceway. Bennett, along with Maine's John Peters, both suffered incredibly bad luck this season, but both were able to overcome and post strong finishes. At his home track of Beech Ridge (ME) Motor Speedway, Peters hosted a "Kulwicki Kid" program for seven young fans, selected through a fan drawing on social media, providing them with a up-close-and-personal look at short track racing and sending them home with a number of prizes, including a racing helmet.

"All of our drivers did a remarkable job this year and our board members were superb in completing their voting assignment,” Roberts said. “They continued to place great value on community involvement, off-track projects and social media activities.  They awarded bonus points for drivers going the extra mile in representing our organization. With all things being equal and with some better racing luck, any of the drivers could have walked away with the Kulwicki Cup this year. I am so proud of each of them and I know Alan would be also.”

The KDDP points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance.  Voters are asked to rank the drivers from first to seventh in their job of representing the organization and points (from 70 for first to 10 for seventh) are awarded for those rankings.  Each voter is given 10 discretionary “bonus” points to award the drivers for “exceptional contributions” to the program.  Community engagement, program representation and social media activities account for much of those points. The remainder of the points come from actual racing statistics. Race wins award 10 points, with 2nd-5th-place finishes getting 6 points, 6th-10th 4 points, 11th-15th 2 points and 15th-plus 1 point.

Here is a look at the final “on-track” competition points (from 4/1/17 through 10/31/17):

Cody Haskins         -           98 (2 wins, 13 top-5s)
Brett Yackey            -           96 (3 wins, 9 top-5s)
Michael Ostdiek      -           90 (3 wins, 6 top-5s)
Braison Bennett     -           88 (1 win, 11 top-5s)
Cole Butcher           -           87 (2 wins, 10 top-5s)
Justin Mondeik       -           64 (0 wins, 2 top-5s)
John Peters             -           54 (0 wins, 3 top-5s)

For the third and final round of voting, the two regular season judging points were averaged (however, bonus points continued to accrue) and added to the final vote’s judging points. The overall competition points (maximum 150 points for 15 wins) were applied and the driver with the largest points total, Haskins, earned the 2017 Kulwicki Cup championship.

Haskins is the KDDP's third champion and the first from outside of Wisconsin, following Ty Majeski (2015) and Alex Prunty (2016). While he has big shoes to fill, Roberts feels that Haskins is ready to take the next step.

"Cody has achieved a great deal in late model stock car racing throughout the Southeast and I know that he plans on trying to take the next step in his career,” said Roberts. “It's also impressive that he has seen great success working as a mentor and car owner for Jensen and Taylor Jorgensen, both of whom have a bright future in short track racing. While his 2018 plans are not set in stone, we expect big things for Cody. He has a personal drive much like Alan possessed. He knows every nut and bolt on the race car and expects a lot of himself and those around him. A determination like Cody's can only lead to success."

Haskins and the other six members of the 2017 KDDP class will be honored during the organization’s banquet set for Thursday, Dec. 14 in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Highlighting the activities for the evening (which would have been Alan Kulwicki’s 63rd birthday) will be the presentation of the winner’s check for $54,439 and the special KDDP “Kulwicki Cup” Champion’s trophy to Haskins. NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Mark Martin will be the featured speaker and official media partner Speed51.com will provide a free live-streaming broadcast of the event.

While the 2017 season is over, drivers can start applying for the 2018 Kulwicki Driver Development Program today. Please visit www.kulwickiddp.com for the application and additional information. All applications are due on December 31, 2017.


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KDDP 2018 Application
Download Here

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KDDP POINTS BATTLE INCREDIBLY TIGHT ENTERING FINAL MONTH
-Only October Remains in 2017 Battle to Determine Rich & Prestigious Kulwicki Cup Championship-

CONCORD, N.C. (October 4, 2017) – With only the month of October remaining to determine the winner in the 2017 edition of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) competition, a mere 21 points separate the top three drivers. Lakeville, Minnesota’s Michael Ostdiek leads with 859 points, followed by Marietta, Georgia’s Cody Haskins with 842 points and Greeley, Colorado’s Brett Yackey with 838 points. Porters Lake, Nova Scotia's Cole Butcher holds down the fourth spot with 607 points.

After the second of three judging periods has been completed by the KDDP’s advisory board, here is the way the 2017 standings stack up:

Michael Ostdiek      -           859
Cody Haskins         -           842
Brett Yackey            -           838
Cole Butcher           -           607
Justin Mondeik       -           533
Braison Bennett     -           515
John Peters             -           427

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MARK MARTIN FEATURED SPEAKER AT KDDP AWARDS BANQUET
-NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Enjoyed Special Friendship with Alan Kulwicki-

CONCORD, N.C. (September 19, 2017) – Mark Martin, NASCAR Hall-of-Famer and winner of 40 premier series races, will serve as the featured guest speaker at the annual Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) awards banquet.  The annual gala event is set for Thursday, December 14, in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will feature a live online broadcast.

            “We are extremely delighted to have Mark join us as our featured speaker for this year’s banquet,” said Tom Roberts, executive director of the KDDP.  “Mark and Alan had a special friendship that dated all the way back to their short-track racing days on the bullrings of the Midwest.  Many folks are not aware that the two hard-charging drivers actually had their teams headquartered in the same building back in the mid-‘80s.

            “It will be such a thrill to have Mark there speaking to our drivers and guests in the audience and to all the others across the world watching online,” Roberts added.  “There was an incredible level of competitive spirit and mutual respect shared by Mark and Alan and it will be fascinating to see and hear Mark discuss it live.”

            Martin began his racing career on the dirt tracks near his Batesville, Arkansas home. He moved on to asphalt late model racing and joined the American Speed Association (ASA) series, winning the Rookie-of-the-Year title in 1977. He went on to claim 22 victories and four championships (1978, 1979, 1980 & 1986) in ASA competition.

            Martin’s incredible NASCAR big-league racing career record boasts 40 victories in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and 49 wins in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition. He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 and was a Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee in 2015.  Martin’s spectacular 30-year driving career culminated into him being named as a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

“I had the honor and challenge of racing with Alan for years,” Martin said. “His achievements are legendary and it makes me proud to see the KDDP helping others to have a shot to make their dreams come true.”

            The banquet will celebrate the third season for the organization and culminate with the awarding of the prestigious Kulwicki Cup trophy and check for $54,439 to the 2017 KDDP champion.  Seven drivers from across North America (Braison Bennett of Neenah, Wisconsin; Cole Butcher of Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia, Canada; Cody Haskins of Marietta, Georgia; Justin Mondeik of Gleason, Wisconsin; Michael Ostdiek of Lakeville, Minnesota; John Peters of Westbrook, Maine and Brett Yackey of Greeley, Colorado) have competed for the award this year and the winner will be named on November 15.

“Having Mark there with us will certainly add to the fun and special memories made that night,” Roberts added.  “I can’t think of a better way to commemorate another great season for our organization and honor Alan on what would have been his 63rd birthday.”

Speed 51.com, the official media partner of the KDDP, will provide free live streaming coverage of the event beginning at 7 p.m. ET on December 14.  Speed 51’s Bob Dillner will serve as emcee for the evening.

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RAZOR-THIN KULWICKI CHAMPIONSHIP COMING DOWN TO THE WIRE
-Six Weeks Remain in 2017 KDDP Competition; Points Update Scheduled for September 27-

CONCORD, N.C. (September 15, 2017) -- This weekend marks the “six-weeks-to-go-point” in the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) and the competition at the top of the standings could not be any closer. Take a quick look at the current “on-track” points, with two separate evaluations remaining by the KDDP advisory board before the 2017 Kulwicki Cup Champion is named:

Michael Ostdiek - 88 (3 wins)
Brett Yackey - 88 (2 wins)
Braison Bennett - 88 (1 win)
Cole Butcher - 76 (1 win)
Cody Haskins - 76 (1 win)
John Peters - 52
Justin Mondeik - 48

“What’s so cool and unique about our program is that the on-track performance is only one aspect that enters into the equation in winning our prestigious (and rich; worth $54,439) Kulwicki Cup award,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts. “After we announced the initial point standings back in August, all of our drivers have stepped up their performances in both on and off-track activities. 

“What has impressed me the most is the dedication all of these drivers share,” Roberts said. “Whether they are balancing racing and school, racing and work or racing and family, these young men are representing our program in really remarkable fashion and we’re so proud of all of them.”

Since early August, KDDP drivers have posted seven wins and 16 top-five finishes, with Lakeville, Minnesota's Michael Ostdiek leading the way. Ostdiek has posted three wins in NASCAR Whelen All American Series (NWAAS) action at Elko (MN) Speedway. "While Michael has struggled somewhat recently in ARCA Midwest Tour racing, he has really stepped up his game at his home track, despite running only part time,” said Roberts. “Now he's back in school at Iowa State, hitting the books and looking to close out his season strong. The tremendous job he has done with young fans at his home track has been so impressive. Michael is such a likable young man and is starting to develop a sizable fan following, not just in Minnesota, but on a national scale, too.”

Colorado's Brett Yackey has stepped up his performance as well, garnering two checkered flags at I-25 (CO) Speedway and running up front at Colorado National Speedway in Erie, Colorado. Yackey, a high school senior, led his Greeley North High School football team to its first win in almost two years, gaining 315 total yards. "I don't know what I'm more impressed by; Brett's recent wins or his amazing play on the football field," noted Roberts. "For his first full season in a super late model, Brett has made incredible progress. He is in the mix against tough competition at Colorado National every week and I expect that he will get his breakthrough win there sometime soon."

Nova Scotia's Cole Butcher picked up the victory in the prestigious Atlantic Cat 250 at Scotia Speedworld on August 13 and continues to consistently post top-five finishes in Maritime Pro Stock Series action. "It was a thrill to see Cole's Atlantic Cat 250 win in person and I’ll always have great memories of being there celebrating the huge accomplishment with his family and team,” said Roberts. “We are excited that he is going to hook back up with Donnie Wilson and run some super late model races at the end of the year south of the border. It would not surprise me in the least to see him in victory lane stateside.”

If the KDDP program gave out a hard luck award, it would have to go to Neenah, Wisconsin's Braison Bennett. At the outset of 2017, Bennett planned on running for TUNDRA Series Rookie of the Year and for track championships at Wisconsin International Raceway (WIR) and Slinger (WI) Speedway. Bennett has persevered through miserable luck, having been taken out in multiple accidents not of his own making. His small, self-owned team has thrashed night after night to get one of his cars ready for the track. His hard work paid off with a strong second-place finish in the Big 8 Series race at the Dixieland 250 early last month and he scored his first win of the season on August 31 at WIR. "In many ways, Braison is what the Kulwicki program is all about," said Roberts. "Alan suffered through a lot of adversity early in his career, but look how it turned out for him. Braison just keeps pushing – never giving up -- and we are impressed with what he has been able to accomplish this year."

After scoring a win his first night out at Greenville-Pickens (SC) Speedway back in April, two-time KDDP participant Cody Haskins has posted multiple top-five and top-10 finishes, but has yet to revisit Victory Lane. Haskins expanded his personal driver development program for Jensen and Taylor Jorgensen, overseeing their progression into Pro Truck and Pro Late Model series racing, while also raising money for and visiting patients at the Shriner's Hospital in Greenville. "We have been so proud of Cody this year," said Roberts. "His performance on the track has been consistent, but he has really excelled off the track. Like all of our drivers, Cody is a strong advocate not just for our program, but for Alan's legacy, too."

Like fellow Wisconsin native Bennett, Gleason, Wisconsin's Justin Mondeik has struggled through some bad luck this year, too, but has made great progress throughout the season. Mondeik overcame a spectacular accident in ARCA Midwest Tour action at Gateway International Raceway back in June, returning to the tour without missing a race and continuing his aggressive central Wisconsin schedule at Wausau, Plover, and Marshfield. Mondeik and his family-run team have made great strides this season, becoming more consistent during the race and improving his qualifying. "Justin has a never-say-die attitude and we have tremendous respect for him as a person and as a driver,” said Roberts. “He shows up, works hard and races clean.  While he doesn't have a win yet this year, the top-fives and top-10s are starting to come. He understands what it takes to be a successful racer these days and his rapport with his sponsors and fans is second to none.”

For Westbrook, Maine's John Peters, on-track incidents and adversity are both obstacles he can relate to. Running among the top-three drivers early in the annual Boss Hog 150 at Wiscasset (ME) Speedway, Peters got caught up in a wreck not of his own making. Trying to avoid a stalled car in the middle of the track, Peters ended up in a horrific crash.  In addition to ripping the right side of his race car off and destroying the rear clip, the hard impact caved in the center section of the chassis and broke the motor mounts on his family-owned car. Even worse, he began to suffer from concussion-like symptoms and had to go through concussion protocols and a CT scan. Peters and his team decided to carry on in 2017, purchasing a car from fellow competitor Mike Landry, and returned to the track late last month. In a recent Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) race at Star (NH) Speedway, Peters finished second, his best finish of the year. "John has overcome a lot this season, and we're glad to see him back on the track and running so well," noted Roberts. "We were especially pleased with his Kulwicki Kid program at Beech Ridge this year. This program is all about sharing Alan's story with a new generation, and John did a great job of that. It was so heartwarming to see photos of all the kids and the huge smiles on their faces.”

The second 2017 KDDP point standings will be released on September 27, exclusively on Speed51.com, the organization’s official media partner.

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JOHN PETERS LOOKS TO REBOUND WITH NEW CAR & EXTRA OPTIMISM
-Promising Young KDDP Driver Eager to Bounce Back from Adversity at Beech Ridge on Saturday-

CONCORD, N.C. (August 23, 2017) -- For better or for worse, a racing season can change in an instant. A bit of good luck can propel a struggling racer into victory lane; a bit of bad luck can result in a blown engine, a wrecked race car, or a hurt race driver. For Westbrook, Maine's John Peters, some bad luck on July 30 threw his 2017 season into a tailspin.

Running among the top-three drivers early in the annual Boss Hog 150 at Wiscasset (ME) Speedway, Peters got caught up in a wreck not of his own making. Trying to avoid a stalled car in the middle of the track, Peters ended up in a horrific crash.  In addition to ripping the right side of his race car off and destroying the rear clip, the hard impact caved in the center section of the chassis and broke the motor mounts on his family-owned car. Even worse, the Kulwicki Driver Development Program driver began to suffer from concussion-like symptoms and had to go through concussion protocols and a CT scan.

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2017 KDDP POINTS BATTLE SHAPING UP TO BE CLOSEST EVER
-Ostdiek Leads in Initial Kulwicki Cup Voting; Five of Seven Drivers Receive First-Place Votes -

CONCORD, N.C. (August 4, 2017) – The battle for the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) “Kulwicki Cup” is shaping up to be the closest in the organization’s history. In this season’s first voting report by board members, Lakeville, Minnesota’s Michael Ostdiek leads Marietta, Georgia’s Cody Haskins by a mere two-point margin, 454 to 452.  Greeley, Colorado’s Brett Yackey is a close third with 425 points.

“The KDDP points are so tight and I think it’s indicative of the hard work our seven drivers have been doing out there so far this season,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts.  “The fact that five of the seven drivers received first-place votes speaks volumes about the competitive environment for our program this year.  All seven drivers scored bonus points this time around.

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TRAVELERS AND LOCAL STARS VIE FOR THE 38TH SLINGER NATIONALS
-Five Current & Past KDDP Drivers Hope To Be In Tuesday Night’s Starting Field-

SLINGER, Wis. (July 16, 2017) -- Nearly forty years ago, Slinger Speedway track owner Wayne Erickson and short track legend Dick Trickle got together and came up with the idea for a big money, mid-week super late model race that would pit the best from Slinger, the Central Wisconsin Racing Association, and the Midwest against one another. From that nascent idea sprang the Slinger Nationals, which for the past 37 years has provided many thrilling moments.

Last year’s battle between Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones was a thriller on the fastest quarter-mile in the world.  While neither NASCAR Cup regular will be racing on Tuesday night, there will be plenty of short track stars on hand to put on a tremendous show for what will be a sold out crowd. Georgia’s Bubba Pollard, Arkansas’ Cole Rouse, and Florida’s Steve Dorer are pre-entered, with more drivers certain to throw their hat into the ring this week.

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BRETT YACKEY:  THIS RISING YOUNG RACING STAR TRULY IS AN ATHLETE
-KDDP’s “Colorado Kid” is Also Three-Sport Letterman at Greeley Central High School -

BRETT YACKEY

Greeley, Colorado’s Brett Yackey is a three-sport athlete at Greeley Central High School and is also one of the most promising young stock car drivers in the nation.  The six foot, 185 pound soon-to-be senior wears the No. 32 jersey for the Wildcats football team and also sports that number on the Super Late Model race car he competes in at Colorado National Speedway in Dacono and at other tracks.  Yackey is one of seven drivers from across North America who is participating in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program and competing for the $54,439 grand prize. (Photo by Christi Yackey)

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CONCORD, N.C. (June 28, 2017) – The age-old debate about race car drivers being athletes certainly does not pertain to third-generation Colorado racer Brett Yackey.  The 17-year-old Kulwicki Driver Development Program competitor is a three-sport star athlete for Greeley Central High School, located in the city some 60 miles northeast of Denver.

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KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM SEASON PICKING UP STEAM
-All Seven KDDP Drivers Showing Progress in Pursuit of 2017 Kulwicki Cup-

CONCORD, N.C. (May 25, 2017) – Heading into the Memorial Day weekend, the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) is beginning to hit its stride as all drivers will begin to see regular action in the coming weeks. Whether is it was rain, cold weather, college classes, or just bad luck, the racing season is really just getting started for several program participants.

“The 2017 season’s battle for the Kulwicki Cup started back on April 1, but this spring has been brutal for trying to get races in," said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. "The guys worked hard all winter to get their equipment ready for the track as soon as the weather turned, but it has been a challenge for sure."

While still very early in the season, Porter Lake, Nova Scotia's Cole Butcher and Marietta, Georgia's Cody Haskins have established themselves as potentially the drivers to beat with very strong finishes against good competition.

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MONDEIK & OSTDIEK BEGIN KULWICKI & ARCA MIDWEST TOUR CAMPAIGNS
-Sunday’s Joe Shear Classic at Madison International Speedway is Season Opener for KDDP Duo-

CONCORD, N.C. (May 5, 2017) – Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) drivers Justin Mondeik and Michael Ostdiek kick off their 2017 racing seasons in Sunday’s 200-lap Joe Shear Classic ARCA Midwest Tour battle at Madison International Speedway.  Both drivers are stepping up to run super late models almost exclusively this season and are competing against each other for the series’ coveted Rookie of the Year title.  Both are also hoping to be in the mix for the prestigious and lucrative annual KDDP Kulwicki Cup Championship.

            For Mondeik, the 2017 season marks the culmination of a steady climb up the short track ranks – from 4-cylinders, to limited late models and now to a full slate of super late model racing.

            “We’re really looking forward to competing for the ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year and overall championship this year,” said the 20-year-old charger who hails from Gleason, Wisconsin.  “We’ll also be competing in the TUNDRA Series this season.  We will be racing more than 40 times this year.  It’s going to be a challenge, that’s for sure.  We will be running against so many proven winners in every race.  It’s not just two or three cars that can win; the whole pack has a shot.”

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COLE BUTCHER HOPES TO BE “IN THE HUNT” AT THE EASTER BUNNY 150
-Promising Young Canadian Driver Looking to Continue Turning Heads in Saturday’s Battle at Hickory-

CONCORD, N.C. (April 13, 2017) -- Entering the third season for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, the organization has looked far to the North to find talent.  Cole Butcher of Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia, caught the eye of the KDDP staff at the 2016 Snowflake 100 last December at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.  Butcher turned heads with a strong top-10 run, putting his car near the top of the speed charts for most of the practices and making even the most seasoned short track racing followers scratch their heads and say, “Cole who?”

The hard-charging 20-year-old has been tearing up the short tracks of the Maritime Provinces in Eastern Canada for the past few years, picking up numerous victories and the 2016 Maritime Pro Stock Series Championship. While he will defend his championship in 2017, Butcher is looking south to make a name for himself and test his abilities against the best in short track racing. This weekend, Butcher will team with 2016 Southern Super Series Champion Donnie Wilson to run the Easter Bunny 150 at the legendary Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Butcher’s camp made a connection with Wilson and hit it off, leading to the Snowflake ride in Florida and this weekend’s race at Hickory.

“We have a super late (model) that we will run with the PASS North a few times, but it makes more sense for us to work with Donnie and his team at Hickory,” said Butcher of this weekend’s Pro All Stars Series (PASS) battle on the 0.363-mile bullring located in Newton, North Carolina.  “Donnie has a tremendous program right now and has been great to work with so far.  The competition will be really stout at Hickory and we are really looking forward to the challenge.”

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2017 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM COMPETITORS ANNOUNCED
-Team of Seven KDDP Drivers Racing From Canada to Colorado in Representing 1992 NASCAR Champ-

CONCORD, N.C. (March 23, 2017) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the 2017 racing season.  The seven drivers hail from five different states and Canada and range in age from 17 to 25.

The seven drivers, in alphabetical order, are:

BRAISON BENNETT, 21, NEENAH, WISCONSIN

The son of legendary Wisconsin short track racer Lowell Bennett, Braison made a name for himself in 2016, winning late model track championships at Wisconsin International Raceway (WIR) and Slinger Speedway. In his first full season running super late models, Braison earned the Rookie of the Year title in the highly-competitive TUNDRA Series, picking up several top 10 finishes. An auto mechanic by trade, Braison will defend his track crowns in 2017, run the TUNDRA Series full-time in a super late model, and will expand his super late model schedule as time allows. Braison takes pride in going the extra mile for his fans, giving away trophies and apparel to young fans, and promoting the sport by participating in parades and other community events.

COLE BUTCHER, 20, PORTER’S LAKE, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA

The first Canadian competitor selected for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, Cole Butcher has established himself as one of the drivers to beat in the Maritime Provinces, winning the Maritime Pro Stock Series title in 2016. He also won the prestigious Atlantic Cat 250, and traveled over a thousand miles to compete in the 2016 Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. A Business Administration student at the Maritime Business Academy, Butcher will defend his Maritime title in 2017, run select PASS North races as his schedule allows, and make a return trip to Pensacola in December. Butcher and his family are very active with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, having granted wishes to more than 15 children and raising more than $200,000 for the program.

CODY HASKINS, 25, MARIETTA, GEORGIA

A 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist, Cody Haskins makes his return to the program with new race cars, an expanded schedule, and something to prove. At the end of the 2016 season, Haskins liquidated his racing inventory, ended his season earlier than expected and started from scratch preparing for 2017. The new cars paid off as Haskins swept the season opening doubleheader at Greenville-Pickens (South Carolina) Speedway earlier in March. A vice president at KRC Power Steering Components, Haskins will branch out this season, running the full CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car schedule, select NWAAS races in South Carolina and hopes to return to super late model racing later in the year.

JUSTIN MONDEIK, 20, GLEASON, WISCONSIN

Hailing from Northern Wisconsin, Justin Mondeik has made a name for himself running the tracks that used to make up the ultra-competitive Central Wisconsin Racing Association (CWRA), winning Rookie of the Year at State Park, Golden Sands, and Marshfield Speedways in 2016. He branched out into ARCA Midwest Tour competition for the first time, finishing 8th in his first race at State Park, where he was a track champion in 2015. For 2017, Mondeik plans to race nearly 40 times, tackling the full ARCA Midwest Tour & TUNDRA Series schedules and other special events as his time allows. This fall, he will enter Michigan Tech University and begin working toward his Mechanical Engineering degree.

MICHAEL OSTDIEK, 19, LAKEVILLE, MINNESOTA

The third-place finisher in the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program, Iowa State University sophomore Michael Ostdiek became a force to be reckoned with throughout the Midwest. A winner in both Elko (Minnesota) Speedway super late model and Big 8 Series competition, Ostdiek and his family-owned team will run the full 2017 ARCA Midwest Tour schedule and selected Big 8 races & local races at his home track at Elko. A Marketing and Management major, Ostidek comes from a racing family.  His grandfather, John, once owned Elko Speedway and Raceway Park in Minnesota.  Michael started his own driver mentorship program in 2016, assisting young quarter midget racers.

JOHN PETERS, 20, WESTBROOK, MAINE

After just missing the cut for the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program, Maine’s John Peters will compete for the Kulwicki Cup in 2017. A regular competitor at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine, Peters will expand his schedule this year, tackling several PASS North and Granite State Pro Stock Series races. Peters picked up his first late model victory at Beech Ridge in 2016, and finished in 8th position in the season point standings. A Business Administration student at Southern New Hampshire University, Peters is a sponsorship-generating and marketing machine, securing funding for his own team, while also developing social media and marketing strategies for his competitors. Like all KDDP competitors, Peters is very involved in his local community, working to raise money for breast cancer research, a local food bank, and the March of Dimes, among other causes.

BRETT YACKEY, 17, GREELEY, COLORADO

The youngest competitor in the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program, Colorado’s Brett Yackey is coming off a season that saw him win a title at his home track (Colorado National Speedway) and earn the 2016 NWAAS Colorado State Rookie of the Year. The son of perennial race winner and track champion, Bruce Yackey, Brett will step up to compete in super late model competition full time in 2017, running at both Colorado National Speedway and I-25 Speedway in Pubelo, Colorado.  A high school junior, Brett has been giving back to his community since a young age, raising money for Brent’s Place, a local charity, and visiting patients at the Denver Children’s Hospital.

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SEMIFINALISTS FOR 2017 KDDP LINEUP ANNOUNCED
-Team of Seven Kulwicki Development Drivers Will Come from This Group of 15 Contenders-

CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 21, 2017) – After several weeks of reviewing an impressive group of applicants for the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP), the organization’s advisory board has chosen 15 semifinalists.  These drivers will now participate in interview sessions, culminating with the selection of a seven-driver roster that will represent the KDDP this season and compete for the prestigious annual Kulwicki Cup.

The seven selected drivers will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses.  The organization will work to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season as they compete for the “grand prize.”  The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy.  Seymour, Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski was the 2015 Kulwicki Cup winner during the inaugural year for the program and Lomira, Wisconsin’s Alex Prunty claimed the 2016 title.

“The process to select our 2017 KDDP driver lineup has already required some extremely difficult choices by our board members,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts.  “There were more than 25 different drivers who received votes during the initial round of judging and the board did a fantastic job in narrowing it down to 15 semifinalists.  They certainly face an incredible task in selecting just seven drivers out of this group to carry the KDDP colors and compete for the Kulwicki Cup this season.

“A fact that the board members agreed on after reviewing all the applications was that asphalt short-track late model racing has a very healthy future,” said Roberts.  “There were many drivers not selected who will definitely be qualified candidates for our program in the next few seasons.  The top-15 this year range in age from 16 to 25 and the average age is 20.3 years.  We had numerous applicants who were 16 or younger.  We urge them all to get another year of experience under their belts and apply again for our 2018 program next December.”

The 15 KDDP semifinalists for 2017 include, in alphabetical order:

WYATT ALEXANDER, 17, ELLSWORTH, MAINE

2016 - Winner, Dave Farrington, Jr. Scholarship in Honor of Alan Kulwicki (given to HS student with plans on studying engineering in college)

2015 - Boss Hogg 100 feature winner at Wiscasset (ME) Speedway

 

BRAISON BENNETT, 21, NEENAH, WISCONSIN

2016 - TUNDRA Series - Rookie of the Year

2016 - Wisconsin International Raceway - late model series champion

2016 - Wisconsin International Raceway - Red, White, and Blue late model series champion

2015 - Golden Sands (WI) Speedway - SLM Rookie of the Year

 

JESSE BERNHAGEN, 23, MARKESAN, WISCONSIN

2016 - 5 late model feature wins, including multiple wins at Dells (WI) Raceway Park

 

COLE BUTCHER, 18, PORTER’S LAKE, NOVA SCOTIA

2016 - Maritime Pro Stock Series - season champion, 3 feature wins

2016 - Atlantic Cat 250 feature winner at Scotia Speedworld

 

JUSTIN CARROLL, 20, CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA

2016 - Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway - back-to-back LMSC feature wins

 

DEREK GRIFFITH, 20, HUDSON, NEW HAMPSHIRE

2016 - Pro All Stars (PASS) North Series - 7th place, 1 feature win, 4 top fives

2016 - Oktoberfest feature winner at Lee USA (NH) Speedway

2016 - DAV Fall Classic feature winner at Seekonk (NH) Speedway

 

CODY HASKINS, 25, MARIETTA, GEORGIA

2016 - Kulwicki Driver Development Program Finalist - 6th place

2016 - 11 top fives in NWAAS Late Model Stock Car series

 

ANDY JONES, 23, GURNEE, ILLINOIS

3 career Midwest Truck Series feature wins

Multiple-time Legends Car champion at Grundy County (IL) Speedway and Madison (WI) International Speedway

 

JUSTIN MONDEIK, 20, GLEASON, WISCONSIN

2016 - Golden Sands (WI) Speedway, Marshfield (WI) Super Speedway, and State Park (WI) Speedway - SLM Rookie of the Year

2015 - State Park (WI) Speedway - late model track champion

 

HALEY MOODY, 22, KINSTON, NORTH CAROLINA

2015 - NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver of the Year

2014 - Southern National (NC) Motorsports Park - late model track champion and ROY

 

AUSTIN NASON, 21, ROSCOE, ILLINOIS

2016 - ARCA Midwest Tour - 8th place

2016 - Kulwicki Driver Development Program Semi-Finalist

2015 - ARCA Midwest Tour - 4th place, Rookie of the Year

 

MICHAEL OSTDIEK, 19, LAKEVILLE, MINNESOTA

2016 - Kulwicki Driver Development Program Finalist - 3rd place

2016 - Big 8 Series - 2nd place, 1 feature win

2016 - NWAAS Division II - 3rd place; 4 feature wins at Elko (MN) Speedway

 

JOHN PETERS, 20, WESTBROOK, MAINE

2016 - Beech Ridge (ME) Motor Speedway - 8th place, 1 feature win

2016 - Kulwicki Driver Development Program Semi-Finalist

 

LOGAN RUNYON, 20, CAMBRIDGE, OHIO

2016 - Columbus (OH) Motor Speedway - 4th place, Most Improved Driver

 

BRETT YACKEY, 16, GREELEY, COLORADO

2016 - Colorado National Speedway late model track champion

2016 - Colorado State Rookie of the Year, NWAAS Division 1

The interviewing process of these drivers will occur during the next few weeks.  After a final review and vote by the advisory board, the 2017 KDDP team of seven drivers is expected to be announced on Monday, March 20.  The competition for the 2017 Kulwicki Cup begins on April 1 and runs through October 31.

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For additional information on the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, please visit the official website at www.kulwickiddp.com . Catch us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/KDDP/435099609983775?ref=hl and follow us on Twitter at @KulwickiDDP.

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ALEX PRUNTY CLAIMS 2016 “KULWICKI CUP” CHAMPIONSHIP
-Rising Wisconsin Racing Star Outpoints Maine’s Farrington by Slimmest of Margins-

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 23, 2016) – Alex Prunty, a 24-year-old rising racing star from Lomira, Wisconsin, has won the 2016 “Kulwicki Cup” Championship, officials for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today.  Prunty won the title by eight points (533-525) over New England standout Dave Farrington, Jr., from Jay, Maine.

            “I applaud our advisory board for the outstanding job they did in evaluating the seven drivers and want to say a special thanks to last year’s inaugural champion Ty Majeski for also taking part in the process,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts.  “The battle for this year’s Kulwicki Cup title was as exciting and intense as it could be.  Unlike last season when our champion (Majeski) had such a spectacular fall that he distanced himself from the competition, this contest was incredibly close and went down to the wire.

            “The final point standings certainly reflect the importance of everything that goes into winning our prestigious award.  It’s not just what you do on the race track that counts.  Our mission is to help worthy drivers toward reaching their dreams while at the same time keeping Alan Kulwicki’s memory and legacy alive.  I think our board and Ty did an excellent job in keeping that goal paramount in this undertaking.

            “The board members and Ty were superb in completing their assignment,” said Roberts.  “They considered each driver’s on-track accomplishments and continued to place great value on community involvement, off-track projects and social media activities.  They awarded bonus points for drivers going the extra mile in representing our organization.”

The final 2016 KDDP “Kulwicki Cup” point standings:

1) – Alex Prunty – 533

2) – Dave Farrington Jr. – 525

3) – Michael Ostdiek -- 496

4) – Jeremy Doss – 488

5) – Brandon Setzer – 246

6) – Cody Haskins – 204

7) – Quin Houff – 175

            “While Alex held a considerable points lead for the most of the season, Dave was relentless in his efforts on and off the track,” said Roberts.  “Both drivers faced some of the toughest competition out there on a weekly basis.  In the end, it was the overall judging & bonus points that gave Alex the edge.  They truly are both championship-caliber competitors.”

Prunty moved up to Super Late Models for the 2016 season and won races at Slinger Speedway and at Dells Raceway Park.  He earned Rookie of the Year honors at Slinger and finished third in the track’s SLM division points for the year.  He was lauded during the judging process for his off-track activities including starting the Alan Kulwicki Memorial Go-Kart Program for young racers and constantly spreading the Kulwicki theme to schools, libraries and businesses in the area.  He received national attention for the Alan Kulwicki memorial helmet he debuted at the Slinger Nationals and wore much of the season.  He was a social media savant; constantly posting about his racing, his numerous off-track activities and the KDDP program in general.  He shared a tremendous communication level with all the other drivers.

            Farrington, the only driver to be a member of both KDDP classes, posted five wins and 18 top-five finishes during the competition, including his first career victories at his home track, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.  He carried the Kulwicki colors in a remarkable 38 races at 10 tracks in four states.  Farrington received special accolades from the voting panel for his off-track activities that included starting the Dave Farrington Jr. Scholarship Fund given to a deserving high school student, visiting hospitals and contributing his time to numerous community activities.  He ran several special color schemes during the season, featuring tributes to Kulwicki and Dennis Czarnyszka, a board member who passed away in June.  He even changed his car number to “7” (Kulwicki’s number) for the final races of the season.  Farrington also received praise for his social media activities during the year.

            “Although the contest for the Kulwicki Cup ultimately came down to the battle between Alex and Dave, Michael Ostdiek and Jeremy Doss are to be commended for hanging in there and making the points situation interesting until the very end,” said Roberts.  “Those two drivers both earned more on-track points than the others and their off-track activities were duly noted by the voters.  Brandon Setzer came on strong at the end on and off the track.  He was moving up in the standings and his community service work was impressive.  Cody Haskins and Quin Houff both started strong in every aspect, but equipment failures and issues out of their control took their toll before the season ended.

 “Alan would have been so proud of all of these racers,” said Roberts.  “When you look back on the season, each of them certainly benefitted from our support and progressed in some unique fashion during the year.  They were great representatives for the KDDP and we will forever appreciate their efforts.  They are all special young competitors who have promising careers in racing if given the right opportunities.”

Prunty and the other six members of the 2016 KDDP class will be honored during the organization’s banquet set for Wednesday, Dec. 14 in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Highlighting the activities for the evening (which would have been Alan Kulwicki’s 62nd birthday) will be the presentation of the winner’s check for $54,439 and the special KDDP Kulwicki Cup Champion’s trophy to Prunty.  The event will feature a live online broadcast by Speed51.com, the official media partner of the KDDP.

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2017 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM APPLICATION

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Established in 2015 by the family of 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Alan Kulwicki, the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) is the premier short track driver development program for pro and super late model drivers in North America. The role of the KDDP is to help worthy drivers achieve their dreams, while at the same time keeping alive the legacy of Alan Kulwicki. The program will provide assistance to up-and-coming racers in several ways. A one-time stipend will provide financial support in covering operational expenses, transportation costs, entry fees, development of promotional and marketing materials, and assistance with necessary equipment. Staff and friends of the KDDP will assist participants in areas such as sponsorship development; publicity, marketing, and social media; business education; and industry networking and relationship building.

Seven drivers will be selected to participate in the season-long race for the 2017 Kulwicki Cup. Each driver will receive a $7,777 stipend at the beginning of the season, and will compete against one another for the $54,439 grand prize and a coveted, one-of-a-kind trophy. Drivers are required to compete in a MINIMUM of fifteen races over the course of the season. Program participants will be judged on race results, off-track civic participation, program promotion, fan interaction, and stewardship for Alan's story

DownLoad Application

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FARRINGTON & SETZER LOOKING TO END CAMPAIGNS ON HIGH NOTE
-KDDP Competitors Hoping To Turn Heads at Seekonk & Hickory Speedways This Weekend-

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 27, 2016) -- With just one weekend remaining in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program “Kulwicki Cup” competition, drivers at opposite ends of the standings are looking for a strong finish to the 2016 season.

Jay, Maine’s Dave Farrington, Jr. has been on an absolute tear over the past couple of weeks, racing six times since October 7 and picking up two valuable wins. Shortly after the September judging cycle for the KDDP program had ended, Farrington picked up a win at Wiscasset Speedway.  He followed it up with another victory at the Maine short track on October 8.

Farrington raced three times during the weekend of October 14, including two trips to Unity Speedway and a strong top-10 at Oxford Plains Speedway. This past weekend, Farrington came from the rear of the field to take the victory in the 75-lap Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) feature at the Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut.

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ALEX PRUNTY CONTINUES TO LEAD “KULWICKI CUP” POINT STANDINGS
-Farrington Second; Ostdiek on the Move; Doss in Position to Leap; 2016 Battle Far From Being Over-

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 30, 2016) – Alex Prunty’s incredible rookie season in Super Late Models sees him continue to lead in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) “Kulwicki Cup” point standings.  The 23-year-old Lomira, Wisconsin driver has won SLM features on his home track at Slinger and at the Dells Raceway Park.  Prunty has scored more than 15 top-five finishes, including seven second-place finishes.  He was a legitimate challenger for the Slinger Speedway SLM championship, finishing a strong third in the points.

            With the month of October remaining to decide the 2016 “Kulwicki Cup” champion, Prunty holds the lead over Jay, Maine’s Dave Farrington Jr., with rising racing star Michael Ostdiek and West Coast hot shoe Jeremy Doss in hot pursuit.

            “Alex has had an impressive season for a rookie driver in Super Late Model racing against some of the toughest competition out there,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts.  “Dave picked up his first career wins at Beech Ridge this season and challenged for the track championship all season long before finishing third in points.  Michael has really come on strong and is turning heads on a weekly basis now.  Jeremy won the prestigious Montana 200 and is positioned to make a strong run to the finish in his attempt to win our program’s championship.

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HOUFF & SETZER LOOKING FOR 2016 TURNAROUND AT CONCORD
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Competitors Ready for Saturday’s CARS Tour Battle-

CONCORD, N.C. (August 25, 2016) – Heading into this weekend’s CARS Tour Lead 2 Real Estate Group 200 at Concord Speedway, Virginia’s Quin Houff and North Carolina’s Brandon Setzer are both looking for a 2016 turnaround. Entering the season, both drivers were seen as top contenders for the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) championship, but the dark clouds of bad luck have followed these young drivers most of the season, putting them well behind in the annual Kulwicki Cup standings.

Houff, who drives a house car for LFR Chassis, started off the season strong with a victory in the CARS Tour lid lifter at Southern National Motorsports Park in April. Since then, though, the young driver has struggled with mechanical troubles and has had a hard time finishing races. “We have really had an up and down year,” said Houff.  “We got that early win, and felt really good about where we were, but ever since the Nashville Southern Super Series race, the car just hadn’t been the same.”

Link

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DAVE FARRINGTON JR. PREPARING FOR BIG WEEKEND AT BEECH RIDGE
-Maine’s KDDP Driver ‘Double-Dipping;’ Racing in Both ACT 100-Lap Feature & 40-Lap Pro Series Battle-

CONCORD, N.C. (August 1, 2016) – On a normal Monday, Dave Farrington Jr. could be found pulling a 12-hour shift at General Dynamic’s Bath Iron Works shipyard located on the Kennebec River in Bath, Maine.  But this is no typical Monday.  Instead, Farrington is taking a day off from his position as an area supervisor building United States Navy warships and can be found in his race shop located 65 miles away.

            “It’s one of the biggest racing weekends of the year coming up at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway and we’re determined to be as prepared as we possibly can,” said Farrington, the only driver to be part of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) for both seasons that it has been in existence.  “It’s our goal to win both our 40-lap NASCAR Pro Series feature and the 100-lapper for the American-Canadian Tour there on Saturday night.  It’ll be a huge challenge, but we will be ready and are really looking forward to it.”

            In order to accomplish his goal, Farrington is busy preparing two different race cars for Saturday’s action on the 1/3-mile asphalt oval located in Scarborough, Maine.  With all of the prep work between now and Saturday done by just Dave and his father, it is quite amazing to consider the schedules the Farringtons face between now and then.

 

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“ONE MAN BAND” HASKINS SEEKS STRONG FINISH TO 2016 SEASON
-Georgia’s Determined KDDP Representative Epitomizes Doing Things the “Alan Kulwicki Way”-

Cody HaskinsCONCORD, N.C. (July 29, 2016) – At only 24 years of age, Georgia's Cody Haskins has achieved some remarkable things in both his racing career and his professional life. By day, he serves as a Vice President at KRC Power Steering Pumps, consulting with some of NASCAR's finest engineers on a daily basis.  By night, you will find Haskins in his race shop in Dawsonville.  Just like his peers, he can be found testing shocks, working on the motor and cleaning parts, getting ready for the weekend's events at his three main race tracks; Anderson, Greenville-Pickens or Myrtle Beach.

But what distinguishes Haskins from other racers is that many nights he is all alone in the shop. In fact, even at the race track, aside from his spotter and sisters Madison and Blakely Sheriff, who take care of his social media and PR, Haskins is the only one that touches his two race cars. "Ever since I started, I've owned my cars, paid for them, and drove them,” said Haskins.  “It's all my responsibility.  Last year we ran great, so it was easy.  But this year, it's been a struggle, so we're chasing right now.  But it's going to turn around; we’re confident of that."

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ALEX PRUNTY LEADS FIRST 2016 “KULWICKI CUP” POINT STANDINGS
-KDDP Board Notes Importance of Competition Level, Social Media Skills & Community Involvement-

CONCORD, N.C. (July 8, 2016) – In somewhat of a surprise, the early leader in the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program’s “Kulwicki Cup” point standings has yet to win a race this season.  In the organization’s initial evaluation, which considered the seven drivers’ on and off-track performances from April 1 through June 30, Wisconsin’s Alex Prunty holds a slim 12 point lead over Maine’s Dave Farrington Jr.  California driver Jeremy Doss is in third and closing the gap.

            The early standings look like this:

1) – Alex Prunty – 463

2) – Dave Farrington Jr. – 451

3) – Jeremy Doss – 411

4) – Quin Houff – 319

5) – Michael Ostdiek – 280

6) – Cody Haskins – 269

7) – Brandon Setzer – 148

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TIGHT COMPETITION EVIDENT IN BATTLE FOR 2016 KULWICKI CUP
-Seven Drivers Competing for Prestigious Award; First KDDP Points Update Slated for July 6-

CONCORD, N.C. (June 23, 2016) – Heading into the final weekend of June, the seven Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) drivers are embroiled in a tight competition for the top spot in the first point standings of the season, set to be released on July 6.

 In 2015, eventual Kulwicki Cup champion Ty Majeski led the standings from wire-to-wire, chalking up a remarkable 19 wins during the KDDP competition. Behind him, though, drivers like Steve Apel, Cole Williams, and Reagan May racked up multiple wins and top-five finishes, keeping the points chase close until Majeski went on a hot streak late in the season.

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SETZER LOOKS TO RETURN TO FORM AT TRI-COUNTY SPEEDWAY
-One of Hottest Young SLM Drivers in 2015; Second-Generation Driver Ready to Roll-

CONCORD, N.C. (June 10, 2016) – At the close of 2015, Newton, North Carolina’s Brandon Setzer was one of the hottest super late model drivers in the country. Coming off a CARS Tour season that saw him win two races and pick up both the Mason Dixon Meltdown at Hickory Speedway and Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park in November, Setzer had his hopes set high as the calendar turned to 2016.

An early season accident at Speedfest in January, though, turned out to be a significant setback for the team owned by his father, former NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series standout Dennis Setzer. 

“We had a great run going and got into a wreck racing for the lead after a restart,” Setzer said.  “Even after we replaced the front and rear clips, the car just has not been as good as it was last year.  You know, these things are so sensitive: a tube could be flexing more, not as much -- you just never know. But, we have had a strong couple tests since the last CARS race and we are in good shape headed into the weekend back at Tri-County.”

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FARRINGTON HUNGRY FOR MORE AFTER FIRST BEECH RIDGE VICTORY
-Former Track & Maine State NASCAR Champion Thinks Best Is Yet To Come In 2016 Season-

CONCORD, N.C. (June 9, 2016) – Dave Farrington Jr. ran his first NASCAR Whelen All American Series race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway back in May of 2010.  Some 35 Pro Series features later, Farrington was finally able to take his bright orange family-owned No. 23 Ford Fusion to Victory Lane last Saturday night at the 1/3-mile track in Scarborough, Maine.

            “It was an emotional win for sure,” said Farrington, the only driver to be part of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) for both seasons that it has been in existence.  “We’ve been so close for so many times during the last five years and that certainly made our breakthrough victory so special.  Plus having all our great sponsors and the KDDP riding along with us added to the significance of what happened Saturday night.

            “After the big win, somebody asked me how many races we’d finished as runner-up at Beech Ridge.  I could only say ‘far too many.’  We won the track championship back in 2014 without winning a race, but we finished second in four races there that year. 

STORY

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JEREMY DOSS ENJOYING EARLY 2016 SEASON SUCCESS
-Promising Young California Driver Has Momentum Heading Into Stockton 99 PCS Battle-

CONCORD, N.C. (May 18, 2016) – Upper Lake, California’s Jeremy Doss has been on a roll so far during the early part of the 2016 racing season.  The popular and promising 19-year-old driver has already scored two wins and three top-five finishes this year.  He is quickly establishing himself as the next big racing star to come out of the West.

Driving the family-owned Earnest Performance-S&S Sports Enterprises-Pathfinder Chassis Ford Fusion, Doss scored a convincing win in the last Pacific Challenge Series (PCS) race at Ukiah Speedway on May 8 and won the feature event at Rocky Mountain Raceway in Utah on May 14.

“We’ve had a great start to the season so far,” said Doss, who began his career winning races and championships in Legends cars at Ukiah.  “We were really competitive in the Winter Showdown at Kern County (finished third) and have carried that momentum through April and May.”

For Doss, the win at his Ukiah home track held special meaning. “It’s always great to win in front of family, friends, and your fans. They support us no matter what,” said Doss, the all-time winningest driver in PCS history (17 features).

After three of the scheduled 13 PCS races have been put into the record book, Doss holds a slim two-point lead over his JD Motorsports teammate Jeff Bischofberger.  The former Spears Southwest Tour Rookie-of-the-Year senses that the PCS is definitely on the rise. “We were excited to join back up with the PCS this year,” said Doss.  “There are several good cars at each show, there isn’t a ton of travel and the tire rules (one set of American Racers per race) are really favorable.  As time goes by, I think we will see even more cars join the tour.”

Story

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“KULWICKI KID” HEADED TO HAWKEYE DOWNS THIS WEEKEND
-Michael Ostdiek Enjoying Distinction of Being One of the Seven KDDP Drivers for 2016-

CONCORD, N.C. (May 5, 2016) – Michael Ostdiek completed his last final exam for the semester at Iowa State University on Tuesday.  He now can place his full focus on his budding career as a stock car driver until classes begin again in late August.

            “I’ve officially finished my freshman year at Iowa State and we’re ready to really get after it,” said the 18-year-old driver from Lakeville, Minnesota.  “First up on our schedule now is heading down to Cedar Rapids for the season-opener at Hawkeye Downs on Saturday afternoon.  It’s just a regular show for their late models, but we’re looking to use it in preparation for when the Big 8 Series heads back there in a few weeks (for the June 3 ‘Clash at the Downs’).”

            In his only start so far this season, Ostdiek qualified fifth (of 30 cars) and finished sixth in the April 17 Spring Classic Big-8 Late Model battle at Rockford Speedway.

            “It was only two weeks after we learned we had been added to the KDDP (Kulwicki Driver Development Program) roster and we hoped to have a good run wearing their decals and patches for the first time,” said Ostdiek.  “When you consider that our power steering went out early in the feature and we held on to finish sixth, it was a pretty solid showing.  It was my best finish in three races there.

Story

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THE 2016 KDDP SEASON BEGINS WITH A BIG BANG
-Houff, Haskins & Doss Already Turning Heads Early; Looking For More Success This Weekend-

CONCORD, N.C. (April 8, 2016) -- The 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program started off strong with a resounding victory by Mount Sidney, Virginia’s Quin Houff in the CARS Tour opener at Southern National Motorsports Park in North Carolina. Houff and two of his fellow 2016 KDDP competitors -- Marietta, Georgia’s Cody Haskins and Upper Lake, California’s Jeremy Doss, will take to the track this weekend as this season’s action begins to heat up.

Houff, who won the CARS Tour race at Tri-County (N.C.) Speedway last season, started third and dominated the 150-LAP super late model feature this past Sunday at SNMP.  He edged out 2016 KDDP semifinalist and 2015 CARS Tour SLM Champion Cole Timm for the victory. For Houff, the win was a long time coming for his LFR Chassis team and the early season success has the #beatincancerwithduke driver looking for many more wins.

Story

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MICHAEL OSTDIEK ADDED TO 2016 KULWICKI DEVELOPMENT ROSTER
-18-Year-Old Hard-Charging Racer & Iowa State Student Says Opportunity Is “Dream Come True”-

CONCORD, N.C. (April 4, 2016) – Michael Ostdiek, a promising 18-year-old driver from Lakeville, Minnesota, has been added to the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) roster.  Ostdiek, a freshman at Iowa State University who plans on majoring in engineering or marketing, was ecstatic when he received the news over the weekend.

            “Being named a member of the KDDP team and participating in their program is a dream come true for my team and me personally,” said Ostdiek, the former Great North Legends champion, Elko (Minn.) Speedway Driver of the Year and 2015 NASCAR Whelen All American Series Minnesota Rookie of the Year.  “I am so excited to get this opportunity and what it means to us will make a major difference in our plans for this season.

            “With the KDDP support, we’ll be adding several more races to our schedule this year,” Ostdiek said.  “We’ll be running all the Big 8 Series races and now we’ll be able to add more TUNDRA events and travel to more of the ARCA Midwest Tour races.  This will also now allow us to make it over to WIR (Wisconsin International Raceway near Kaukauna, Wisconsin) and compete in the Red, White and Blue Series beginning in June.

            “One of the biggest aspects of the program that I know we will benefit from will come from the marketing and PR standpoint,” said Ostdiek.  “There are still so many race fans out there who do not know who we are and what we are all about.  Until now, what publicity we have gotten has come from whatever my family could generate.  I have been pretty active on social media over the last few years, but the support from the KDDP will definitely work in our favor.

            “With my family’s background in auto racing (grandfather John Ostdiek owned Elko Speedway and Raceway Park in Minnesota for several years beginning in 1976), I have always been a big student of racing history, especially in the Midwest,” Ostdiek added.  “I was just an infant when my parents brought me to the race track for the first time.  My dad (Dan) was a huge fan of Alan and that ZEREX color scheme he ran was one of his favorites.

            “It’s a true honor to get this opportunity to be one of the KDDP drivers,” said Ostdiek.  “I can’t wait to get the decals put on the car and patches put on my uniform.  I was already optimistic about having a good season this year, but now I’m thinking we can have a great year out there.”

Story

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2016 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM LINEUP ANNOUNCED
-Team Of Seven KDDP Drivers Racing From Coast To Coast In Representing 1992 NASCAR Champ-

CONCORD, N.C. (March 17, 2016) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the 2016 racing season.  The seven drivers hail from six states spread from coast to coast.  They range from 18 to 24 years in age.

The seven drivers, in alphabetical order, are: Story

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SEMIFINALISTS COMPETING FOR 2016 KDDP LINEUP ANNOUNCED
-Team Of Seven Kulwicki Development Drivers Will Come from This Group Of 17 Contenders-

CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 17, 2016) – An incredibly impressive number of applicants for the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) has been reduced to 17 semifinalists, officials of the organization announced today.  These drivers will now participate in interviews with the program’s advisory board members and seven competitors will be chosen from the group to represent the KDDP this season.

The seven selected drivers will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses.  The organization will work to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season as they compete for the “grand prize.”  The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special trophy.  Seymour, Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski was the 2015 Kulwicki Cup winner during the inaugural year for the program.

“This is a true statement as to the quality of applicants we received this time around,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts.  “Our original goal was to pare the group down to 14 semifinalists, but after multiple votes and tiebreakers the field was narrowed down to 17 drivers. 

“I applaud the tremendous job our board members have done so far in this process,” said Roberts.  “I personally do not have a vote, but I challenged myself to select 14 drivers out of all the applications we received.  I could not do it because I honestly felt like there were more than 30 qualified and deserving drivers who applied for our program.

“Competitors from eight states stretching from Maine to California are represented in the group selected by our board,” Roberts added.  “There is so much depth in talent among these drivers.  The group contains accomplished veterans, track champions and several promising young drivers who could be on the cusp of having breakout racing seasons this year.  The board will face a monumental task in selecting our seven-member 2016 KDDP class from this group, but we are eager to get that process under way next week.”

The 17 KDDP semifinalists for 2016 include, in alphabetical order:

Justin Crider, 19, Statesville, N.C.
2 Top-5s in CARS Tour LMSC series; 2015 Kulwicki Driver Development Program participant

Natalie Decker, 18, Eagle River, Wis.
2015 NASCAR D4D participant

Jeremy Doss, 19, Upper Lake, Calif.
7 super late model victories in 2015

Dave Farrington, Jr., 24, Jay, Maine
2014 NWAAS Maine State Champion; 2015 Kulwicki Driver Development Program participant

Jared Fryar, 21, Trinity, N.C.
1 SLM victory at Central Texas Speedway in 2015

Garrett Hall, 21, Scarborough, Maine
2015 runner-up at Beech Ridge (ME) Motor Speedway

Cody Haskins, 24, Marietta, Ga.
2015 Rupert Porter Memorial 100 winner at Anderson (SC) Speedway

Quin Houff, 18, Mount Sidney, Va.
1 CARS Tour Super Late Model feature victory

Jordan Ives, 17, Gladstone, Mich.
3 LM feature wins at Norway (MI) Speedway in 2015

Bobby Kendall, 20, Montello, Wis.
2014 Fast Dash Champion at Dells Raceway Park

Reagan May, 22, DePere, Wis.
6 LM feature wins in 2015; 2015 Kulwicki Driver Development Program participant

Austin Nason, 20, Roscoe, Wis.
8 LM feature wins in 2015; 2015 ARCA Midwest Tour Rookie of the Year

Michael Ostdiek, 18, Lakeville, Minn.
2015 NWAAS Minnesota State Rookie of the Year

John Peters, 18, Westbrook, Maine
1 LM win at Wiscasset (ME) Speedway

Alex Prunty, 23, Lomira, Wis.
2015 Slinger Speedway LM Champion; 2015 Dells Raceway Park SLM Rookie of the Year

Brandon Setzer, 22, Newton, N.C.
2 CARS Tour Super Late Model feature victories

Cole Timm, 17, Mooresville, N.C.
2015 CARS Tour Super Late Model Series Champion

The interviewing process is being scheduled for the next two weeks.  After a final vote by the seven-member advisory board, the 2016 KDDP team of seven drivers is expected to be announced on March 11.

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RACING LEGEND RUSTY WALLACE FEATURED SPEAKER AT KDDP BANQUET
-NASCAR Hall-Of-Famer Was Close Friend Of Alan Kulwicki; Is Inspiration To Young Competitors-

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 25, 2015) – NASCAR Champion and Hall-of-Famer Rusty Wallace will serve as the featured speaker at the inaugural Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) banquet on Dec. 14.  The first-year organization’s celebration event will be held in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

            “We are thrilled to have Rusty as our featured speaker at the inaugural KDDP banquet,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts.  “His close friendship with Alan back in the day and his connection with what our program is all about made him such a perfect fit for our occasion.  We are so appreciative that he was able to work it into his busy schedule and join us there for our special occasion.”

            “When I learned all the background about the KDDP and what the organization does for young racers out there, I said I’d be thrilled to be there,” said Wallace, who won 55 NASCAR Sprint Cup races and claimed the 1989 premier series points championship during his illustrious racing career.  “It will be a fun night at the Speedway Club meeting and chatting with the class of seven drivers who represented the KDDP this season. 

Story

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TY MAJESKI CLAIMS 2015 INAUGURAL KULWICKI CUP CHAMPIONSHIP
-Rising Racing Superstar Has Incredible Season; Impressive On & Off Track Representing KDDP-

Ty Majeski Cup

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 18, 2015) – Ty Majeski’s incredible 2015 racing season will reach a peak on Dec. 14 when he is crowned the inaugural Kulwicki Cup Champion.  Majeski and the other six members of the first-ever class of Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) drivers will be honored on that night next month at the organization’s banquet in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Highlighting the evening’s activities will be the presentation of the champion’s check for $54,439 and special one-of-a-kind champion’s trophy to Majeski.

Story

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SEVEN QUESTIONS WITH TY MAJESKI, KULWICKI CUP CHAMPION
-Inaugural 2015 KDDP Champion Cites Program for Pushing Him to Excel & Succeed-

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 18, 2015) – Ty Majeski, a rising 21-year-old racing star from Seymour, Wisconsin, has won the inaugural Kulwicki Cup for his performance during in 2015.  Majeski reflected on his racing season and what it was like to be among the first class of seven drivers to represent the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) and participate in the season-long competition: (Note: Responses are exactly as given and not altered in any manner.)

Story

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2016 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM APPLICATION AVAILABLE
-Seven Drivers Will Be Selected To Compete For 2016 Kulwicki Cup; Download Application Online-

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 14, 2015) – The official application for the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) is now available online and by request.

As was the case with the incredibly successful 2015 inaugural year for the program, seven drivers will be selected to participate in the KDDP class of 2016.  Chosen by the organization’s seven-member advisory board, each driver will receive a $7,777 stipend at the beginning of the season. 

Then, those drivers will compete against one another for the annual Kulwicki Cup award.  The overall winner receives a $54,439 grand prize (7 X $7,777) and a coveted, one-of-a-kind trophy.

Drivers are required to compete in a MINIMUM of fifteen races over the course of the season. Program participants will be judged on race results, off-track civic participation, program promotion, fan interaction, and stewardship for Alan’s story

Established in 2015 by the family of 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Alan Kulwicki, the Kulwicki Driver Development Program is the premier short track driver development program for pro and super late model drivers in North America. The role of the KDDP is to help worthy drivers achieve their dreams, while at the same time keeping alive the legacy of Alan Kulwicki. The program will provide assistance to up-and-coming racers in several ways. A one-time stipend will provide financial support in covering operational expenses, transportation costs, entry fees, development of promotional and marketing materials, and assistance with necessary equipment. Staff and friends of the KDDP will assist participants in areas such as sponsorship development; publicity, marketing, and social media; business education; and industry networking and relationship building.

“We are awaiting the final voting results to determine our inaugural 2015 Kulwicki Cup champ and are looking forward to our KDDP banquet in Charlotte next month, but the 2016 season is just around the corner,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts.  “We’re making the 2016 application available now in order to give everyone adequate time to get them submitted by our Dec. 31 deadline.”

The final 2015 Kulwicki Cup point standings will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 18 on Speed51.com, the official media partner of the KDDP.  The champion and all members of the inaugural 2015 class will be recognized at the KDDP banquet set for Dec. 14 in The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  The event will feature a live online broadcast by Speed51 TV.

To complete the 2016 KDDP application, please follow this link and complete . This is the prefered method: docs at Google Applications can also be requested by mail at KDDP, P.O. Box 1020, Guntersville, AL  35976.  Copies of the application will also be available during the upcoming annual Snowball Derby weekend at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.

Read More

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THELMA KULWICKI MOURNED BY RACERS, FRIENDS & CONSTITUENTS
-Family Matriarch Remembered For Her Kindness, Generosity & Determination- 

MILWAUKEE (Oct. 20, 2015) – Thelma Kulwicki was laid to rest yesterday at St. Adalbert's Cemetery in Milwaukee.  Fittingly, her grave is directly beside husband Gerald’s, who passed away in 2008.  A stone’s throw across the massive neatly-kept graveyard lays the final resting place of her stepson Alan, the 1992 NASCAR Champion.

Mrs. Kulwicki passed away peacefully at her Milwaukee home last Tuesday evening.  She will be forever remembered for her kindness, generosity and determination.

“She was so special and never realized she meant so much to so many people,” said Julie Horanski, who delivered the opening remarks at Mrs. Kulwicki’s memorial service on Monday at St. Matthias Catholic Church.  Horanski dated Alan and accompanied him to the 1992 NASCAR Awards Banquet in New York.  She remained a close family friend after Alan’s untimely death in a plane crash on April 1, 1993.

“Thelma lived a full life during her 89 years here on earth,” added Horanski.  “We certainly mourn her passing, yet we should be happy and celebrate what a wonderful and kind lady she was.  Heaven has added another special angel.”

Mrs. Kulwicki’s love for automobile racing extended far beyond just being a fan who attended races with her husband to cheer her stepson on.  Her charitable endeavors to the sport over the years have included the establishment of engineering scholarships at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Story

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KDDP NAMES SPEED51.COM AS "OFFICIAL MEDIA PARTNER"
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Thrilled To Have Alliance With "Short Track Source" -

Speed51

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 28, 2014) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today that Speed51.com will be the "official media partner" for the organization.

"We are thrilled and excited to have formed this special alliance with Speed51.com," said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. "Speed51.com is the nation's preeminent site for asphalt short track racing. It is the perfect vehicle to help us spread the word as we move forward with our new program."

"We are very honored to be a part of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program," Bob Dillner, Speed51.com owner said. "Alan Kulwicki was a unique individual who did things differently back when he raced and has become a standard that we see in the sport today. We are excited to help promote a program that is helping the next generation of drivers in our sport."

The KDDP was established earlier this year by the family of late NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki. The program's mission is to help worthy drivers along in their careers, while simultaneously keeping Alan's memory and legacy alive. The organization announced earlier this week that seven drivers will be selected to compete for the inaugural "Kulwicki Cup" award during the 2015 racing season.

"When Alan was running the short tracks of the Midwest, we could follow his progress in the racing papers like Midwest Racing News, Checkered Flag Racing News and others," said Roberts. "Those publications were so instrumental in helping get the word out about Alan and so many other young racers back then. The times have changed and taken its toll on print media. That's why Speed51.com has become so important. It has assumed the mantle as the premier news source for short track racing and has carried on the heritage of all those old great racing trade papers.

"Not only do I visit Speed51.com on a regular basis, I have personally been a registered member of the site for quite some time now," said Roberts. "It is truly your one-stop information source for all short track racing news. Their 'Trackside Now' reporting and '51 Live TV' events have taken short track media coverage to a new level.

"Bob Dillner and I have been friends for many years and I have so much respect for what he has done to help keep our sport vibrant during some tough economic times," Roberts added. "Bob and wife Angie have put together an incredible staff of professionals at Speed51 and we are so pleased to have the opportunity to work with them."

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KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM DETAILS ANNOUNCED
-Seven Drivers Will Be Selected To Contend For Inaugural “Kulwicki Cup” During 2015 Season-

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 25, 2014) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced the details of their exciting new program today.  The specifics call for the organization to select seven drivers who will contend for the inaugural “Kulwicki Cup” during the 2015 racing season.

The KDDP was established earlier this year by the family of late NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki.  The organization’s mission is to help worthy drivers along the way in reaching their dream, while at the same time keeping alive Alan’s memory and legacy.

“The operating point for all of our activities will revolve around the number 7,” said Tom Roberts, executive director of the KDDP.  “Not only does every race fan out there associate Alan with that number, it also has incredible significance elsewhere.  In numerology, the number 7 represents the thinker and the seeker.  Those were certainly descriptive of Alan. Many say there is even something spiritual about the number.

“We will be selecting seven drivers from the applications we collect to vie for our inaugural Kulwicki Cup award,” said Roberts.  “Each of the seven drivers will receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 early in the season.  The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times that amount ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439).  There will also be a really cool trophy and special surprises in store for our Kulwicki Cup recipient.

“The financial support we will be offering to the selected drivers will come in handy in covering things like entry fees and operational expenses, but that’s only the beginning,” Roberts explained.  “We will also be assisting those seven drivers in other important aspects in racing such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking.”

The KDDP is a non-profit organization made up of a small staff and management team.  The program has an advisory board comprised of seven members.  The group includes Kulwicki’s former colleagues, members of the racing community and legal, financial and accounting professionals.

“We have an extremely well-rounded team affiliated with the KDDP and our group can offer so much support to aspiring young racers,” said Roberts.  “There are many drivers out there who have the potential to be successful.  It is our mission to be instrumental in helping them achieve their goals.

“It is due to the graciousness and dedication of the Kulwicki Family that the KDDP was founded,” Roberts added.  “We are committed to helping drivers in numerous ways, while at the same time keeping Alan’s dream alive.  We hope to educate many about who Alan was and what he stood for along the way.  It promises to be a fun and rewarding journey.”

          The selection of the seven KDDP drivers will be done via an application basis.  All the applications received will be reviewed by the organization and the seven drivers will be named early next February.  The application form can be downloaded or requested on the official KDDP website (www.KulwickiDDP.com).  The deadline for receiving entries is Friday, Dec. 26, 2014.

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PROGRAM DESCRIPTION/EXECUTION INFORMATION

The Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) has been established by the family of late NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki to help worthy drivers along the way in reaching their dream, while at the same time keeping alive Alan’s memory and legacy.

The program will provide assistance to up-and-coming racers in several different ways. A one-time stipend will provide financial support in covering operational expenses, transportation costs, entry fees and assistance with necessary equipment. Staff and friends of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program will assist participants in areas such as sponsorship development; publicity, marketing, social media, business education, industry networking and relationship building.

KDDP is aimed at the "grass roots” racer. The program hopes to identify and assist a driver in the early stages of his or her career. While Alan Kulwicki did it “his way,” going from a track champion at Slinger (WI) Speedway, to winning American Speed Association (ASA) races across the United States, to an owner-driver on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit in just a few short years. Only through Alan’s drive, his determination, and the dedication of a handful of talented crew members was he able to become the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion.

The Kulwicki Driver Development Program hopes to play a significant role in developing the next generation of America’s short track racers, serving as a steward not only for Alan’s legacy, but for the growth of asphalt late model racing. If Alan were with us today, he would have his eye on the short tracks, looking for the next young racer with the drive to succeed. Through strategic partnerships and relationships, the KDDP hopes to become a crucial link in helping a handful of young men and women achieve their racing dreams. 

Drivers will have experience in late model racing. There is no age limit, but preference will be given to candidates between the ages of 18 and 25.

* * *

  • 7 drivers from across the nation will be selected by the KDDP to contend for the “Kulwicki Cup.”
  • One-time stipend to each competitor of $7,777 at beginning of 2015 racing season
  • Aforementioned support to the 7 drivers throughout season.
  • 7 drivers selected agree to abide by rules & regulations established by KDDP.  Included in agreement will be mandatory ID on car & driver’s uniform and code of conduct.
  • “Kulwicki Cup” winner is not totally based on their on-track results, but on their overall “performance” on and off the track.  The winner, selected by the KDDP (with potential involvement from fans/media/general public) best exemplifies the “Alan Kulwicki style” of competitor.
  • Voting will be done on quarterly basis and results publicized in far-reaching manner including news releases, web sites and social media platforms.
  • Winner will be announced on November 7, 2015.
  • “Kulwicki Cup” winner receives check for $7,777 X 7 ($54,439), distinctive trophy & more.
  • Winner will be honored at “Kulwicki Cup” dinner/banquet held on December 14th (Alan’s birthday) at selected location to be announced during the 2015 season.

 

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CURRENT KDDP TEAM ROSTER:

Executive Director:  Tom Roberts, 35-year motorsports industry veteran, with broad-based experience working with sponsors, drivers, teams and race tracks.

Program Trustees:

  1.             Jan Beatty, Senior Trust Officer, Wells Fargo
  2.             Mark  R.A. Horn, Member, Moore & Van Allen PLLC

Advisory Board Members: (additional information available on KDDP site)

  1. Paul Andrews, former crew chief for Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 NASCAR Championship team and now general manager of Cunningham Motorsports
  2. Dennis Czarnyszka, a former American Bowling Congress (ABC) marketing executive who was instrumental in helping promote Kulwicki throughout his career
  3. Tony Gibson, former car chief for Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 NASCAR Championship team and now crew chief for Kurt Busch’s No. 41 NASCAR Sprint Cup Team at SHR
  4. Tom Grady, motorsports law “pioneer” who has been actively involved in racing for 30 years
  5. Fr. Dale Grubba, a Wisconsin priest, author of several motorsports books including the comprehensive book on Alan Kulwicki (“Alan Kulwicki, NASCAR Champion: Against All Odds”) and acclaimed racing photographer
  6. Jim “Thumper” Rauth, longtime Kulwicki family friend who was involved in the Alan Kulwicki Park and Brooks Pavilion projects and remains active with them today
  7. Carter Thompson, a partner in a prominent Charlotte public accounting firm who has 19 years of experience and has worked closely with clients in the motorsports and automotive industry       

 # # #

 

The KDDP is a program that has been established by the family of late NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki to help worthy drivers along the way in reaching their dream…while at the same time keeping Alan Kulwicki's memory and legacy alive.

The program will provide "help" in several different ways. It will provide financial support in covering operational expenses, transportation costs, entry fees and assistance with necessary equipment. It will also provide other resources such as sponsorship, publicity and business education and industry networking and relationship building.

KDDP is aimed at the "grass roots racer." The objective is to identify and assist a driver in the earlier stages of his or her career. A great example would have been identifying and offering assistance to Alan Kulwicki when he was a regular competitor on the short track in Slinger, Wisc., and in the process of moving on to the ASA Series. However, with the relationships the KDDP will be building, it could definitely become a "pre-cursor" that could help "feed" drivers on to the driver development programs that already exist.

KDDP Application Download

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