COLE BUTCHER HOPES TO BE “IN THE HUNT” AT THE EASTER BUNNY 150
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?”
“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.”
2017 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM COMPETITORS ANNOUNCED
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
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.
ALEX PRUNTY CLAIMS 2016 “KULWICKI CUP” CHAMPIONSHIP
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 DESCRIPTIONEstablished 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
FARRINGTON & SETZER LOOKING TO END CAMPAIGNS ON HIGH NOTE
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.
ALEX PRUNTY CONTINUES TO LEAD “KULWICKI CUP” POINT STANDINGS
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.
HOUFF & SETZER LOOKING FOR 2016 TURNAROUND AT CONCORD
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.”
DAVE FARRINGTON JR. PREPARING FOR BIG WEEKEND AT BEECH RIDGE
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.
“ONE MAN BAND” HASKINS SEEKS STRONG FINISH TO 2016 SEASON
CONCORD, 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."
ALEX PRUNTY LEADS FIRST 2016 “KULWICKI CUP” POINT STANDINGS
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
TIGHT COMPETITION EVIDENT IN BATTLE FOR 2016 KULWICKI CUP
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.
SETZER LOOKS TO RETURN TO FORM AT TRI-COUNTY SPEEDWAY
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.”
FARRINGTON HUNGRY FOR MORE AFTER FIRST BEECH RIDGE VICTORY
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.
JEREMY DOSS ENJOYING EARLY 2016 SEASON SUCCESS
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.”
“KULWICKI KID” HEADED TO HAWKEYE DOWNS THIS WEEKEND
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.
THE 2016 KDDP SEASON BEGINS WITH A BIG BANG
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.
MICHAEL OSTDIEK ADDED TO 2016 KULWICKI DEVELOPMENT ROSTER
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.”
2016 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM LINEUP ANNOUNCED
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
SEMIFINALISTS COMPETING FOR 2016 KDDP LINEUP ANNOUNCED
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.
Natalie Decker, 18, Eagle River, Wis.
Jeremy Doss, 19, Upper Lake, Calif.
Dave Farrington, Jr., 24, Jay, Maine
Jared Fryar, 21, Trinity, N.C.
Garrett Hall, 21, Scarborough, Maine
Cody Haskins, 24, Marietta, Ga.
Quin Houff, 18, Mount Sidney, Va.
Jordan Ives, 17, Gladstone, Mich.
Bobby Kendall, 20, Montello, Wis.
Reagan May, 22, DePere, Wis.
Austin Nason, 20, Roscoe, Wis.
Michael Ostdiek, 18, Lakeville, Minn.
John Peters, 18, Westbrook, Maine
Alex Prunty, 23, Lomira, Wis.
Brandon Setzer, 22, Newton, N.C.
Cole Timm, 17, Mooresville, N.C.
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
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.
TY MAJESKI CLAIMS 2015 INAUGURAL KULWICKI CUP CHAMPIONSHIP
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.
SEVEN QUESTIONS WITH TY MAJESKI, KULWICKI CUP CHAMPION
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.)
2016 KULWICKI DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM APPLICATION AVAILABLE
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.
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THELMA KULWICKI MOURNED BY RACERS, FRIENDS & CONSTITUENTS
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.
KDDP NAMES SPEED51.COM AS "OFFICIAL MEDIA PARTNER"
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
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 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.
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The application form and other information on the KDDP is currently available on the official website at www.KulwickiDDP.com
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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.
Advisory Board Members: (additional information available on KDDP site)
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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.
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