CONCORD, N.C. – 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 second-generation 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 runner-up 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.
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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.
About the KDDP:
The Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) was established in 2014 by the family of late NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki for the purpose of helping worthy drivers toward reaching their dreams while at the same time keeping Alan’s memory and legacy alive. The Program provides drivers with financial assistance along with support in publicity, marketing, sponsorship development, industry networking and relationship building. Based in Concord, N.C., the KDDP is a non-profit organization with the mission of playing a significant role in developing the next era of America’s short-track racers while educating new generations about the life, passion and values of the 1992 NASCAR Champion.
Tom Roberts – [email protected]– (256)508-2595
Jeff Kollath –[email protected]– (608) 516-0448
Jan Beatty – [email protected]– (704) 262-2345
Mark Horn – [email protected]– (704) 331-3540
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release