Concord, N.C. – When the action at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, North Carolina was cancelled last Friday night due to rain, Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) competitor Justin Carroll was determined to still race somewhere during the weekend. The family-owned team made the four-hour haul on over to Myrtle Beach Speedway for Saturday night’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series battle. For Carroll and crew, the extra effort was well worth it.
“It seems like racing everywhere has faced some pretty wicked spring weather and we’ve been fortunate when compared to other areas,” said Carroll, who finished a strong sixth in Saturday night’s Late Model Stock Car 75-lap feature in only his second visit to the track. “When they cancelled at Ace, we looked at heading to a few other tracks, but decided on Myrtle Beach because we felt the track was the best fit for what we had in our car.
“We were going to race somewhere for sure and the trip to Myrtle Beach was well worth it,” Carroll said. “We struggled there in the CARS Tour race last season, which was the first time I’d been on the track. We learned a ton on Saturday night that we can use on down the line. I’m not sure of how many times we’ll return this season, but we’re definitely hoping to go back for the big Myrtle Beach 400 in November.”
Carroll is scheduled to be back in action this Saturday in the Who’s Your Driver 125 CARS Tour battle at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia.
While all of the 2019 KDDP drivers have faced adverse weather to some degree so far this racing season, nothing comes close to what Kawatha Lakes, Ontario, racer Danny Benedict has encountered.
“It has been just unbelievable,” said the hard-charging 22-year-old competitor, who was the 2018 Provincial NASCAR Whelen All American Series Champion. “Five of my six scheduled nights of racing have been rainouts. Every week it seems like we get to the track, get unloaded and ready to race and the rain comes. I feel bad for the racers, the fans and the promoters.
“But I guess the best way to look at it as that the one weekend that we did get the racing in, we won a feature,” Benedict said of his victory on May 11 at Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ontario. “We’re looking at it like it’s a new month now. The rainy months of April and May are behind us and June is going to provide us some great racing weather beginning this weekend.
This weekend is special for Benedict in that it will bring his first APC United Late Model Series start of the 2019 season.
“My dad and I built the Pro Late Model car we’re racing this season and we didn’t get to race it in the series’ opening event at Sunset on May 18,” said Benedict. “We were at the track, but had problems and were sidelined for the night. We had some bugs to get worked out. We went back and tested at Sunset and feel that we’re ready to get after it this weekend.
“There were 32 cars that showed up for the series’ season opener at Sunset and there’ll likely be that many at Flamboro for this weekend’s race,” Benedict said of Saturday’s Interstate Batteries 100 on the 1/3-mile semi-banked asphalt Flamboro Speedway in Millgrove, Ontario. “They’ll have more than a full field as they start a maximum of 26 cars in the feature.
“We have an incredibly busy month of racing ahead of us,” offered Benedict. “We’re racing every weekend this month and hope to run in six feature events. From what we’ve been able to see so far, we’re really happy with what we have in our Late Model car. The jury may still be out as for our Pro Late Model, but we can’t wait to see how we stack up against the competition at Flamboro this weekend.
“The only time I’ve ever raced at Flamboro before was in their 4-cylinder (Mini-Stock) division and we won, so we’re batting a thousand heading in there this weekend,” Benedict said. “We’ve been paying close attention to the weather forecast. The rain is supposed to be out of the area on Thursday and it supposed to be beautiful there on Saturday.”
Since the battle for the prestigious 2019 Kulwicki Cup trophy and rich KDDP championship began on April 1, there have been only 27 races total completed among the seven drivers. At this point last season, there were 43 feature races in the books. So far, four drivers (Carroll, Benedict, Jeremy Doss and Derek Griffith) have taken the Kulwicki colors to Victory Lane this season.
“We know there’s nothing you can do about the weather, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this year in the 40 years I’ve been in the sport,” said KDDP’s Tom Roberts. “When you see that half of the events on the 2019 ARCA Midwest Tour schedule have been cancelled due to weather, it’s eye-opening for sure.
“Our drivers have faced 17 rainouts this season, but that certainly hasn’t dampened the competitive spirit of these seven young racers,” said Roberts. “It has really been amazing to see how this group supports each other and cheers one another on. All of our guys are ready for the action to get heated up out there in the upcoming summer months and we look forward to seeing them score many more race wins carrying our KDDP colors.”
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.
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release
-Photo credit: @toast57