Ten new Kulwicki Driver Development Program semi-finalists were unveiled live on “The Bullring” Monday morning, joining 15 other drivers from around the country from 2020’s semi-finalists. A mix of up-and-coming drivers have been named, with the final seven to be named live on “The Bullring” on March 22.
Cooper Bouchard joins a list of four other drivers from the Northeast as KDDP semi-finalists. The Vermont racer is set to embark on his rookie year in ACT-style Late Model competition at Thunder Road International Speedbowl and select ACT events, after spending several years in Street Stocks and Flying Tigers at Thunder Road.
“I got chills, man. It’s definitely pretty exciting to know that out of all the people that got picked, I’m one of the top 25,” Bouchard said. “I don’t really even know how to feel right now.
“I first heard about it when Derek Griffith was involved in it. One day he put a Facebook status out there saying that he thinks there should be more people in the Northeast getting involved. I shot him a private message and said hell, why not try it.”
Another driver planning a big jump in 2021 is Illinois racer Max Kahler. After winning the Big 8 Series championship and National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway, he will climb in a Super Late Model on a more-regular basis to chase after TUNDRA Super Late Model and Alive For Five Series titles.
“I wasn’t around for Alan’s career but I’ve read a lot about him and I’ve heard a lot about him,” Kahler stated. “It’s cool to be able to be selected by the Kulwicki board and carry on his legacy and make Midwest short track racing great.”
Hunter Wright made a big jump in 2020, claiming the Rookie of the Year title in Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway’s Pro Late Model division. Even at a young age, he is in awe of what Alan Kulwicki accomplished throughout his racing career and how he was able to do it.
“There’s been a bunch of big names in short track racing come through there and that’s how you get the idea of doing it,” said Wright. “Alan’s legacy is something that’s truly great, he started his own team and won a Cup championship basically all on his own. His legacy is really awesome.”
Multi-time Tuscon Speedway track champion Brandon Farrington is planning on expanding his schedule to include a full-time run with the Spears SRL Southwest Tour in 2021. He says the $7,777 stipend finalists receive would help him tremendously with getting to all the planned SRL races, and maybe even a few previously-unscheduled events.
“That would be huge, to be able to run with the legacy the Kulwicki Driver Development Program has built and is currently building,” Farrington said. “It would be a huge honor to be able to do that and compete with the other six finalists in an overall championship style format.”
The list of all 25 KDDP semi-finalists can be found below.
For the complete interviews from each of the ten new semi-finalists, click here to watch a replay of “The Bullring.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo
Kulwicki Driver Development Program Semi-Finalists