CONCORD, N.C. – Father Dale Grubba, a Wisconsin priest, author of several motorsports books and acclaimed racing photographer, has been named to serve as an advisory board member for the new Kulwicki Driver Development Program.
“Father Grubba brings tremendous racing knowledge and a great spiritual balance to the KDDP and I am ecstatic to have him officially join our group,” said Tom Roberts, the organization’s executive director. “He has been a pillar of support for so many families during trying times, but has also been there to offer advice to young drivers who are on their way up.
“I first met Father Grubba 30 years ago when I was working with Bobby Allison and have considered him a dear friend ever since,” said Roberts. “He took Alan under his wing early in his career and was always there to help him any way possible. I honestly don’t know anyone who has had a greater positive influence on the racing community from the spiritual aspect. He authored the comprehensive book on Alan (“Alan Kulwicki, NASCAR Champion: Against All Odds”) and it was a thrill to help him with that project.”
“Alan was one of those people who looked at the world differently,” said Grubba with a smile. “To be honest, I don’t know that anyone could ever accomplish the things that he did in such a short period of time. It’s how he went about it and his incredible drive and determination that made his life and legend so special.
“Alan was a tremendous competitor on the race track and a fantastic human being off the track,” said Grubba. “Even though he won only five races at the top level of the sport, he was able to achieve his dream of being a champion and left a legacy behind that will last forever. I am honored to be able to serve on the advisory board for the KDDP. The idea of helping other young drivers while reinforcing Alan’s memory is certainly something I am excited to be part of.”
As for his book, Grubba says, “A lot of people never got to know Alan. When he was at the track, he was total business and racing. One of the things that he would always say was, ‘People that see me at the track don’t really know who I am. When I’m away from the track, I’m totally different,’ and he was.”
“I look at Father Grubba’s book on Alan as one of the greatest tools we have to educate folks as to who Alan was and what he was all about,” said Roberts. “It documented his career from his start in go-karts and went all the way though his unfortunate death in 1993. In addition, he included more than 100 photos and a chronological listing of all of Alan’s races. It’s a godsend as we move forward with the KDDP project.”
Grubba, 73, who resides in Princeton, Wis., and presides over St. John the Baptist Parish, has covered racing since 1963. In addition to being a regular contributor for several newspapers and magazines, he has penned books that include “Dream Chasing,” “Wisconsin’s Finest,” “The Golden Age of Wisconsin Auto Racing” and “The Milwaukee Modified Era 1959-1973.” His current project is focused on short-track legends Dick Trickle and Tom Reffner and the era in which they both won 67 late model features in a single season.
“Father Grubba’s involvement will be invaluable to our organization now and in the future,” said Roberts. “His contributions and support will be vital to our overall success. His prominence in our sport is so diverse. I enjoyed sitting by him and celebrating at Bobby Allison’s 1988 Daytona 500 victory party dinner. At the other extreme, nobody could have measured up to him in the tall task of officiating the funerals of Alan and members of the Allison Family. He brings a unique and necessary spiritual balance to our group that only he can provide.”
The full advisory board for the KDDP is expected to be completed by late August. The board will work together in formulating the criteria for the selection process for the program. It will work as a team in identifying aspiring driver/candidates, providing sponsorships and providing publicity for the drivers. It will also offer a networking system to build industry relationships for the drivers and provide strategic ideas for the direction of the program.
The KDDP is expected to be fully up and running in 2015. When completely functional, the non-profit organization will provide a host of funding and services to worthy drivers. The program 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 and business education and industry networking and relationship building.