Concord, N.C. – With only the month of October remaining to determine the winner in the 2017 edition of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) competition, a mere 21 points separate the top three drivers. Lakeville, Minnesota’s Michael Ostdiek leads with 859 points, followed by Marietta, Georgia’s Cody Haskins with 842 points and Greeley, Colorado’s Brett Yackey with 838 points. Porters Lake, Nova Scotia’s Cole Butcher holds down the fourth spot with 607 points.
After the second of three judging periods has been completed by the KDDP’s advisory board, here is the way the 2017 standings stack up:
Michael Ostdiek – 859
Cody Haskins – 842
Brett Yackey – 838
Cole Butcher – 607
Justin Mondeik – 533
Braison Bennett – 515
John Peters – 427
“It’s certainly the tightest battle in our program’s three-year history,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “At this time during our inaugural 2015 season, Ty Majeski enjoyed a 99-point lead over second place and last season Alex Prunty held an 81-point advantage. This one looks like it’s definitely going down to the wire.
“With only a handful of actual racing events remaining on the drivers’ schedules, their off-track activities have never been more important,” said Roberts. “As I have said so many times, what’s so cool and unique about our program is that the on-track performance is only one aspect that enters into the equation in winning the championship.
“Since our last points update, I have been so impressed with how all of our drivers have ramped up their efforts, both on and off the track,” Roberts added. “It will be extremely interesting to see what the next few weeks hold as the drivers make their final moves in trying to score as many points as possible.”
The organization’s board members will convene one final time during the first 10 days of November for a final round of voting. The 2017 Kulwicki Cup Champion will be officially announced on November 15, exclusively on Speed51.com, KDDP’s official media partner.
The champion will receive a check for $54,439 and a unique Kulwicki Cup trophy at the organization’s annual awards banquet in Charlotte in December.
The KDDP points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance. Voters are asked to rank the drivers from first to seventh in their job of representing the organization and points (from 70 for first to 10 for seventh) are awarded for those rankings. Each voter is given 10 discretionary “bonus” points to award the drivers for “exceptional contributions” to the program. Community engagement, program representation and social media activities account for much of those points. The remainder of the points come from actual racing statistics. Race wins award 10 points, with 2nd-5th-place finishes getting 6 points, 6th-10th 4 points, 11th-15th 2 points and 15th-plus 1 point.
Here is a look at the current “on-track” competition points through October 1:
Brett Yackey – 96 (3 wins)
Michael Ostdiek – 90 (3 wins)
Cody Haskins – 90 (1 win)
Braison Bennett – 88 (1 win)
Cole Butcher – 87 (2 wins)
Justin Mondeik – 60
John Peters – 53
For the third and final round of voting, the two regular-season judging points are averaged (however, bonus points continue to accrue) and added to the final vote’s judging points. The overall competition points (maximum 150 points for 15 wins) will be applied and the driver with the largest points total will be the 2017 Kulwicki Cup champion.
“When you take into consideration that each voter’s input represents a potential 60-point swing from seventh to first, it’s easy to understand the importance of our final ballot,” said Roberts. “We are so proud of all of our 2017 class and appreciate their super representation this season. We know every one of them will be out there giving it everything they can through the final day of our competition on October 31.”
The 2017 Kulwicki Cup Champion will be officially crowned during the annual KDDP Awards Banquet, set for Thursday, December 14 (celebrating what would have been Alan Kulwicki’s 63rd birthday) in The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Mark Martin will be the featured speaker for the evening and Speed51.com will provide a free live streaming broadcast of the event.
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release