Concord, N.C. – Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) officials have announced that the 2020 program has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of this year’s semifinalists will receive a “bye” to become one of 25 semifinalists for the 2021 program.
“We’re extremely disappointed to announce that our 2020 KDDP season has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tom Roberts, the organization’s executive director. “Our advisory board members held on as long as possible, hoping for the best. When it became evident that we couldn’t execute a program that would match the standards we have set over the last five years, we decided it was best to scrap our efforts for this year and focus on 2021.”
The number “7” is the basis for all facets of the KDDP, including the number of participants, the stipends provided its finalists ($7,777), the prestigious Kulwicki Cup grand prize award (7 x $7,777), the number of board members and the length of the annual competition (seven months).
“In an effort to support continuity for our program, the board considered a condensed season,” Roberts said. “But when it was apparent that even a majority of our customary competition timespan couldn’t occur, it was just not feasible to go forward with the program this year.
“While it has been promising to see some tracks open in a few areas across the country, our program continues to be one that is all-encompassing. Our 2020 program semifinalists represented nine different states and one Canadian province. When racing would return everywhere and there could be a level playing field for all involved is a question that can’t be answered at this time.
“Through the efforts of many, we have seen the KDDP grow to be the most recognized and respected driver development program in North America today,” said Roberts. “Alan Kulwicki was never one who was content in getting anything half-done throughout his amazing career and that fact certainly entered the equation in making our decision.”
While there will be no battle for the prestigious Kulwicki Cup Championship this season, the 15 semifinalists for the 2020 program will have “one leg up” heading into the 2021 edition of the program.
“The support and patience displayed by this year’s semifinalists has been amazing and so greatly appreciated,” Roberts said. “It has truly been a ‘we’re all in this together’ atmosphere for the last several months as we monitored the situation and hoped for the best.
“We felt like it was appropriate to show our gratitude to this group in some manner. It was decided that all of our semifinalists for 2020 – provided they still fit the criteria and requirements for eligibility – will draw a bye and automatically be grandfathered in as semifinalists for our 2021 program.”
The format for next year’s edition of the Kulwicki Program will see a total of 25 semifinalists that will vie to be one of the seven finalists competing for the 2021 Kulwicki Cup. The group will consist of the semifinalists from this year who retain eligibility, with the remainder coming from applicants selected by board members next February.
The entire roster of 2021 semifinalists will be announced during the final week of February 2021, with the seven finalists named on Monday, March 15, 2021.
Applications for the 2021 Kulwicki Driver Development Program will be available by mid-November (at http://www.kulwickiddp.com/) with the deadline to apply on December 31.
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.