CONCORD, N.C. (Jan. 29, 2015) – The process to select the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) competitors for the 2015 season is currently in full swing. The program was established last year by family members of 1992 NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki as a means to offer assistance to worthy drivers while keeping the late champion’s legacy and memory alive.
The organization’s seven-member advisory board is narrowing down an impressive huge group of applicants to its seven-driver KDDP roster for 2015. The selected drivers will receive financial and professional assistance during their upcoming racing seasons. They will be competing for the inaugural “Kulwicki Cup” which will be awarded this December.
“Both the quantity and quality of applicants we received were extremely impressive,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts. “It is such a diverse group when you consider age, level of racing experience and need for assistance. We are so proud to have Speed51.com as our official media partner. I want to personally thank Bob Dillner and his Speed51.com staff for their help in getting the word out and encouraging so many drivers to send in applications.
“Our board is currently in the first stage of a three-phase judging process,” Roberts said. “The first chore is to whittle the group down to 14 finalists. I can attest to what a difficult procedure that is. I don’t have voting power, but I did a mock challenge and found it to be almost impossible.”
“When our board decides the 14 finalists, we will interview all of those drivers on an individual basis,” continued Roberts. “Then in the final phase, the board will select the seven competitors who will be carrying the KDDP colors this year.”
Board members are considering criteria that include relevant experience, community engagement, program fit and character, appreciation for the Kulwicki legacy and financial need in their evaluation procedure.
“The KDDP is so unique compared to other development programs out there today,” Roberts said. “Due to the graciousness of the Kulwicki family, there is no financial requirement from our participants. We are a non-profit organization. It is our mission to assist aspiring racers in achieving their goals while educating other generations about Alan Kulwicki along the way.
“It has been such a pleasure to be a member of the KDDP team and I know Alan would be so proud and supportive of what we are doing,” said Roberts, who served as Kulwicki’s advisor and public relations representative throughout his NASCAR career. “When I was doing my mock top-14 list, I gauged it on who I thought Alan would select to be among the group. He valued hard work and deemed dedication and determination as imperative.
“Even the standards we will utilize in determining our ‘Kulwicki Cup’ winner this season will be unique,” Roberts said. “Our evaluation will not focus solely on results on the race track. The method we employ will also consider what the seven drivers do off the track. Community service, effectiveness in representing our organization, social media involvement and overall character are aspects that will be included in the equation.
“I have been professionally involved in racing in some manner for 38 years now and the KDDP has been my most intriguing project so far,” added Roberts. “I am convinced that short track racing is in great shape as for talented drivers who have so much potential. I know there will never truly be another Alan Kulwicki, but it will be so much fun searching for the racer who best replicates his innate drive and competitive spirit this year.”
The seven KDDP drivers will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization will work to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season. The Kulwicki Cup winner will be announced in November. That driver will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special trophy during an event honoring the winner in December.
The selection process to determine the KDDP drivers for 2015 is expected to be completed in the next few weeks. The seven-driver lineup is scheduled to be announced during the third week of February.
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release