Concord, N.C. – Mark Martin, NASCAR Hall-of-Famer and winner of 40 premier series races, will serve as the featured guest speaker at the annual Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) awards banquet. The annual gala event is set for Thursday, December 14, in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will feature a live online broadcast.
“We are extremely delighted to have Mark join us as our featured speaker for this year’s banquet,” said Tom Roberts, executive director of the KDDP. “Mark and Alan had a special friendship that dated all the way back to their short-track racing days on the bullrings of the Midwest. Many folks are not aware that the two hard-charging drivers actually had their teams headquartered in the same building back in the mid-‘80s.
“It will be such a thrill to have Mark there speaking to our drivers and guests in the audience and to all the others across the world watching online,” Roberts added. “There was an incredible level of competitive spirit and mutual respect shared by Mark and Alan and it will be fascinating to see and hear Mark discuss it live.”
Martin began his racing career on the dirt tracks near his Batesville, Arkansas home. He moved on to asphalt late model racing and joined the American Speed Association (ASA) series, winning the Rookie-of-the-Year title in 1977. He went on to claim 22 victories and four championships (1978, 1979, 1980 & 1986) in ASA competition.
Martin’s incredible NASCAR big-league racing career record boasts 40 victories in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and 49 wins in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition. He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 and was a Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee in 2015. Martin’s spectacular 30-year driving career culminated into him being named as a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
“I had the honor and challenge of racing with Alan for years,” Martin said. “His achievements are legendary and it makes me proud to see the KDDP helping others to have a shot to make their dreams come true.”
The banquet will celebrate the third season for the organization and culminate with the awarding of the prestigious Kulwicki Cup trophy and check for $54,439 to the 2017 KDDP champion. Seven drivers from across North America (Braison Bennett of Neenah, Wisconsin; Cole Butcher of Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia, Canada; Cody Haskins of Marietta, Georgia; Justin Mondeik of Gleason, Wisconsin; Michael Ostdiek of Lakeville, Minnesota; John Peters of Westbrook, Maine and Brett Yackey of Greeley, Colorado) have competed for the award this year and the winner will be named on November 15.
“Having Mark there with us will certainly add to the fun and special memories made that night,” Roberts added. “I can’t think of a better way to commemorate another great season for our organization and honor Alan on what would have been his 63rd birthday.”
Speed51.com, the official media partner of the KDDP, will provide free live streaming coverage of the event beginning at 7 p.m. ET on December 14. Speed51’s Bob Dillner will serve as emcee for the evening.
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release. Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images