When hard-charging Upper Lake, California, driver Jeremy Doss abruptly switched from racing Super Late Models to fielding a new Senneker Pro Late Model car back in early June, many racing insiders questioned the move.
After all, the popular 22-year-old rising racing star was coming off an ultra-successful 2018 racing season that saw him win three SRL Southwest Tour Series races en route to the series’ points title and had won special Super Late Model events at Evergreen Speedway in Washington, Montana Raceway Park in Kalispell, Montana, and at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Furthermore, Doss had already won the April 14 SRL race at All American Speedway in Roseville, California, and was establishing himself as a contender to defend his series championship when his family-owned team sold his two Super Late Model cars and made the move to Pro Late Models.
“It all came down to the financial end of it for us,” said Doss, who was the 2013 SRL Rookie-of-the-Year, two-time points runner-up in the SRL and a two-time champion in the Pacific Challenge Series. “I love racing a Super, but for a small family-owned team like ours, it’s very difficult without considerable financial backing. The money differences for us to run our Pro Late as opposed to the Super are huge. I can run on average four races in the Pro compared to what we were spending for one in the Super.
“I feel as though overall the situation has turned out very well for us,” Doss offered. “We’re able to race more often and have the opportunity to try new setup changes on a regular basis. I feel like my team as a whole is better because of it. That, and with the regular seat time in the car, I feel like my driving is better as well.
“We were so honored to be selected for the Kulwicki program again this season and quite honestly were trying to figure out how we could run enough races for them,” Doss said of being a member of the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program and being voted back into the KDDP this year. “Their competition points system is based on your top 15 races and our move to the Pro Late Model assured us of that many races and more.”
“When we received the news from Jeremy about him changing from the Supers to the Pro Late Models, we honestly didn’t know what to expect,” said Tom Roberts, who heads the KDDP organization. “He brought out his sharp-looking brand-new black No. 75 Senneker Chassis Pro Late Model and won in its debut on June 15 at All American Speedway. I was watching the race live on Fans Choice TV and was really blown away.
“Jeremy would have been hard pressed to race in 15 events this season without making the move,” Roberts said. “With the way it turned out, he’s racing somewhere on an almost weekly basis against some very good competition. The huge bonus is that his races at All American Speedway are all broadcast on Fans Choice TV and his races at Madera Speedway are part of the nine-race televised series on MAVTV.
“It was somewhat of a chore to explain to our KDDP board members the complexity of the situation Jeremy and his dad (Mike) were going through, but when they understood the total scenario, they were all supporters of the move,” Roberts added. “Just like me, they get a huge thrill out of seeing Jeremy and his race-winning car he named ‘Bonnie’ out there winning races and celebrating with Polish Victory Laps. Making the switch has given Jeremy additional visibility on a national basis and we’re so proud of what he’s accomplished in representing the KDDP this season.”
“I’m very loyal to the Senneker brand and things really worked out for the best on that end, too,” Doss said. “Toni McCray bought both the roller and the turn key Super Late Models, so both of the cars stayed out here in California. Our Pro Late Model was almost done when we alone decided to make the change. It was totally our decision and the timing worked out better than we had ever anticipated.
“We still have a lot of racing to do this year,” Doss said. “We have a few more races at Madera as part of their MAVTV series, one of which pays $10,000 to win. We have several more races at Roseville (All American Speedway) remaining, including this weekend. We invite everyone to tune in to Fans Choice and watch us on Saturday night.”
In 10 races at All American Speedway this season, Doss has recorded four wins and 10 top-five finishes. With three nights of racing remaining, he is second in points even though he has competed in two fewer races than the other top-seven drivers. Doss was victorious in his Pro Late Model debut at Madera on June 29. He won again on July 27 and finished sixth on August 24. With two nights of racing remaining, Doss is up to 11th in points.
“In between those races, I’ll be racing my Legend Car and Bomber, too,” Doss added. “Plus, I am mentoring Kylie, Trey and Aidan Daniels this year. Kylie and Aidan have been running in the Jr. Late Models at Roseville and Trey runs a Bandolero there. Trey is leading the points and has won 5 feature events. Aidan has won 4 mains and in two starts, Kylie has picked up two top-five finishes. I really enjoy being a small part of their success.
“We don’t currently have plans to run the Snowball Derby this season simply because we don’t own a Super Late Model,” offered Doss, who started 18th and finished 11th in the 2018 edition of the prestigious short track classic at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, after starting fifth and finishing 13th in 2017. “I would really love to race there again this year. That is the best of the best. If I got the chance to run it this year with the right car, I certainly would.
“A dream-come-true scenario would be to win the Snowball Derby and get a shot at driving in one of the top NASCAR divisions,” Doss added. “That would be my racing career dream come true absolutely.”
Doss finished fourth in the 2016 KDDP competition. At the end of the season, he was busy mixing his racing with plans for another career in the power delivery industry.
“I graduated from Northwest Lineman College in 2016,” Doss said of the situation that forced him to miss the annual KDDP Awards Banquet as he had to be at the Oroville, California, school instead. “Once I graduated, however, I came to realize that I would need to move out of state and likely out of racing to pursue that career. So, for now at least, I went a different direction. It’s always something that I can fall back on. I also have a Commercial Class A (Drivers) License and drive commercial trucks for KBD Enterprises LLC, which includes driving the race hauler on the weekends.”
Doss has established himself as a strong contender in the battle for the prestigious 2019 KDDP Kulwicki Cup Championship. The most recent point standings based on the competition through July 15 showed him leading in on-track points and trailing only Justin Carroll, another second-year KDDP driver, in overall points.
“The difference in me as a participant in the program this season versus back in 2016 is in large part the maturity aspect,” said Doss. “I thought in 2016 if I won races, ultimately that is what the driving force to win the Kulwicki Cup competition was. It is really so much more than that.
“When we started the season, I was looking for a charity that was a good fit for me especially being a KDDP finalist,” Doss said. “In March, I visited my first Ronald McDonald House in Los Angeles, which was close to Irwindale where I was racing the Super. From that first visit, the charity involvement was such a rewarding experience for me personally.
“I have met with wonderful families who are going through so much, and RMHC takes the burden of a place to stay and meals off their stress list,” he added. “The families are just so grateful and kind, even given their sometimes-critical circumstances. My visits have given me a new perspective on what is truly important in life. It has also been great to keep in touch with families and cheer on their progress. The fact that through fundraising I have been able to raise over $3500 so far this year is very gratifying.
“To win the Kulwicki Cup, it takes stepping out of your comfort zone and becoming involved with the community and being really active on social media,” Doss added. “I have enjoyed all of that this season. It’s been a lot of fun and there’s just such a great feeling that comes with giving back. At times, it’s had me out of my comfort zone, but I am a better person because of it. Winning the Kulwicki Cup for 2019 would be the biggest accomplishment of my career.”
The 2019 season marks the fifth full year for the KDDP. The seven drivers receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization works to provide the drivers assistance in important aspects such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship development and industry networking during the season as they compete for the “grand prize.” The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy.
The Kulwicki Cup competition runs from April 1 through October 31. The next points update is scheduled for the first week in October. The final voting is scheduled for the first week in November, with the 2019 KDDP “Kulwicki Cup” Champion expected to be announced on November 15. The champion and all the other competitors will be honored at the organization’s annual banquet held in December at The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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.
We invite you to follow each of our seven 2019 KDDP drivers on Twitter for their timely updates of activities on and off the track: DANNY BENEDICT, KAWARTHA LAKES, ONT (@DannyBenedict54); JUSTIN CARROLL, CONCORD, NC (@toast57); JEREMY DOSS, UPPER LAKE, CA (@jeremydoss75); LUKE FENHAUS, WAUSAU, WI (@luke_fenhaus); DEREK GRIFFITH, HUDSON, NH (@DerekGriffith12); CARSON KVAPIL, MOORESVILLE, NC (@Carson_Kvapil) & PAUL SHAFER, JR., PORTAGE, IN (@ShaferRacing7).
For additional information on the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, please visit the official website at www.kulwickiddp.com and follow us on Twitter at @KulwickiDDP. Tom Roberts is on Twitter at @22carPR and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tom.roberts.39904181.
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release
-Photo credit: Michele Martin