CONCORD, N.C. -- Heading into the final weekend of June, the seven Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) drivers are embroiled in a tight competition for the top spot in the first point standings of the season, set to be released on July 6.
In 2015, eventual Kulwicki Cup champion Ty Majeski led the standings from wire-to-wire, chalking up a remarkable 19 wins during the KDDP competition. Behind him, though, drivers like Steve Apel, Cole Williams, and Reagan May racked up multiple wins and top-five finishes, keeping the points chase close until Majeski went on a hot streak late in the season.
This year, however, a new dynamic has emerged among the seven drivers competing for the $54,439 top prize: consistency. Collectively, the 2016 class has five wins (2 for Jeremy Doss, 1 for Dave Farrington, Jr., 1 for Quin Houff and 1 for Michael Ostdiek) and has racked up 31 top-five finishes spread evenly across the seven drivers’ records.
“Last year, Ty Majeski put the Kulwicki Cup out of reach with his incredible performance on the track,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “This year, though, the competition is going to be very tight throughout the season. Just a single victory or a DNF could put someone over the top or sink their chances. It’s already very exciting and it could be pretty dramatic when we head down the stretch to the finish.”
Six of the seven KDDP drivers will be in action this weekend. Jay, Maine’s Dave Farrington, Jr., will have a grueling weekend, competing in back-to-back 100-plus lap events on Friday and Saturday. He will take on the best in the Northeast in the 150-lap PASS North Series race at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire, followed by a 125-lap feature at his home track of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
The program’s two Southern super late model stars, Quin Houff and Brandon Setzer, will compete in the CARS Tour battle at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina on Saturday night. Houff has one win this season, and while Setzer is winless, he has been knocking on the door lately.
Upper Lake, California’s Jeremy Doss returns to the track after a three-week layoff, jumping into his I-5 Tire Factory No. 75 Ford Fusion to take on the Pacific Challenge Series at All-American Speedway in Roseville, California on Saturday night.
The Midwestern contingent, made up of Minnesota’s Michael Ostdiek and Wisconsin’s Alex Prunty, will seek wins at the Big 8 Series race at Madison International Speedway and Pepsi Challenge event at Slinger Speedway, respectively. Both are coming on strong and will be knocking on the door to Victory Lane again this weekend.
Georgia’s Cody Haskins has a well-deserved weekend off. The late model stock car driver has tallied six top-five finishes this season and hopes to turn his strong qualifying runs into a victory before too long.
“While on track performance is a critical part of our program, we value what our drivers do off the track, too,” said Roberts. ‘Interacting with fans, sharing Alan’s story on social media and giving back to the community are all very important. This year, Alex Prunty has created an Alan Kulwicki-themed go-kart and his own driver development program, while Michael Ostdiek has been working with young quarter-midget drivers. In the two years we have been doing the KDDP, we have been able to work with such quality people. All of them put so much time into their race cars, but they are really working hard to share Alan’s story.”
The Kulwicki Cup competition is based on each driver’s top 15 races during the time period between April 1 & October 31. The points are tabulated by the KDDP’s unique three-measurement system. Three times during the 2016 season, the seven-member advisory board is asked to rank the overall job the drivers are doing on and off the track in representing the organization (from first to seventh). First-place votes are worth 70 points; second gets 60 points; third awards 50; fourth 40; fifth 30; sixth 20 and seventh 10. Board members are given 10 “discretionary bonus points” that they can allocate for activities they feel are exceptional in representing the organization. In last year's voting, drivers received considerable bonus points for their social media skills, fan interaction, community relations and various activities outside the race track. The final aspect of the system awards the drivers “competition points” for their on-track success. 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.
The KDDP urges you to keep up with all of the organization’s news and activities by regularly visiting Speed51.com, the organization’s official media partner.
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release