PORTAGE, Wis. — TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Round One Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes will be the first of just a few times this season all three-Wisconsin based Kulwicki Development Driver Program finalists compete in the same event. Reagan May, Ty Majeski and Steve Apel have filed entries for the May 9 opener presented by Duke FM at Wisconsin International Raceway.
May, last season’s Dean’s Satellite and Security TUNDRA Rookie of the Year, is looking forward to the opportunity to race with Majeski and Apel among the field of over 30 expected entrants. Both drivers secured a title last season, and already appear to have that same Championship pedigree this season.
“I can learn from the other drivers in the program because they’re some of the best around,” she said. “It will be fun racing against them and also running for the TUNDRA Championship this year.”
One of her main TUNDRA title competitors will be Majeski, last season’s Midwest Tour titlist. Majeski plans to run an aggressive schedule of races including both TUNDRA and the Tour. He looks forward to competing directly with other KDDP members this Saturday, as well.
“It’s going to be cool to see all of the Kulwicki decals out there,” Majeski said. “We’re going to do the best we can. We have a really good car at Kaukauna and it’s one of my favorite race tracks.”
All three drivers c ompeted in this event in 2014. Majeski enjoyed the most success of any with a 13th-place feature finish. If not for a tangle on a restart, he may have recorded a top five. Later in the season he went on to win the Red Race of the Red, White and Blue State Championship.
May and Apel admit that they have struggled at the D-shaped half-mile in the past, but both have a new outlook for this season. May will use a different engine package than last season, and Apel will carry a new number on his now family-owned operation.
“I don’t have a good record when it comes to WIR,” Apel said. “But we hope to change that this weekend.” Apel plans to compete full-time at Slinger, seeking his third straight Championship among other specials in the area. At this time he said he does not to plan the full TUNDRA season, but success in Round One could change those plans.
“It means a lot to be part of the KDDP; with their support I’ll be able to travel to other tracks besides Slinger,” Apel added. “The KDDP has brought on a ton of new exposure to new faces, and hopefully some new opportunities down the road.”
The announcement was made in March that the three drivers would be among seven selected nationwide. Each driver received a one-time stipend of $7,777 to put toward their race team this season. They will be competition throughout 2015 for the Kulwicki Cup and a grand prize of over $50,000.
“The KDDP’s goal is to help grassroots racers and people that are like Alan who have the desire and the dedication to go to the next level, but maybe don’t have the finances or networking that is needed now,” May said.
She explained the resources that are available, including Alan’s former Crew Chief Paul Andrews and P.R. Specialist Tom Roberts.
The KDDP aims to demonstrate what an upstart young racer can gain from additional support with finances, public relations, marketing, networking and business education. Programs such as this weren’t available when Kulwicki was working his way through the ranks. Through a lengthy selection process the KDDP hopes to prove that young racers, with some extra aid, can blossom into a future NASCAR Champion just like Kulwicki.
“It’s quite an honor to be a part of that whole program with Alan’s legacy and all of the history he carries in the sport locally and nationally,” Majeski said. “We’re honored to carry those colors on the car, to teach people about his legacy and hopefully get him in the Hall of Fame.”
Aside from the support of grassroots racers, one of the emphases of the KDDP is to make push to have Alan inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“We’re making a big push to get Alan into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this Year to keep his legacy alive,” May added. “How many people worked as hard and got as far as he did? It’s an honor to be able to represent someone who had that dedication.”
The remaining candidates are between 15 and 26 years of age. At 26 years of age Apel is the only Wisconsin driver among the group who was alive when Kulwicki was lost tragically in April 1993. Although very young, or not even born, the legend of Kulwicki lives through the young racers.
“His 1992 Championship run was a lot like my Championship run in the Midwest Tour last year,” Majeski said. “He fought a lot of adversity late in the season and he pulled through just like we did. It’s really cool to share that with him.”
For more information on the Kulwicki Driver Development Program visit www.kulwickiddp.com
Round One for the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series Powered by Wisconsin Potatoes is set for Saturday, May 9 at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, Wis. Qualifying is set for 12:30 P.M. with racing to begin at 2. Area Street Stocks, Wisconsin Sport Trucks, Vintage and Figure 8s will complete the card for the event.
Tickets are $10 for ages 13 and up. Kids 12 and under receive free admission.
Wisconsin International Raceway is located at W1460 County Road KK, just past the roundabout at Hwy 55 and KK outside of Kaukauna, Wis. For more information visit www.wirmotorsports.com
The Unified Northern Drivers Racing Association (TUNDRA) Super Late Model Series was formed in 2011 as the Alive For Five Super Late Model Series at Dells Raceway Park. TUNDRA’s business plan is based on a sustainable program for promoters and race teams alike, while still providing high-quality Super Late Model entertainment to fans.
For more information on TUNDRA including news, results and the final 2014 standings, archived results and standings, and more visit www.tundrasuperlates.com. Also, interact with us on Facebook (facebook.com/TundraSuperLateModels) or Twitter (@TUNDRAslms).
-TUNDRA Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com