CONCORD, N.C. (March 22, 2021) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the 2021 racing season. These young racers will be helping keep the memory and legacy of 1992 NASCAR Cup Champion and Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki alive, while also competing for the rich ($54,439) and prestigious annual Kulwicki Cup Championship. The announcement was made live on today’s edition of “The Bullring” on Speed51.com (Speed51.TV), KDDP’s official media partner.
The drivers range from 16 to 22 years of age and hail from seven different states.
The seven drivers, in alphabetical order with hometowns and Twitter handles, are:
WYATT ALEXANDER, 21, Ellsworth, Maine – @WAlexander_96
After finishing just outside the top seven in the 2019 edition of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, Alexander seeks to best the incredible success of fellow Mainer Dave Farrington, Jr., in both 2015 and 2016. Working towards earning his engineering degree from the University of Maine, Alexander will compete full-time at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway this season along with other pro and super late model starts in the Northeast. Alexander picked up a Granite State Pro Stock Series victory at Beech Ridge last season.
LUKE FENHAUS, 16, Wausau, Wisconsin – @lukefenhausracing, @luke_fenhaus
A 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist, this is the youngster’s second year in the program. He was the 2018 super late model track champion at State Park Speedway, and finished a competitive third in the 2020 Slinger Nationals. A high school junior, Fenhaus will again compete full-time with the ARCA Midwest Tour, where he has several career top-five and top-10 finishes. Fenhaus will also make the three-hour trek to the Slinger Speedway every Sunday night to test his mettle against some of the finest weekly super late model warriors in the United States.
MAX KAHLER, 17, Caledonia, Illinois – @max_kahler
As a rookie on the tour, Max Kahler captured the 2020 Big 8 Series championship in the final race of the year at Oktoberfest in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Earlier in the season, he won a Big 8 feature at his home track, Rockford Speedway. A high school junior and starting linebacker on the football team, Kahler scored the biggest victory of his young career, winning the prestigious National Short Track Championship at Rockford last October. In 2021, Kahler will compete in more super late model races, running the full TUNDRA and Alive for Five Series, select starts with the ARCA Midwest Tour and at Slinger Speedway, as well as several races with the Big 8 Series.
RYAN KUHN, 20, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts – @RyanKuhnRacing
The very first Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist from the Bay State, Ryan Kuhn stormed onto the asphalt late model scene in 2018, winning the track championship at Seekonk Speedway and seeing success throughout the Northeast region in 2019. In 2020, Kuhn scored eight top-10s in nine races in his first full season on the American Canadian Tour (ACT), including a podium finish at Riverside Speedway. Kuhn is also an accomplished sim racer, scoring several victories during the 2020 Rowdy Energy Select Super Series hosted by Speed 51. Kuhn is set to tackle the full PASS North Series this season, as well as ACT races, GSPSS events and select Seekonk races.
KOLE RAZ, 18, Lake Oswego, Oregon – @RazKole
Raz, the two-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Arizona State Champion, makes the “Kulwicki 7” after missing the cut for the 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program. In 2020, Raz battled all season with teammate Brandon Farrington, scoring five wins and the track points championship at Tucson Raceway Park. A senior at Lake Oswego High School, Raz is also a talented basketball player. This season, Raz will compete full-time on the Spears SRL Southwest Tour with Sigma Racing and make several starts on his home turf in the Pacific Northwest.
BROOKE STORER, 22, Land O’ Lakes, Florida – @brookestorer9
While 2020 was an abbreviated season for most short track racers, it was a career year for Brooke Storer. Winning five races and scoring eight fast qualifier awards in Florida’s ultra-competitive Wheelman Series, Storer established herself as the driver to beat nearly every night. She followed up her success in Florida with an Alabama State Championship in the Pro Truck Division. Storer participated in the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. In 2021, Storer plans on running the full Wheelman Series and hopes to make some pro and/or super late model starts as her schedule allows.
DYLAN ZAMPA, 17, Napa, California – @zampa_dylan
The younger brother of former Kulwicki Driver Development Program semifinalist, Logan Zampa, Dylan Zampa made a name for himself in his very first pro late model start in 2019, winning a televised race at Madera Speedway in California. He finished third in series points. While the COVID-19 pandemic hampered his 2020 schedule, Zampa hopes to come back strong in 2021, stepping up to run the full Spears SRL Southwest Tour Pro Late Model Series, and returning to Madera for several NutUp Series races.
“This was the most difficult assignment that our voting board members have faced since we started our program prior to the 2015 season,” said Tom Roberts, executive director of the KDDP. “With our last year’s edition of the program having to go on hiatus due to the pandemic, we decided that the appropriate thing to do was to make our 2020 semifinalists automatically eligible for that same status this year.
“To be fair and to continue to move forward, we opened up another application period for the 2021 program that concluded the first weekend of January,” Roberts said. “The end result was that we had the most qualified candidates ever who comprised our group of semifinalists. It was difficult enough to select just seven drivers from our 2020 semifinalists. Adding 10 more deserving young racers to that list made selecting our finalists for 2021 such a demanding task.
“I want to salute our incredible board members for their involvement and commitment during the entire evaluation and voting process this time around,” said Roberts. “Not only did they take in consideration the backgrounds of all the applicants, they also were very diligent in reviewing all of the interviews and studying the competition schedules for all of the semifinalists. They realistically could have selected multiple groups of seven finalists who were so deserving and would make fantastic representatives for Alan and our organization.
“I realize that today’s announcement will make our seven special finalists extremely happy and proud, and they certainly should be,” Roberts said. “We urge them to strive to emulate the personal fortitude and dedication that Alan Kulwicki displayed in becoming a NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer.
“At the same time, this news will also bring disappointment to all the others,” added Roberts. “We hope that every driver who was selected as a semifinalist will consider it as a major honor, especially when they think about the vast number of qualified competitors who applied for our program. We hope that they learned from being a participant in the process and will continue to go forward this season, turning heads along the way. We hope that when the season concludes, they will all be improved racers who will consider applying again for our 2022 program.”
After the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on last year’s competition, the 2021 season will mark the sixth fully-functioning year for the KDDP, which was established in 2014 by the Kulwicki estate for the purpose of helping worthy drivers toward reaching their dreams while at the same time keeping Alan’s memory and legacy alive.
The seven drivers announced today as members of the 2021 KDDP class will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization will 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 “Kulwicki Cup.” That award winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial prize ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy.
Seymour, Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski won the inaugural Kulwicki Cup in 2015, while Lomira, Wisconsin’s Alex Prunty claimed the 2016 title. Marietta, Georgia’s Cody Haskins returned from being a 2016 finalist (finished sixth) to win the 2017 Kulwicki Cup Championship and Greeley, Colorado’s Brett Yackey claimed the title in 2018. Jeremy Doss, from Upper Lake, California, won the 2019 Kulwicki Cup honors.
“We want to say a special thanks to our former KDDP Champions – Ty Majeski, Alex Prunty, Cody Haskins, Brett Yackey and Jeremy Doss – who all continue to provide incredible input and play an integral role in our organization’s activities,” said Roberts. “They will always be such important members of our Kulwicki Team who we are so proud of.”
The Kulwicki Cup competition goes from April 1 through Oct. 31. The contest’s points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance. Drivers are given points for both their success in chasing checkered flags and for community engagement, program representation and social media activities.
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.
For additional information on the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, please visit the official website at http://www.kulwickiddp.com. Follow us on Twitter at @KulwickiDDP and be looking out for our new Facebook page that is in the works at this time.
About the KDDP:
The Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) was established in 2014 by the family of late NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki for the purpose of helping worthy drivers toward reaching their dreams while at the same time keeping Alan’s memory and legacy alive. The Program provides drivers with financial assistance along with support in publicity, marketing, sponsorship development, industry networking and relationship building. Based in Concord, N.C., the KDDP is a non-profit organization with the mission of playing a significant role in developing the next era of America’s short-track racers while educating new generations about the life, passion and values of the 1992 NASCAR Champion.