Special from Racing America – CONCORD, N.C. (March 23, 2022) – Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the history-rich 2022 racing season. The racers represent six different states and range in age from 18 to 22 years. The announcement was made on today’s edition of “The Bullring” on RacingAmerica.com Powered by Speed51.TV, the organization’s official media partner.
These finalists will be helping keep the memory and legacy of 1992 NASCAR Cup Champion and Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki alive during the seventh edition of the program which will occur during the 30thanniversary of the NASCAR Hall of Famer’s incredible run to the title.
The drivers (alphabetically) are (Name, Hometown, DOB, Division, Plans & Social Media):
JACKSON BOONE: Franklin, Tennessee – 21 (3/10/2000) – Pro Late Model & Super Late Model – Former KDDP Semifinalist – 2019 Nashville Fairgrounds PLM Champion – Plans to compete for the Nashville track championship & Southern Super Series, with possible starts in Late Model Stock Car events – Twitter & Instagram: @jacksonboone7
JACOB NOTTESTAD: Stoughton, Wisconsin – 20 (4/11/2001) – Super Late Model – Former KDDP Semifinalist – With limited budget, successfully transitioned to SLM, with wins at Jefferson & La Crosse, winning in tough TUNDRA competition – Plans on running the Elite 8 Series at Slinger, Slinger Nationals & select TUNDRA events – Twitter: @Jnottestad97
HAEDEN PLYBON: Spokane, Washington – 18 (11/15/2003) – Super Late Model/Pro Late Model – 2020 Stateline Speedway Champion; two-time winner in 2021 Northwest Super Late Model Series competition – Plans on running entire Northwest SLM Series, the Tri-State PLM Series & select special SLM shows on West Coast – Twitter: @HaedenPlybon Instagram: @Haeden55
KATE RE: Harrison, Maine – 18 (12/1/2003) – Super Late Model/Pro Late Model – Has advanced from racing go-karts at age 8 up to Super Late Models; first female to ever qualify for the Oxford 250 (2020) & highest female finisher in Pro All Star Series (PASS) history (3rd at Lee USA Speedway in 2021) – Plans to compete in Pro All Star Series, CARS Tour PLM Series & specials like Motor Mountain Masters (Jennerstown Speedway) – Twitter: @MotorsportsKate Instagram: @kateremotorsports & @kate10re
EVAN (SHOTKO) SZOTKO: Coopersville, Michigan – 18 (7/4/2003) — Super Late Model/Late Model – Began career in Dirt Modifieds; has become consistent Late Model winner at Berlin Raceway – Plans are to compete in the Late Model division full time at Berlin Raceway including the Money in the Bank & Battle at Berlin; possibly run some CRA shows – Twitter: @Shotkoracing Instagram: @ shotko_racing
RILEY STENJEM: Utica, Wisconsin – 22 (12/21/1999) – Former KDDP Semifinalist – Super Late Model/Pro/Limited Late Model – In second season driving SLM, steady progress led to winning the 2021 TUNDRA Super Late Model Championship over noted veteran Casey Johnson; tutored under Ty Majeski – Plans on running 25-30 races, including TUNDRA, ARCA Midwest Series & Alive for 5 Series – Twitter & Instagram: @77stenjem77
DYLAN ZAMPA: Napa, California – 18 (11/15/2003) – 2021 KDDP Finalist – Pro Late Model – Won as rookie at Madera Speedway in 2019; in 2021, posted 7 wins, 5 seconds, 20 top-fives, and 22 top-10s in PLM competition; finished runner-up in Spears SRL PLM Series points; 2021 Sigma Young Guns Champion – Plans on running SRL Pro Late Model Series, plus PLM events at All American Speedway & Madera Speedway – Twitter: @zampa_dylan Instagram: @dylan_zampa
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“The 2022 season is a monumental year for our program when you consider the historical significance involved,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “Our program has always revolved around Alan’s number seven and with the pandemic shutting us down in 2020, this will be our program’s seventh edition. It’s as if all the stars lined up in that this year also marks the 30th anniversary of Alan’s memorable championship season.
“It’s a very interesting and intriguing lineup of drivers, especially when you consider their experience, the divisions they’ll compete in and where they will race this season,” Roberts said. “Our organization will have promising young competitors carrying Alan’s colors from coast to coast in 2022. All of these racers have lofty goals for the year and we’re looking forward to witnessing what they can accomplish both on and off the track.
“All of our advisory board members said that this was the toughest voting scenario they have faced in the seven such annual final ballots they have cast so far,” said Roberts. “All of the semifinalists were exemplary in every facet along the way and were so impressive in their interviews.
“When it got down to making their selections among the group of incredibly talented semifinalists, 14 of the 16 competitors received votes,” Roberts said. “The voting was so tight that a single vote determined the final spot among three drivers. I applaud our board members for doing another magnificent job in deciding our seven drivers for 2022.
“We know that there are seven extremely happy young drivers out there after hearing our announcement,” said Roberts. “To each of you who will carry Alan’s colors this season, we issue you this challenge:
“Strive to emulate the personal fortitude and dedication that Alan Kulwicki did in becoming a NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer. The 2022 season is monumental with it being the 30th anniversary of Alan’s championship. Take extra pride in being his representative this season and enjoy the prestige that comes with it. Stay classy and make him proud of you, both on and off the track.
“We also know that there are twice that number of drivers who are very disappointed right now,” Roberts offered. “To those competitors, we urge you to take pride in being among our semifinalists this year because the competition was just that tough. There were dozens of drivers considered, but didn’t make it to semifinalist status. Remember that we’ve even had prior finalists to come back a few years later to win the Kulwicki Cup, so never give up. We urge you to take your game up another notch this year. We hope that when the season concludes, you’ll be an improved racer who will consider applying again for our 2023 program.”
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The 2022 season marks the seventh 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 2022 KDDP class will each receive a one-time stipend of $7,777 to cover operational expenses. The organization will work 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 “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.
This year’s Kulwicki Cup titlist will join an illustrious group of former champions that includes Ty Majeski (2015) of Seymour, Wisconsin; Alex Prunty (2016) of Kewaskum, Wisconsin; Cody Haskins (2017) of Marietta, Georgia; Brett Yackey (2018) of Greeley, Colorado; Jeremy Doss (2019) of Upper Lake, California; and Luke Fenhaus (2021) of Wausau, Wisconsin. The program went on hiatus during the 2020 season due to the pandemic.
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 RacingAmerica.com, the organization’s official media partner.