CONCORD, N.C. (November 18, 2022) – Dylan Zampa, a rising young racing star from Napa, California, has won the 2022 Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) Kulwicki Cup Championship. The 18-year-old driver excelled on and off the track during the seven months of this year’s competition to claim the rich and prestigious title that honors 1992 NASCAR Champion and 2019 NASCAR Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki.
Evan Shotko, a hard-charging 19-year-old future star from Coopersville, Michigan, made a strong charge during the final half of the season to finish second in the standings. Franklin, Tennessee’s promising racer Jackson Boone finished third; with Spokane, Washington’s Haeden Plybon fourth; Stoughton, Wisconsin’s Jacob Nottestad fifth; his Stoughton neighbor Riley Stenjem sixth; and Harrison, Maine’s Kate Re seventh.
After the third ballots were tabulated (first two votes averaged & final vote added), here are the final 2022 Kulwicki Cup point standings:
1st - Dylan Zampa - 1,159
2nd - Evan Shotko - 943
3rd - Jackson Boone - 859
4th - Haeden Plybon - 597
5th - Jacob Nottestad - 505
6th - Riley Stenjem - 415
7th - Kate Re - 207
“Dylan Zampa proved to be our KDDP’s most complete representative this season, getting the job done on the race track and doing exemplary work off the track as well,” said Tom Roberts, KDDP Executive Director. “Dylan embodied the Kulwicki spirit in every way and his impressive efforts were noticed and rewarded by our organization’s voting board members.”
In 26 races during the seven-month battle for the Kulwicki Cup (from April 1 through October 31), Zampa recorded 13 wins and 15 top-five finishes. He raced primarily in Pro Late Model competition, but also made his debut in Super Late Models this year. Zampa dominated in NASCAR Weekly Series action at All American Speedway in Roseville, California, winning 11 of 13 races and claiming the track’s Late Model title. He also competed in all 11 races on the SPEARS SRL Pro Late Model Series schedule (from February 5 through November 12), scoring four wins, six top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He finished second in the series point standings.
Zampa’s off-track representation of Kulwicki and the program was a whirlwind of activities that included benefit raffles, numerous charity events, routine volunteer work at his local food bank and regular visits to Ronald McDonald House locations. His efforts raised more than $15,000 and included a season-long fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
“Dylan was the only return member to our KDDP team of drivers this year and it was evident that his prior experience last season was very beneficial,” Roberts said. “He’s a second-generation racer and has received much tutoring from family members, along with 2019 Kulwicki Cup Champion Jeremy Doss and his father, Mike Doss. Dylan’s participation in our 2021 program saw him finish runner-up to Luke Fenhaus for the title and proved to be a great training ground for this year’s competition.
“Overall, this was one of the best classes in our program’s history,” added Roberts. “They exerted so much positive energy and our board members enjoyed cheering them on throughout the season. Alan would have been proud of them all and we certainly are.”
Zampa becomes the third driver during the seven-year history of the KDDP to take the points lead early and hold it all the way to win the Kulwicki Cup title. Inaugural champion Ty Majeski accomplished the feat in 2015 and Fenhaus led from beginning to end last year.
The seven-driver 2022 KDDP team combined for an impressive 31 wins, 58 top-five finishes and 76 top-10s in 119 races during the seven months of competition. Here’s a look at the on-track statistics for the season:
COMPETITION POINTS TABULATED FROM DRIVER’S BEST 15 FINISHES (FINAL):
1. Dylan Zampa – 142 points
13 wins, 15 top 5s, 15 top 10s
2. Evan Shotko – 114 points
8 wins, 14 top 5s, 15 top 10s
3. Jackson Boone – 91 points
3 wins, 11 top 5s, 14 top 10s
4. Haeden Plybon – 74 points
4 wins, 8 top 5s, 9 top 10s
5. Jacob Nottestad – 66 points
3 wins, 6 top 10s, 8 top 10s
6. Riley Stenjem – 60 points
0 wins, 4 top 5s, 12 top 10s
7. Kate Re – 24 points
0 wins, 0 top 5s, 3 top 10s
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The KDDP points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance. Voters are asked to rank the drivers from first to seventh in their job of representing the organization and points (from 70 for first to 10 for seventh) are awarded for those rankings. Each voter is given 10 discretionary “bonus” points to award the drivers for “exceptional contributions” to the program. Community engagement, program representation and social media activities account for much of those points. The remainder of the points come from actual racing statistics (based on each driver’s best 15 race finishes). 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.
During the annual competition, two regular season rounds of judging points are averaged (however, bonus points continue to accrue) and added to a final round of voters’ judging points. The overall competition points (maximum 150 points for 15 wins) are applied and the driver with the largest points total will be the Kulwicki Cup Champion.
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The 2022 season marked the seventh full year for the KDDP as the program was on hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic. 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 Champion picks up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy.
Through the KDDP’s first seven seasons, the organization has assisted a total of 38 different promising young racers representing 17 states and two Canadian provinces. Funded by the Kulwicki estate, the KDDP has provided $762,146 in combined stipend and championship award funding ($326,634 in each) to those worthy competitors. The 38 drivers have competed in a total of 1,105 races; recording 178 wins, 554 top-five finishes and 797 top-10 finishes. Through the years, KDDP finalists have claimed numerous track and series titles and have scored wins in many of North America’s biggest races.
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Zampa joins the illustrious list of KDDP champions which includes Ty Majeski (inaugural 2015 season), Alex Prunty (2016), Cody Haskins (2017), Brett Yackey (2018), Jeremy Doss (2019) and Luke Fenhaus (2021). There was no 2020 program due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Zampa and the six other drivers representing the 2022 KDDP Class will be recognized during the organization’s annual awards banquet that is set for Wednesday, December 14, in The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. On what would have been Alan Kulwicki’s 68th birthday, Zampa will be presented the coveted Kulwicki Cup Trophy and the champion’s check for $54,439. The celebration will feature a live RacingAmerica.TV broadcast.
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.
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release