2022 Kulwicki Driver Development Program Semifinalists Announced

The seven drivers who will represent KDDP in 2022 will come from a diverse group of 16 semifinalists.

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CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 23, 2022) – The seven drivers who will represent the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) for its monumental 2022 racing season will come from a diverse group of 16 semifinalists that were announced today on official media partner RacingAmerica.com Powered by Speed51.TV. The racers range from 15 to 25 years of age and represent 10 different states and one Canadian province.

“The aspiration to be a KDDP driver and a member of Alan’s team has never been stronger than it is today,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “With all the history riding with our program this year, that sentiment is certainly magnified heading into the 2022 season.”

After sifting through all the numerous applications received, a preliminary examination to eliminate those unqualified for various reasons was done. Further scrutinizing narrowed the applicants to a group of 45 who received full review and consideration by the board members. Each member submitted a list of their top-15 applicants. There were 33 different competitors who received votes to be among the semifinalists during the board’s voting process and the top-16 received at least three votes each.

READ MORE: 2022 Kulwicki Driver Development Program Will Carry Historical Significance

“Our board members did an absolutely incredible job in choosing these 16 semifinalists,” Roberts said. “I honestly would have welcomed any of the applicants that the board considered into the group of semifinalists. While they were able to narrow it down to these 16 drivers, there were at least another 16 who would have been quality candidates for the seven finalist spots we will be filling for the 2022 season.”

The 16 KDDP semifinalists for 2022 include, in alphabetical order:

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 BORST: Elon, North Carolina – 17 (5/11/2004) – Late Model Stock Car – Top rookie & points runner-up at South Boston Speedway in 2021 – Plans on racing NASCAR sanctioned events including all races at South Boston & Virginia Triple Crown Series – Twitter: @borst25 Instagram: @jacobborst25

CHAD BUTZ: Green Bay, Wisconsin – 22 (11/23/1999) – Former KDDP Semifinalist – 2021 SLM Champion at Norway Speedway – Plans to run all ARCA Midwest Tour races chasing ROY honors and run select events at Norway Speedway & Wisconsin International Raceway – Twitter: @Chad_Butz_8

NICK EGAN: Lomira, Wisconsin – 25 (5/13/1996) – Former KDDP Semifinalist – Super Late Model & Pro Late Model – Former ROY in Big 8 Series & Midwest Trucks with multi feature wins at multiple tracks – Plans to race TUNDRA, JEGS CRA Pro Late Models & Slinger special shows – Twitter & Instagram: @nickegan13

MAX KAHLER: Caledonia, Illinois – 18 (4/9/2003) – 2021 KDDP Finalist – Super Late Model & Pro/Limited Late Model – 2020 Big 8 Series Champion & 2020 National Short Track Championship race winner – Plans on running Alive for 5 SLM Series, TUNDRA SLM, several ARCA Midwest Tour races & select Big 8 events – Twitter: @max_kahler

RYAN KUHN: East Bridgewater, Massachusetts – 20 (3/1/2001) – 2021 KDDP Finalist – Super Late Model, Pro Late Model & Late Model Stocks – Former Seekonk Speedway Champion & accomplished sim racer – Plans to run in all 11 Pro All Star Series (PASS) National races and in 7 select American Canadian Tour races, with 5 additional tentative shows – Twitter: @RyanKuhnRacing Instagram: @ryankuhn72

AUSTIN MACDONALD: Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada – 18 (8/27/2003) – Super Late Model & Pro/Limited Late Model – Three-time US Legends Champion turned to Pro All Star Series (PASS North) competition & finished 4th, 3rd & 2nd in first 3 races – Planning on racing PASS National, CARS Tour Pro Late Model & Maritime Pro Stock Tour – Instagram: @austinmacdonaldracing13

ZACK MIRACLE: Monroe, North Carolina – 15 (5/9/2006) – Late Model Stock Car – 2019 US Legends Champion turned to LMSC competition at Hickory Motor Speedway, recording 6 wins & multiple poles; finished P-2 in Icebreaker 125 at Florence earlier this month – Plans on running entire 2022 Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour Late Model Stock Series & select shows – Instagram: @zackmiracle__

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 – 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) – 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

DANIEL SILVESTRI: Ashburn, Virginia – 19 (11/12/2002) – Late Model Stock Car – Started in Bandoleros & Legends at Southside Speedway; Won CARS Tour LMSC race at Dominion Raceway last season & pole at Martinsville – Plans to run for Dominion track championship & Martinsville; hopes to add several big CARS Tour LMSC shows – Twitter: @97DanielSilv Instagram: @danielsilvestriracing

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

HUNTER WRIGHT: Gladeville, Tennessee – 21 (1/4/2001) – Former KDDP Semifinalist – Pro Late Model – The 2019 Tennessee State Champ in the U.S. Legends & National runner-up moved to Pro Late Models & claimed Nashville Fairgrounds ROY Title in 2020; raced select events around country in 2021, including New Smyrna, Nashville & Winchester – Plans on running PLM at Nashville, Montgomery & Winchester – Twitter: @HunterWright29

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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“It promises to be a monumental year, not only for the KDDP, but for the memory of Alan and his incredible career,” Roberts said. “The 2022 season will mark the seventh edition of our program and it will carry extra historical significance in that it will occur during the 30th Anniversary of Alan Kulwicki’s amazing run to the 1992 NASCAR Cup Championship. We’re also going full steam ahead with our restoration project of the “Underbird,” the authentic No. 7 Hooters Ford Thunderbird that Kulwicki drove to the title on November 15, 1992, at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Being selected as a finalist for the Kulwicki program and carrying the KDDP colors has always been a distinguished honor, but to be a member of Alan’s seventh class of drivers will be extra special,” added Roberts. “I’m sure they’ll all be walking with an additional swagger in their steps.

“While I’m certain that all 16 of these young racers are thrilled to be among our semifinalists, I want to extend a special message to all of the other applicants who were not selected,” said Roberts. “Keep honing your skills on and off the track, keep chasing those checkered flags and please consider applying again for the 2023 edition of our program. Just having the semifinalist status is truly an accomplishment and something to be very proud of.

“The next step in the process to determine the 2022 KDDP class are the interview sessions the board members will be having with each of the 16 semifinalists,” Roberts said. “While our board is getting to know the semifinalists, we encourage everyone to follow these 16 young racers on Twitter and other social media platforms. They are all outstanding young people that have accomplished a great deal in their short careers.”

Driver interviews will take place next week. After a final review and vote by the advisory board, the 2022 KDDP team of seven drivers is scheduled to be announced on Wednesday, March 23. The finalists will be announced live and interviewed on that day’s edition of “The Bullring” on official media partner Racing America Powered by Speed51.TV.

The seven selected drivers 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.” The Kulwicki Cup winner will pick up an additional check worth seven times the initial award ($7,777 x 7 = $54,439) and a special unique trophy.

READ MORE: Luke Fenhaus Claims 2021 "Kulwicki Cup" Championship

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 2022 KDDP Kulwicki Cup Champion will join the distinguished group of former titlists that includes Ty Majeski (2015), Alex Prunty (2016), Cody Haskins (2017), Brett Yackey (2018), Jeremy Doss (2019) and Luke Fenhaus (2021).

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 Release