CONCORD, N.C. – The 2022 edition of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP), the seventh year of the program, will carry extra historical significance in that it will occur during the 30th Anniversary of Alan Kulwicki’s incredible run to the 1992 NASCAR Cup Championship.
The 2022 KDDP racing season will also coincide with a project aimed at refurbishing the “Underbird,” the authentic No. 7 Hooters Ford Thunderbird that Kulwicki drove to the title on November 15, 1992, at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“The stage is set for the biggest and most historical year in our program’s history,” said Tom Roberts, executive director of the KDDP. “The 2022 season will mark the 30th anniversary of Alan’s remarkable 1992 NASCAR campaign, which saw the ultimate underdog come out on top.
“We’re sure that there will be tremendous reflection on what occurred three decades ago during the racing season,” Roberts said. “That will certainly include much focus on the 1992 NASCAR finale at Atlanta, where Alan claimed the unexpected title by the thinnest of margins, while seven-time champion Richard Petty made his final start and racing future star Jeff Gordon made his first.”
Adding to all the intrigue will be the fact that the 2022 season will be the seventh in the program’s history. The foundation and fundamentals of the KDDP revolve around the number 7, with seven drivers selected who receive a $7,777 stipend check. Those seven finalists compete for seven months in quest of the rich and prestigious Kulwicki Cup Championship, worth seven times the original stipend ($54,439).
“While we experienced a forced hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, it worked to align the stars and produce the unique historical scenario we’ll enjoy in 2022,” said Roberts. “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. I’m sure they’ll all be walking with an additional swagger in their steps.
“While our seven-driver KDDP team for 2022 will be busy competing on and off the track for the coveted annual Kulwicki Cup title, there will be a huge ongoing effort to fund the refurbishing of Alan’s ‘Underbird,’” Roberts stated. “Our organization was thrilled to accomplish our initial goal of acquiring this famous car and delivering it to its final resting place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame earlier this year. The final step will be getting it in the necessary condition to be a permanent fixture there. The ‘Underbird’ is currently housed in the highly secured basement ‘vault area’ at the Hall and it was certainly a thrill for our 2021 KDDP class members to see it up close and get a group photo taken with it. Stay tuned for additional details of this effort as we move forward.”
Next year’s Kulwicki Cup Champion will join the illustrious 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).
Applications for the KDDP’s 2022 edition of the are being accepted online now and the deadline for receiving applications is Sunday, Jan. 9. You can access the application here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScpaSKR046OaIGZe7X3vEXcrjRBvlpc-CjIp5E4Ewn7_1FYtQ/viewform
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.