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2023 Kulwicki Driver Development Program Semifinalists Announced

The racers range from 15 to 23 years of age and represent 10 different states from coast to coast.


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CONCORD, N.C. (March 16, 2023) – The seven drivers who will represent the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) for the 2023 racing season will come from a diverse group of 15 semifinalists that were announced today on official media partner RacingAmerica.com. The racers range from 15 to 23 years of age and represent 10 different states from coast to coast.

“The desire to carry Alan’s colors and be a member of the Kulwicki team continues to grow each and every year,” said KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts. “The 2023 season marks our eighth season of assisting promising young racers and the interest in our program continues on an upward spiral.

“After a monumental season in 2022 – held during the 30th anniversary of Alan’s remarkable run to the 1992 NASCAR Championship – we really didn’t know what to expect for 2023,” Roberts said. “The response was amazing as the appeal of our program received such a boost from last year’s battle for the Kulwicki Cup which concluded with a highly-publicized awards banquet in Charlotte.

“Racers from all across North America saw what occurred last season and aspired to be selected as a finalist for 2023. They know how much the KDDP experience has meant to many high-profile racers out there today and responded in both quantity and quality of applications.”

A vetting process narrowed the number of total applicants to a group of 54 who received full review and consideration by the KDDP board members. Each board member submitted a list of their top-15 applicants. There were 34 different competitors who received votes to be among the semifinalists.

“There were so many talented young racers who applied this time around that selecting just 15 was an incredibly difficult task,” said Roberts. “I would have welcomed any and all of the applicants that the board considered into the group of semifinalists. We honestly could have had another group of 15 drivers who would have been quality candidates to consider for the seven finalist spots we will be filling for the 2023 season.”

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The 15 KDDP semifinalists for 2023 include, in alphabetical order:

JACKSON BOONE: Franklin, Tennessee – 22 (3/10/2000) – 2019 Nashville Fairgrounds PLM Champion was competitive everywhere he ran in 2022 – Won at Nashville & finished 3rd in 2022 KDDP standings – Plans to run mixture of Pro Late Model & Super Late Model races at Nashville & across Southeast -- Twitter & Instagram: @jacksonboone7

JACOB BORST: Elon, North Carolina – 18 (5/11/2004) – 2022 KDDP Semifinalist --Top rookie & points runner-up at South Boston Speedway in 2021 -- Feature winner & 3rd in 2022 points – Plans on racing NASCAR LMSC events at numerous tracks, plus select CARS Tour LMSC races – Twitter: @borst25 Instagram: @jacobborst25

KYLE CAMPBELL: Conover, North Carolina – 20 (8/20/2003) – The 2017 Allison Legacy Series Champion made the transition to Pro Late Models and won twice in PLM competition while operating on a small budget – Plans on competing on the entire CARS Tour PLM Series, plus several Carolina Pro Late Model races – Twitter & Instagram: @Kyle_campbell03

MAX COOKSON: Palmyra, Maine – 20 (5/5/ 2003) – 2022 Oxford Plains Speedway Champion won in his SLM debut after much success in modifieds (2021 PASS Modified Champion) – Plans on running the entire Pro All Stars Series, as well as weekly races at Oxford Plains & select GSPSS events – Twitter: @MaxJCookson Instagram: @MaxCookson39

DEREK GLUCHACKI: Dartmouth, Massachusetts – 21 (10/23/01) – Winner of the American Canadian Tour Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway & multi-race winner at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park – Plans to compete in both ACT races and Monaco Open Modified Series – Twitter: @DerekGluchacki Instagram: @derek.gluchacki

CASSIDY HINDS: Arvada, Colorado – 19 (7/31/2003) – Began in open-wheel racing, before winning in Pro-Trucks at Colorado National -- Top-finishing female driver ever in Spears SRL Pro Late Models (2nd at Kern County Raceway in 2022) – Plans on racing SLM & Pro-Trucks at CNS, as well as select events along the SRL Tour – Twitter: @CHindsRacing Instagram: @cassidyhindsracing

KYLIE ITH: Grantsville, Utah – 18 (9/7/2004) – 2022 NASCAR Nevada State Rookie of the Year -- 2 feature wins in 2022 Jr. Late models & multiple top-5s in PLM – Plans to compete in PLM at Irwindale & Kern County as well as full season at LVMS Bullring chasing the championship – Twitter: @RacingWfo Instagram: @wforacing19

CADEN KVAPIL: Mooresville, North Carolina – 16 (12/10/2006) – Has won in every level up the racing ladder & came on strong in Pro Late Models in 2022 – Won CARS Tour PLM races at Ace & Caraway in 2022 & a top challenger for points title – Plans on running the entire CARS Tour PLM schedule, plus additional PLM & SLM events – Twitter: @CadenKvapil Instagram: cadenkvapil

KENNA MITCHELL: Loomis, California – 17 (3/6/2006) –
Pro Late Model multiple-race winner at All American Speedway (2nd in points) will be making debut in Super Late Models in 2023 – Plans to race PLM at Madera, Irwindale & Roseville, plus SLM in Wild West Super Series at All American Speedway – Instagram: @kennamitchell_7

BOSTON OLIVER: Murfreesboro, Tennessee – 15 (6/27/2007) –
Honed his skills in racing Quarter Midgets & then Legends at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway – Moved up to Pro Late Models and out to prove himself in 2022 – Plans on running entire Nashville schedule, plus races at Pensacola and Montgomery – Twitter: @BostonOliver88 Instagram: @bostonoliver_88

HAEDEN PLYBON: Spokane, Washington – 19 (11/15/2003) –
Race winner & points runner-up in 2022 Northwest Super Late Model Series – 2022 Idaho 200 Winner – 4th in 2022 KDDP standings – Plans on running entire NWSLMS, plus special events in the Northwest & return trip to Snowball Derby – Twitter: @HaedenPlybon Instagram: @haeden55

EVAN SHOTKO: Coopersville, Michigan – 19 (7/4/2003) –
2022 Berlin Raceway track champion won the Battle at Berlin 250 & finished as 2022 KDDP runner-up – Plans on running in both PLM & SLM competition with complete schedule to be announced – Twitter: @EvanShotko22 Instagram: @shotko_racing

RILEY STENJEM: Utica, Wisconsin – 23 (12/22/1999) –
2021 TUNDRA Champion & race winner – finished 3rd in 2022 standings – 6th in 2022 KDDP standings -- Mechanical Engineering Degree from Milwaukee School of Engineering – Plans to run entire ASA Midwest Tour, plus selected SLM “big shows” in the Midwest – Twitter & Instagram: @77stenjem77

LEVON VAN DER GEEST: Merrill, Wisconsin – 18 (4/17/04) --Youngest winner ever at Milwaukee Mile (Midwest Trucks at 15) – Made successful transition from trucks to SLM -- Competing in SLM on Midwest Tour and at Slinger – Engineering student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee – Twitter: @LevonVan Instagram: @levon_vdg

HUNTER WRIGHT: Gladeville, Tennessee – 22 (1/4/2001) – Multi-time KDDP Semifinalist – Feature winner & points runner-up at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in 2022 -- 2019 Legends State Champ & National runner-up -- 2020 Nashville PLM ROY – Plans on running numerous PLM events (full Nashville schedule) & select SLM races -- Twitter: @HunterWright29 Instagram: @hunter_wright29

“While we’re certain that all 15 of these young racers are extremely thrilled to be among our semifinalists, we want to extend a special message to all of the other applicants who were not selected,” said Roberts. “Just having the semifinalist status is truly an accomplishment and something to be very proud of. Keep honing your skills on and off the track, keep chasing those checkered flags and please consider applying again for the 2024 edition of our program.

“Carrying the KDDP colors as a Kulwicki Cup finalist has always been a distinguished honor and it’s impressive to consider the rich history of our program,” added Roberts. “A perfect example was reflected in last weekend’s inaugural ASA STARS National Tour race at Pensacola where three of the top-five finishers were KDDP alumni. We’re so proud of all the drivers who have worn Alan’s colors through the years.

“The next step in the process to determine the 2023 KDDP class is the interview sessions the board members will be having with all of the semifinalists,” Roberts said. “While our board is getting to know the drivers better, we encourage everyone to follow these 15 young racers on Twitter and other social media platforms. They are all outstanding young people that have accomplished a great deal already in their short careers.”

After the interviews are completed, a final review and vote by the advisory board will be held. The 2023 KDDP team of seven drivers is scheduled to be announced on RacingAmerica.com during the first week of April.

The seven finalists 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.

This year’s Kulwicki Cup competition will go from April 14 through November 14. 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 has a proven track record, assisting a total of 38 different promising young drivers (representing 17 states & two Canadian provinces) entering the 2023 season. The Kulwicki estate has provided $762,146 in combined stipend and championship award funding in addition to all of the immeasurable off-track support provided by the organization. Through 2022 (seven seasons), those 38 KDDP drivers have competed in a total of 1,105 races; recording 178 wins, 554 top-five finishes and 797 top-10 finishes.

“While our organization is currently financially solid, our funding is depleting and we are launching a full-scale effort to unite with a major presenting marketing partner for the future,” Roberts said. “We’re confident that with the foundation we’ve laid over the years, our program can be an extremely effective marketing tool for a corporate partner to utilize.”

The 2023 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), Luke Fenhaus (2021) and Dylan Zampa (2022).

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