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2024 Kulwicki Driver Development Program Finalists Announced

The Kulwicki Driver Development Program has announced its seven finalists for the 2024 season.


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Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the 2024 racing season. These promising grass roots racers will be helping keep the memory and legacy of 1992 NASCAR Cup Champion and Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki alive, while also competing for the rich and prestigious annual Kulwicki Cup Championship.

The drivers range in age from 15 to 26 years and represent seven different states.

The seven finalists, in alphabetical order with hometown, background and social media information are:

Chase Burda: Lapeer, Michigan -- 19 (12/30/04) -- 2023 JEGS/CRA Series Champion -- Winner of the Master of the Pros Series Race at Owosso Speedway -- Running several special Pro and Super Late Model Races throughout 2024 including Money in the Bank and Battle at Berlin at Berlin Raceway -- also plans to run the Winchester 400 and the All American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds among other races. Facebook: Chase Burda Motorsports Twitter: @chaseburda18 Instagram: @chaseburdamotorsports

Ty Fredrickson: Webster, Minnesota -- 15 (3/16/09) -- Son of Dan Fredrickson; scored his first podium in his first ASA Midwest Tour Start at Oktoberfest in 2023. Started his 2024 season at Speedweeks in New Smyrna -- He will be running the entire ASA Midwest Tour Schedule in 2024, aiming for Rookie of the Year honors and will also be competing in many SLM races in the Upper Midwest.. Facebook Ty Fredrickson Racing Twitter: @tyfredrickson36 Instagram: @tyfredrickson36

Derek Gluchacki: Dartmouth, Massachusetts -- 22 (10/23/01) -- 2023 KDDP Semifinalist -- Two-time defending Northeast Classic Winner at New Hampshire for the American Canadian Tour -- Won two Races on the ACT Tour last year -- Plans to run the entire 2024 ACT Tour -- Also plans to go for the Late Model Championship at Thompson Speedway and compete in the Walls Ford Championship at White Mountain Motorsports Park in a four-race series. Facebook: Derek Gluchacki Racing Twitter: @DerekGluchacki Instagram: @derek.gluchacki

Evan Goetz: Okanogan, Washington -- 16 (9/19/07) -- Became the youngest winner ever in the Fall Classic at Tri-City Raceway in 2023 -- Running the Full Northwest Super Late Model Tour as well as selected big Pro Late Model Races across the Pacific Northwest. Facebook: Evan Goetz Racing Twitter: @evangoetzracing Instagram: @evangoetzracing

Max Kahler: Caledonia, Illinois -- 20 (4/9/03) -- 2021 KDDP Finalist -- 2020 National Short Track Champion -- 2023 UMA Super Late Model Champion -- Running the full ASA Midwest Tour schedule and the Alive for Five Series races at Dells Raceway -- Plans to run the Slinger Nationals and also select Tundra Series Races. Facebook: Max Kahler Racing Twitter: @max_kahler Instagram: @maxkahler_

Levon Van Der Geest: Merrill, Wisconsin – 19 (4/17/04) --Youngest winner ever at Milwaukee Mile (Midwest Trucks at 15) – 2023 KDDP Finalist made successful transition from trucks to SLM -- Competing in a Super Late Model on the ASA Midwest Tour, Golden Sands & Dells Raceway (Alive for 5 Series) along with the Slinger Nationals – Engineering student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Facebook: Van Der Geest Racing Twitter: @Levon231 Instagram: @levon_vdg

Brandon Varney: Auburn, Maine - 26 (7/27/97) -- Won in his second-ever career Super Late Model start at Oxford Plains Speedway – Small family-run team competing in the Oxford Weekly Series in a Super Late Model – Also running select PASS Races, including the Oxford 250. Facebook: Varney Racing Twitter: @Varney_Racing Instagram: @varney_racing

“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,” KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts said. “It’s the largest variance in age for a class of drivers (nine years) and it’s the first time in program history that the seven drivers hail from seven different states.

“It will be so exciting to see these promising competitors carrying Alan’s colors from coast to coast in 2024,” Roberts said. “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 agreed that selecting just seven finalists was an arduous decision,” said Roberts. “The consensus was that the selection of these seven finalists posed the most challenging task in the program's history -- the group of semifinalists were just that good. I applaud our voting panel members for doing another magnificent job in deciding our seven drivers for 2024.

“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:

“Push yourself to reach your highest potential this season. Strive to emulate the personal fortitude and dedication that Alan Kulwicki did in becoming a NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer. Stay classy and make him proud of you, both on and off the track.

“To the eight drivers who didn’t advance this year, we urge you to take pride in being among our semifinalists because the competition was so incredibly fierce,” said Roberts. “There were dozens of drivers considered who didn’t make it to semifinalist status. We urge you to take your game up another notch this year. Aim to enhance and develop yourself on and off the track. We hope that when the season concludes, you’ll be an improved racer who will consider applying again for our 2025 program.”

The 2024 season marks the ninth 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 2024 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; Luke Fenhaus (2021) of Wausau, Wisconsin; Dylan Zampa (2022) of Napa, California and Max Cookson (2023) of Palmyra, Maine. The program went on hiatus during the 2020 season due to the pandemic.

RELATED: Cookson, KDDP Class of 2023 Honored at Awards Banquet

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.

Since the beginning of the 2015 racing season, the KDDP has assisted a total of 41 different promising young drivers representing 17 states & two Canadian provinces. The Kulwicki Family has provided $871,024 in combined stipend and championship award funding to those worthy competitors, in addition to immeasurable support with publicity, marketing, sponsorship development, industry networking and relationship building. Through the eight seasons, those 41 drivers have competed in a total of 1,260 races; recording 205 wins, 640 top-five finishes and 892 top-10 finishes.

Roberts added, "Although our organization currently maintains financial stability, our funds are dwindling, prompting us to initiate a comprehensive campaign to secure a significant marketing partner for the future. We firmly believe that with the groundwork we've established over the years, our program holds immense potential to serve as a highly effective marketing asset for a corporate teammate."

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
-Photo credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America

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Chase Burda claimed the 2023 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Championship. (Photo credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America)

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Ty Fredrickson will be running the full ASA Midwest Tour schedule in 2024. (Photo credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America)

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Derek Gluchacki went to victory lane twice on the American-Canadian Tour last year. (Photo credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America)

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16-year-old Evan Goetz will pursue the Northwest Super Late Model Series championship in 2024. (Photo credit: Shari Garber, Northwest Super Late Model Series)

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Max Kahler was a KDDP Finalist in 2021, and now returns for another shot at the Kulwicki Cup. (Racing America photo)

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Levon Van Der Geest is a returning finalist to the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. (Photo credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America)

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Brandon Varney celebrates after a Super Late Model win at Oxford last season. (Photo credit: Sandy Haley Photography)

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