Family members of 1992 NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki announced today the establishment of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP). A formal announcement is to come this evening in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“This is a great way to help some worthy driver along the way in reaching their dream, while at the same time keeping Alan’s memory and legacy alive moving forward,” said Thelma H. Kulwicki, the late driver/team owner’s step-mother and Board of Directors member for the project. “Alan will always be remembered as a driver whose level of intelligence, dedication and determination helped him achieve the pinnacle of success.
“At the same time, Alan was always a giving person who was so appreciative of the support he received along his journey to the top,” Mrs. Kulwicki said. “This new program is appropriate in supporting what Alan believed in and will be effective in keeping his dream alive. To be able to help some racer get an opportunity that he or she otherwise would not have is something that Alan would fully endorse.”
While the new program is still in its formative stages, some key players associated with the project were identified today.
Tom Roberts, who served as Kulwicki’s advisor and public relations representative throughout his NASCAR career, was appointed executive director for the KDDP. Paul Andrews, crew chief for Kulwicki’s 1992 championship team, and Tony Gibson, car chief for the ’92 crew, were the first advisory board members named.
“Thelma Kulwicki is to be commended for taking what was just an idea and making it come to fruition today,” said Roberts, who was active in the racing careers of not only Kulwicki, but those of Bobby Allison, Dick Trickle, Rusty Wallace and Kurt Busch. “There are so many folks we hope to get involved with the project, especially from the racing and business communities. It is so fitting that we will have forever-friends like Paul Andrews and Tony Gibson among the advisory board members from the very start of the program.
“This program is an excellent way of helping some promising young driver out, while continuing to educate folks as to who Alan Kulwicki was and what he stood for as a driver and as a person,” offered Andrews, general manager and crew chief for Cunningham Motorsports. “I am excited to be involved and honored to be a member of the advisory board.”
“I think what Thelma and the family are doing here is one of the most heart-warming and honorable things ever done in racing,” said Gibson, who currently serves as crew chief for Danica Patrick at Stewart-Haas Racing. “Alan would definitely give this program the thumbs up. I am eager to help get it going and maintain an active role in its future.”
The full advisory board will be named in upcoming months. It will include Kulwicki’s former colleagues, members of the NASCAR racing community, business leaders and legal, accounting and financial professionals.
The board will work together in formulating the criteria for the selection process. It will work as a team in identifying aspiring driver/candidates, providing sponsorships and providing publicity for the drivers and the program. It will also offer a networking system to build industry relationships for the drivers and provide strategic ideas for the direction of the program.
The KDDP is expected to be fully up and running in 2015. When completely functional, the non-profit organization will provide a host of funding and services to worthy drivers. The program will provide financial support in covering operational expenses, transportation costs, entry fees and assistance with necessary equipment. It will also provide other resources such as sponsorship and business education and industry networking and relationship building.
In upcoming weeks, the KDDP will be extremely active in creating a web presence. In addition to launching a new website, the organization will also utilize social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.