CONCORD, N.C. — Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced today the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the 2018 racing season. These young racers will be helping keep the memory and legacy of 1992 NASCAR Cup Champion Alan Kulwicki alive, while also competing for the rich ($54,439) and prestigious annual Kulwicki Cup Championship.
The seven drivers, in alphabetical order, are:
COLE BUTCHER, 21, PORTER’S LAKE, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA:
The 2016 Maritime Pro Stock Tour (MPST) Champion and 2017 series runner-up, Cole Butcher has seven MPST victories since 2015. Last year, Butcher won his second Atlantic Cat 250 at Scotia (Halifax, NS) Speedworld and made several trips south of the border, posting strong finishes at Oxford Plains Speedway and Hickory Motor Speedway. He also competed in the Snowball Derby for the first time, finishing 15th after a strong early run. Butcher’s family-owned team will compete for the MPST title again in 2018 and will continue a relationship with Donnie Wilson Racing for several U.S. starts, including the All American 400 in Nashville, Tenn., and a return trip to the Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Fla. Butcher returns to the Kulwicki Driver Development Program fold after posting a fourth-place finish in 2017.
JUSTIN CARROLL, 21, CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA:
When all was said and done with the 2017 racing season, Justin Carroll had a most impressive year. Carroll won the CARS Tour “Throwback 276” at Hickory Motor Speedway, racing cleanly while three-wide with his fellow competitors for the final twenty laps before coming out on top. To cap it off, Carroll’s paint scheme that night paid tribute to Wisconsin short track legend Dick Trickle, a longtime on-track rival of Alan Kulwicki and good friend away from the track. A multiple-time winner in both Late Model Stock Cars and Pro Late Models, Carroll and his family-owned team will participate in both CARS Tour and NASCAR Whelen All American Series action again this season. Carroll was a 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program semifinalist.
DEREK GRIFFITH, 21, HUDSON, NEW HAMPSHIRE:
There is perhaps no other Super Late Model racer in the Eastern United States that has put more miles on their hauler over the past two seasons than New Hampshire’s Derek Griffith. Traveling from the snowy North to the World Series of Asphalt Racing in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., the past two winters, Griffith has also come South for several PASS South and National Tour races. He picked up an early season win in February in PASS action at Dillon Motor Speedway, outdueling several of the country’s top Super Late Model teams. A 28-time winner in his career, Griffith will again compete for the PASS North championship, run with the Granite State Pro Stock Series (he is the 2015 series champion), and other races yet to be announced. Griffith was a 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program semifinalist.
MOLLY HELMUTH, 22, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON:
A three-time Most Popular Driver at her home track of Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway, Molly Helmuth is expanding her racing schedule significantly in 2018, both in quantity and geographic area. Helmuth will compete at Evergreen, run in the Northwest Super Late Model Series and venture to compete in the East Coast in CARS Tour Super Late Model Tour action. Helmuth will partner with Will Jones and his J&J Racing Unlimited team for the entire nine-race CARS Tour season. Helmuth is a 2017 graduate of Western Governors University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.
JUSTIN MONDEIK, 21, GLEASON, WISCONSIN:
Over the final two months of the 2017 racing season in the Midwest, very few drivers could have improved more than Wisconsin’s Justin Mondeik. After missing the first ARCA Midwest Tour race of the season and destroying his primary car in a frightening wreck at Gateway International Speedway in June, Mondeik and his family-run team went on a tear. Mondeik rattled off multiple top-10 finishes and greatly improved his qualifying prowess. Mondeik finished 10th in the 2017 ARCA Midwest Tour points and just missed out on the Rookie-of-the-Year crown. In 2018, Mondeik will compete for ARCA Midwest, TUNDRA Series, and State Park (Wausau, Wis.) Speedway championships, plus compete in additional races in Central Wisconsin. He is currently attending Michigan Tech University and is hoping to graduate with a Mechanical Engineering degree in 2019. Mondeik finished fifth in the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program standings.
BRETT YACKEY, 18, GREELEY, COLORADO:
The son of Colorado racing legend Bruce Yackey, Brett Yackey has established himself as a racer to watch heading into the 2018 season. A multiple-time winner at I-25 (Pueblo, Colo.) Speedway, Yackey finished third in the season standings at the highly competitive Colorado National (Dacono, Colo.) Speedway (CNS). A high school senior with a 3.75+ GPA, Yackey will compete for the track title at CNS again in 2018, along with select races at other tracks in the Rocky Mountain region. He was the 2016 NASCAR Whelen All American Series Colorado State Rookie of the Year. Yackey finished a close third in the 2017 Kulwicki Driver Development Program standings.
BRITTNEY ZAMORA, 18, KENNEWICK, WASHINGTON:
A freshman studying Elementary and Special Education at Washington State University, Brittney Zamora burst onto the Super Late Model scene in 2017 with two race wins and the Northwest Super Late Model Series points championship. Zamora was the first female racer to win a SLM championship in the Pacific Northwest. This season, Zamora will race for the track title at Evergreen (Wash.) Speedway and compete in several big shows on the West Coast, including the Montana 200 in Kalispell, Mont., and the Fall Classic at The Bullring in Las Vegas.
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“This is an incredible team of promising young racers that will be carrying Alan’s colors this season,” said Tom Roberts, Executive Director of the KDDP and Kulwicki’s longtime confidant. “Each driver knows how to win races and contend for championships. When you take time to analyze their backgrounds, you have to agree that Alan would approve of all of them. We’re convinced that this could be the most competitive season ever – both on and off the track – for our program. With the current void of rising young women competitors in stock car racing’s big leagues, we are confident that we have two of the most talented females out there who are among our seven drivers. Everyone involved with the KDDP is doing everything they can to help Alan get voted into the NASCAR Hall-of-Fame this year. He is long overdue. That’s one of the first things these seven drivers will be focusing on as they will all be using the hashtag #AK4HOF in their social media activities.