Derek Griffith Carries Alan Kulwicki’s Legacy to New Hampshire for New England Short Track Showdown
Kulwicki Never Raced at NHMS, But Program to Honor Him Could Have a Showdown Winner in Griffith
The late Alan Kulwicki was a NASCAR legend. He moved from his native Wisconsin to the Hollywood of stock car racing in Charlotte, North Carolina with not much more than a dream and a strong work ethic. Two days before that move, his truck had an electrical fire and burned to the ground – so there were not even many tools and racing parts that went south with him. Nevertheless, Kulwicki pressed on. A few years after the move, he won his first NASCAR Cup-level race with his own independent team. A few years after that, he led the same team of underdogs to the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup championship in what was one of the greatest upsets in racing history.
Yet there was one thing that was one thing that Kulwicki never got the chance to do and that was to race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The track was first awarded a NASCAR Cup Series race prior to the 1993 season and Kulwicki planned to enter the event scheduled for July, 1993 as the defending tour champion. Sadly, he lost his life in an aviation accident on April 1st of that year and never got the chance to compete on the Magic Mile. His #7 AK Racing finished out the schedule that year and did run at NHMS with Jimmy Hensley as a substitute driver. They finished 11th together in that first Cup race at NHMS.
Although 25 years have passed, Kulwicki has never been forgotten. His story has inspired countless young racers to follow their dreams and the Kulwicki Driver Development Program was founded to support young drivers in the sport. The program was “established by the family of late NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki to help worthy drivers along the way in reaching their dream…while at the same time keeping Alan Kulwicki’s memory and legacy alive.”
At this coming weekend’s New England Short Track Showdown to be held at NHMS, one of those young drivers selected to be in this season’s lineup of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program will attempt to take Kulwicki’s legacy to a new place. Hudson, New Hampshire’s Derek Griffith is one of the pre-race favorites to win the Granite State Pro Stock Series portion of the Showdown. If Griffith can win, he will bring the Kulwicki logo, which is featured on his #12 Super Late Model, into victory lane for the first time at NHMS.
Griffith heads to NHMS fresh off a third-place finish in Sunday’s Pro All Stars Series North race at Speedway 95 near Bangor, Maine. He has already won one PASS North and one PASS South event in 2018. In 2015, he won the GSPSS championship. Even at just 21 years old, Griffith is acknowledged as being one of the hottest Super Late Model drivers in the country.
His run in last year’s inaugural Showdown was over just about the time that it began, leaving plenty of promise unfilled. This year, Griffith hopes to be just as quick at NHMS, but also plans to be around at the end of the race.
“We were really good last year, but ran into a lap one incident that there was no avoiding,” Griffith recently said in a video posted to the series website “A car blew up in front of me and there was nowhere to go.”
The second annual New England Short Track Showdown will take place on Saturday, June 23rd and Sunday, June 24th. Tickets and pit passes are available online. The link to the ticket sales can be found by visiting or on the New England Short Track Showdown Facebook page.
The New England Short Track Showdown is an event made up of four races that feature the cornerstone types of cars in New England asphalt short track racing. Tour-type Modifieds compete with the Valenti Modified Racing Series, Pro Stocks/Super Late Models compete with the Granite State Pro Stock Tour, Street Stocks compete with the Street Stock Showdown Series and Mini Stocks compete with the North East Mini Stock Tour.
Sponsorship and marketing packages for the New England Short Track Showdown are also available to companies of all sizes and can be tailored to you’re the needs and budget of your company. For more information, please contact Bob Guptill at 207-577-2681.
For more information on the New England Short Track Showdown, please visit