Alex Prunty after winning this year at his home track of Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin.
(Photo courtesy Alex Prunty Racing)

Wisconsin native Alex Prunty wins Kulwicki Cup Championship

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It has been 24 years since Alan Kulwicki won the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup championship. He died in a plane crash less than five months later on April 1, 1993.

But the legacy of Kulwicki continues with the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) and the Kulwicki Cup Championship.

The organization announced Wednesday that Alex Prunty, a Wisconsin native like Kulwicki, was named the 2016 Kulwicki Cup Champion.

Prunty, 24, of Lomira, Wisc., defeated runner-up Dave Farrington Jr., of Jay, Maine, 533 points to 525 in the seven-driver field.

The points for the championship are determined not only by on-track performance during the 2016 season, but also by each driver’s community involvement, social media interaction and off-track projects.

The final outcome was determined by an advisory board, as well as 2015 KDDP inaugural Kulwicki Cup Champion Ty Majeski.

2015 KDDP Logo for letterhead

“The battle for this year’s Kulwicki Cup title was as exciting and intense as it could be,” KDDP Executive Director Tom Roberts said in a media release. “Unlike last season when our champion (Majeski) had such a spectacular fall that he distanced himself from the competition, this contest was incredibly close and went down to the wire.

“The final point standings certainly reflect the importance of everything that goes into winning our prestigious award. It’s not just what you do on the race track that counts. Our mission is to help worthy drivers toward reaching their dreams while at the same time keeping Alan Kulwicki’s memory and legacy alive. I think our board and Ty did an excellent job in keeping that goal paramount in this undertaking.”

The final 2016 KDDP “Kulwicki Cup” point standings:

1) – Alex Prunty – 533
2) – Dave Farrington Jr. – 525
3) – Michael Ostdiek — 496
4) – Jeremy Doss – 488
5) – Brandon Setzer – 246
6) – Cody Haskins – 204
7) – Quin Houff – 175

Prunty competed in Super Late Models in 2016 and won races at Slinger Speedway and Dells Raceway Park in his home state. He also earned Rookie of the Year honors at Slinger and finished third in the track’s Super Late Model division.

Farrington, who was the only driver to compete for the Kulwicki Cup in both 2015 and 2016, won five races and garnered 18 top-five finishes this season, including wins at his home track, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.

“Alan would have been so proud of all of these racers,” Roberts said of Kulwicki. “When you look back on the season, each of them certainly benefitted from our support and progressed in some unique fashion during the year.”

Prunty and the other six drivers in the 2016 KDDP class will be recognized at the organization’s banquet on Dec. 14 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which would have been Kulwicki’s 62nd birthday.

Prunty will receive a winner’s check of $54,439 and the Kulwicki Cup Champion’s trophy.

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In need of a wedding singer? Call Steven Tyler

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 05:  Singer Steven Tyler performs during his "Out on a Limb" tour at the Dolby Theatre on July 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA)
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA
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Steven Tyler has performed with Aerosmith in a video for ESPN back when it broadcast NASCAR races. Tyler also has performed before the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Now, he’s played Kurt Busch‘s wedding.

What more is left for the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer?

Tyler performed at a celebration for the marriage of Kurt and Ashley Busch earlier this month. Kurt Busch posted a photo of the evening.

That NASCAR-themed video Tyler did with Aerosmith for the 2007 season? Here it is:

Before he performed at Bristol in Aug. 2015, Tyler met Richard Petty:

Chip Ganassi Racing adds competition director

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Team owner Chip Ganassi looks on as drivers perpare on Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing has hired Mark McArdle to be its competition director, a new position for the organization.

McArlde will oversee the team’s two Cup teams — Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray — and its Xfinity operation, which features Brennan Poole, Tyler Reddick, Justin Marks and Larson.

McArdle had been with Roush Fenway Racing. He joined the team in Nov. 2014 to oversee engineering for its Cup and Xfinity programs. He previously had been director of racing operations at Richard Childress Racing, joining that organization in April 2013. He spent four years before that at Furniture Row Racing, overseeing the team’s competition department.

At Ganassi, McArdle will report to Max Jones, team manager.

Last year marked the first time in the team’s history that it had two cars make the Cup playoffs. Both Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray, though, failed to advance from the first round. Larson, who had one win, finished ninth in the points. McMurray, who was winless, placed 13th.

“I think everybody in the building feels like we took a good step forward last year,’’ said Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing. “We’re not happy with the step we took. We have more to do. So, being able to bring more of the leadership into the building that can focus on how we get there, the process that we need, we continue to bring on more people.

“I think Max feels like another person can help us make sure that everybody is focused on the right thing and we’re not wasting time and resources. Mark brings a tremendous amount of expertise to continue that growth that we’ve seen.’’

JR Motorsports to keep championship-contending tandem together

SPARTA, KY - JULY 07:  Elliott Sadler, driver of the #1 OneMain Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2016 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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JR Motorsports confirmed Tuesday that crew chief Kevin Meendering will remain with Elliott Sadler this season.

Meendering and Sadler recorded three Xfinity wins last year in their first season together. Meendering also helped Sadler score a career-best 29 top-10 results and finish runner-up for the series title to Daniel Suarez.

The announcement was included in a team release about Hunt Brothers Pizza serving as the primary sponsor for Sadler’s car in two races in each of the next two seasons.

Wood Brothers give a tour of new race shop

LOUDON, NH - JULY 15:  Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16, 2016 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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The Wood Brothers begin this season not only with a charter but with a new home.

The team had shared a building with JTG Daugherty in Harrisburg, North Carolina, but moved after last season to a shop in Mooresville, North Carolina. The move puts the Wood Brothers closer to Team Penske. The two organizations are aligned.

The Wood Brothers will again have Ryan Blaney as driver. The team also has a charter, leasing it from Go Fas Racing. That means the Wood Brothers team is guaranteed a starting spot in every Cup race this year, unlike last year when they did not have a charter.