RPW Column: Max Cookson Finalist In Kulwicki Driver Development Program

Column By: STEPHEN DURHAM / RPW – LOUDON, NH – Each year since 2015, hundreds of young drivers from across the United States send in applications to the Kulwicki Driver Development Program.

The program was developed to help up and coming passionate and talented drivers made strides towards achieving goals. Each of the finalists receive a stipend of $7,777 to help cover operational costs and given assistance with networking and marketing through their season as they fight 6 other drivers for the “Kulwicki Cup.”

One of those finalists in 2023 happens to be Max Cookson, out of Palmyra, Maine.

For the 19 year old out of Maine, he has already turned heads across New England. Coming off a 2022 season where he won the Oxford Plains Speedway Championship in the super late model division and the year prior in 2021, won the Pro All Star Series(PASS) Tour Modified Championship. For Cookson, it’s an honor to be announced as a finalist.

“It’s just so amazing, having so many drivers across the country that have applied, to be even selected as a semi-finalist is truly awesome,” an excited Cookson explains, “the people I will be fortunate enough to meet and the potential of what this could lead to is just awesome.”

To represent not just your hometrack, but your state and region of racing, it meant a lot for Cookson being a part of finalists in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program.

“Being the only one from the northeast this year is definitely special, and just to represent my hometown, it means a lot,” Cookson says, “just to have everyone’s support from everyone makes you feel pretty good.”

Cookson started off young like many racers do when they fall in love with the sport, but also took breaks while growing up to race virtually as well.

“Started off in go-karts when I was five years old, raced those until I was about 10, then got done racing for a while and then picked up iRacing for a little bit,” Cookson explains, “won their NASCAR Ignite Series, then over the last few years, got a PASS Modified then, and just has grown from there.”

For Cookson, he has quickly risen through the divisions with already multiple championships. He has already set the expectations high for himself and his team, as they look to continue winning ways on the Pro All Star Series Tour.

“This year we are trying to go out and win the PASS North and National Championship,” a confident Cookson says, “we have definitely made a quick climb up through the ranks, but there’s no better way to do it.”

Cookson is especially thankful for his dad, John McCarron, and all his sponsors and supporters that help make it happen. Cookson has started off the season with a pair of 2nd place finishes at Hickory during the annual Easter Bunny 150 weekend, a 7th place finish at the Icebreaker 75 at Thompson, and a 2nd place finish at the Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“For my first time here, it was pretty amazing between the speed of these cars and to battle with someone like Eddie MacDonald, he’s ran every type of car here” Cookson says, “it really helps build the momentum as we get this season going.”

Cookson is planning to race full time on the PASS Tour this season and race select Saturday night races at his hometrack of Oxford. The next stop for the tour is next Saturday April 22nd at Cookson’s hometrack of Oxford Plains Speedway.

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