Owners of the Gadsden, Alabama-based U-27 Wiggins Racing – H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Team announced today that they will be paying tribute to 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame member Alan Kulwicki by carrying his image on the cockpit of their boat during the upcoming Guntersville Lake HydroFest 2018.
“I always had so much respect for Alan and what he was able to accomplish in NASCAR in such a relatively short period of time,” said U-27 Wiggins Racing team owner Charley Wiggins. “We can certainly identify with Alan, as our team is a small family-run operation that takes great pride in getting the most out of our equipment and limited personnel. It’s a sincere honor to be able to pay tribute to Alan this way. Like so many other racers and fans out there, we were cheering when his name was announced as a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2019.”
Wiggins comes from a racing family. His uncle, John Wiggins, was a noted successful drag racer who campaigned the famous “Glow Worm” dragster all over the Southeast. His father, Milton, is co-owner of the team and first raced outboards as a youngster back in 1954. Over the years, Milton moved to the inboard category of boats powered by automotive engines and eventually to the GP Grand Prix class. Charley followed his father’s footsteps and became a successful boat racer in his own right, driving since he was nine years of age and growing through the ranks all the way to pilot the famed U-6 Miss Madison Unlimited Hydroplane during the 2000 season.
“One of the things that impressed me the most about Alan was his educational background,” said Wiggins. “He was not only a driver and team owner, he also had an engineering degree. That was unheard of back then and I feel like it was such an asset. To be successful in our contracting business (Chase Building Group, Inc), I earned my degree in Building Science (has a B.A. degree from the College of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University). I had a few classes in engineering, but I wish I could have taken more. The education and degree I have works perfectly on the construction side of my life, but I wish I had done additional engineering studies to help over on the racing side.
“We’re really looking forward to the big race weekend in Guntersville,” said Wiggins. “The promotion of our racing there has been referred to as being like NASCAR on the water. With that in mind, it’ll be really cool to have a NASCAR champion and Hall-of-Famer like Alan Kulwicki riding on the cockpit of our U-27 out there.”
While the special decal commemorating Kulwicki’s spot in the 2019 HOF Class will debut on Wiggins’ Unlimited Hydroplane in two weeks in Guntersville, racing fans from Nova Scotia, Canada, to Seattle, Washington, will become familiar with it during the remainder of the 2018 racing season.
“We want to thank Charley and everyone associated with Wiggins Racing for helping us introduce the decal in such a spectacular fashion,” said Tom Roberts, a Guntersville resident who was Kulwicki’s media representative during his entire career and now serves as the Executive Director for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. “I know Alan would get such a huge kick out of seeing himself riding on the cockpit of the U-27. I certainly will.
“After Charley’s team carries the decal in the HydroFest, we will be sending out a supply to every driver who has carried the KDDP colors over the last four years,” Roberts said. “We’ll be asking them to proudly display the decals on their race cars, pit boxes and support vehicles in celebrating Alan’s election to the Hall of Fame.”
The Guntersville Lake HydroFest 2018, set for June 22-24, will feature both the H1 Unlimited and Grand Prix World (GPW) hydro classes. Wiggins Racing will be fielding entries in both classes, with veteran Cal Phipps driving both boats.