A Racing Family
Growing up in Greenfield, Wisconsin, Alan Kulwicki became familiar with motorsports at an early age. His father, Gerald, built engines for Norm Nelson and Roger McCluskey, who competed in the United States Auto Club (USAC) stock car division. Nelson would become an inspiration to Kulwicki once he began his own racing career.
Kulwicki’s mother died when he was in second grade. He and his brother Kenneth were raised by their father and grandmother until she passed away five years later. The following year, Kenneth died from complications related to hemophilia.
Since his father was often on the road, Kulwicki developed an independent streak and valued his ability to take care of himself. He explained years later that "You are a product of your environment. It would have been nice at times to have a pat on the back or someone giving me moral support but I had to find that within myself. If I could have had things my way, it probably would have been different. It would have been better if my mother had remained alive to be an important person in my life, but some things happen that are out of your control. In spite of that, I'm happy with the way I ended up as a person.”