Stricklin takes position as crew chief at Triad By Shawn A. Akers WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 16, 1999) Driving will always be Hut Stricklin's first love. But until the Birmingham, Ala., native can land what he calls a "quality ride," he'll be...
Stricklin takes position as crew chief at Triad By Shawn A. Akers
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 16, 1999) Driving will always be Hut Stricklin's first love. But until the Birmingham, Ala., native can land what he calls a "quality ride," he'll be content to do what he also loves, and that's work on race cars. On Saturday, Stricklin was introduced as the new crew chief for the No. 78 Triad Motorsports Ford Team. He and driver Gary Bradberry, a native of Chelsea, Ala., have been friends for many years. Stricklin has been without a regular ride in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since he was released from the No. 8 Circuit City Chevrolet midway through last season. He does have an agreement with the team and its owners that if he is able to find a "quality ride" for himself, then he will take it. "I really haven't quit driving," said Stricklin, who has made 267 career series starts, but is taking on his first position as a crew chief. "I want to get with a good team, but there really aren't any quality teams out there without a driver. "This was too good of an opportunity to turn down, though. I've always been a hands-on driver, and as a matter of fact, I'm going to be doing a lot of the things here that I was doing at the Stavola Brothers, when I was also driving. I feel very comfortable with this team." And Bradberry feels comfortable with Stricklin. In 1981, Stricklin helped to set up Bradberry's very first late model stock car. "We can talk about the cars, and we're always running on the same line in that area," said Bradberry, whose team announced a new co-primary sponsor to go along with Pilot Travel Centers in PHARB Hangover Relief. "I've never had a conflict with him about the way a car drives. It's going to take a while to get the race cars to where they're competitive, but we believe that won't take too long. "I told Hut when we hired him that I would love to have him, but it was strictly his decision because I know he wants to drive. I think that he is really too good of a race car driver to be a crew chief, if you want me to be honest." Bradberry made 14 starts in 1998. His best finish was 23rd in the California 500 presented by NAPA at Fontana, Calif., but he did manage an eighth-place qualifying effort for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Stricklin and the team actually began tinkering with the idea of him becoming crew chief last October at Phoenix. "The opportunity was just something that presented itself," Stricklin said. "I went with Gary and the team for two of the last three races, and we felt very good about the situation. It's just something we put together."
Source: NASCAR Online