Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hut Stricklin

Waymond Lane "Hut" Stricklin was born on June 24th of 1961, in Calera, Alabama. He married Pam Allison, the daughter of NASCAR legend Donnie Allison after they were introduced by her cousin Davey. Hut was the last member of the Alabama Gang.

Stricklin was the Alabama Limited Sportsman champion in 1978 and 1979.

In 1986, Stricklin won NASCAR's Dash Series Championship with 9 out of 17 races won and ten poles.

In 1987 he made his debut in NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup series in three races for owner Skip Jaehne.

In 1989 he ran for the Rookie of The Year title and finished second only to Dick Trickle driving the #57 Heinz Ketchup Pontiac for Rod Osterlund.

In 1990, he competed in only three events before taking over the #12 Raybestos Brakes Buick for Bobby Allison for the rest of the season.

1991 turned out to be one of his best seasons yet, as he finished 16th in the Winston (Sprint) cup championship point standings as well as a career high 2nd place finish at Michigan International Speedway.

With only eight races left in the 1992 season, Hut left Allison's team and after a few races driving for Junie Donlavey, he started driving for Junior Johnson for the rest of the season and in 1993 driving the #27 McDonald's Ford; in 1993 he finished 24th in points.

In 1994, Junior and Travis Carter formed a new team with Hut driving the #23 Smokin’ Joe’s Racing Ford; he finished a respectable 26th in points.

Jimmy Spencer replaced Hut for the 1995 season in the #23, so he served as a consultant for Kenny Bernstein's rookie driver Steve Kinser, a World of Outlaws Sprint Car champion who drove the #26 Quaker State Ford; he was struggling to transition from open-wheels to stock cars so he was replaced by Stricklin. Him and his crew chief Richard Broome posted five top-10 finishes and his first ever pole at North Wilkesboro Speedway; even though he only raced 24 times he still finished 30th in points. Unfortunately Kenny’s team was sold to Brett Bodine at the end of the year, and Hut had to find a new job.

In 1996 he joined the Stavola Brothers Racing in the #8 Circuit City Ford. He had a career high tying finish of second at the Southern 500 at Darlington in a dominating run. He finished 22nd in championship points, which was his best points finish in 5 years.

The 1997 season was challenging for Stricklin because Stricklin’s owners, the Stavola brothers, pressured Stricklin to leave his hometown Calera, AL and live near the shop in Charlotte, North Carolina. They also advised Stricklin to sale his Busch (Nationwide) team, the #28 Smokey Mountain Chew Ford, and concentrate on his Winston (Sprint) Cup efforts; he finished 34th in the final standings which was his worst points finish in a full season of his career.

In 1998 he drove the #8 Circuit City Chevrolet until the Stavola Brothers closed due to Circuit City leaving. After they shut down he drove in the #97, #55, and #77 cars.

For the beginning of the 1999 season he was the crew chief for Gary Bradberry’s #78 Ford for Triad Motorsports, and when they shut down he started driving for Scott Barbour in the #58 Ford with multiple sponsors. Scott promised him a ride until 2003, but a bounced check forced Hut’s team to shut down and him being ride less.

In 2000, Stricklin drove for longtime owner Junie Donlavey at the Brickyard 400 and finished 14th in the #90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford without a crew chief.

In 2001 his sponsor Hills Brothers wanted to find a new team due to location problems, Hill Brothers wanted to move to Charlotte but Donlavey declined, they left the team and brought Hut with them to Bill Davis’ #23 Dodge. This year he made a record $1,006,021 in winnings even with the abbreviated schedule.

In 2002, Stricklin struggled and was soon replaced by Kenny Wallace in the #23 and his sponsor Hills Bros was replaced by Stacker 2. That was the last year that he drove in a NASCAR sanctioned race.

His family now owns Stricklin Auto & Truck Parts in Cleveland, North Carolina.