This weekend, the process of resuming short track racing continues with the return of the ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series at 311 Motor Speedway (NC) on Saturday. Among those racers competing in the event is Kyle Strickler, who has been slowly getting back into the swing of racing after an unexpected absence.
Strickler has had some success since racing returned earlier this month, including a third-place finish at the Palmetto Invitational at Cherokee Speedway (SC). However, he has not been heavily involved in the day-to-day work with his team.
“It’s been the guys at the shop. We hired Vinnie Giuliani to focus on the Late Model stuff, and he’s been a huge help with our whole team through all of this,” Strickler told Speed51. “He can work on race cars and focus on them while I’m doing the home-schooling stuff and working with the kids.
“My wife works full-time at Wells Fargo, managing a branch, so she’s been at work this whole time. That leaves me to be with the kids and doing Daddy Daycare instead of working on race cars.”
The past months have given Strickler a newfound appreciation for the sacrifices made by his family so he can go racing.
“I’m used to living the racing life where you get to do all the fun stuff. I took it for granted and realized how stressful it is and how hard my wife worked. That’s been one good thing, you come to appreciate how much they do for you so you can go out and do this racing deal.
While Daddy Daycare may still be in operation, Strickler will take some time to go racing this Saturday at 311 Motor Speedway. Surprisingly, it is a track Strickler has only frequented on a couple of occasions. It’s also a place he hasn’t been in several years.
“I’ve been to all these race tracks all around the country, and I’ve been to 311 twice. Once was with the Late Model, in probably 2012, I drove for Royce McGee. I ran a couple of races for him, and one of them was at 311. I went back maybe later that year with the Modified, and that’s the only two times I’ve ever been there.
“It’s crazy, it’s only an hour or so from our shop. To have only gone there twice when we drive 12, 13 hours to some race tracks, it’s crazy.”
Strickler remembers liking the race track at the time, but has heard that its racing style has changed over the years.
“The race track was somewhere I liked, the shape and how it’s laid out. It’s got some banking to it. When I went there, it was heavy, fast, wide-open, hammer-down. Now they say it’s changed a lot, it’s slicker and slows down some.”
Fortunately, Strickler is able to rely on both his team as well as his partners to formulate a gameplan going into the event.
“We’re going to keep rolling with a basic setup, based on what Longhorn and I have talked about. With Vinnie and Bilstein, Kevin Rumley and Longhorn, those guys have been there plenty and should be able to get us close. We’ll lean on those guys for this weekend. Any time we go to a track we’re unfamiliar with, that’s our procedure.”
The ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series event at 311 Motor Speedway will be the series’ first since its season opener on March 13 at North Georgia Speedway. Fans can watch the event live on Speed51 for $19.99.
Click here to order your pay-per-view ticket today and watch Kyle Strickler in action, along with the other stars of the ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo