Strickler headed home to Harris, sets sights on USMTS
MOORESVILLE, N.C.—When news broke earlier this week that Mooresville, N.C.’s Kyle Strickler would part ways with Lethal Chassis after a very successful 2015 race season, Strickler’s phone rang nearly non-stop.
With 130 career modified wins, including back-to-back IMCA Super Nationals victories, Stickler has become a highly-coveted, proven commodity in the dirt modified world.
“This week has been absolutely crazy,” commented Strickler. “I didn’t realize how much exposure this would get. I really had to step back and look at this from a business owner’s perspective and not just a racer’s. I have to make decisions to benefit our team and my family.”
In the end Strickler decided to return to Boone, Iowa, based Harris Auto Racing—the brand which launched his modified career in 2010.
Strickler won his first Super Nationals title in one of their cars, as well as the 2014 Renegades of Dirt championship.
Details are still being worked out on the length of the agreement, but expect Strickler to wheel a Harris chassis solely for the next three to five years.
Also, he is plotting a change in his schedule for the 2016 campaign. Having tackled several special events and winning dozens of features, Strickler is eying a year dominated by USMTS Casey’s Cup racing.
“USMTS is the one thing I haven’t done yet in modified racing,” Strickler elaborated. “It is such a difficult series. The drivers in it are so competitive and so well-funded. There will be a learning curve for sure. I’m looking to win some of their big races and a title, to make for a fully successful modified career.”
Strickler had nothing but praise for his former chassis builder, David Stremme, who launched Lethal Chassis in 2014.
“I appreciate everything Lethal and David have done for me. He taught me a lot about the business side of motorsports and we won a lot of races together.”
Harris Auto Racing has undergone a change in ownership since Strickler was last with the organization. Current owners Kyle Brown and his father, David, assumed ownership of the 30-year-old company in September 2014. Brown and Strickler had a previous relationship as Brown worked for Harris during Strickler’s first go-around.
“Kyle and I became good friends,” commented Brown. “Strickler was kind of the guy then and we are excited to have him back. It makes sense for both of us, and to have him on the USMTS tour will be great.”
Strickler is also tasked with building the brand within the USMTS and dealing with customers when the time comes.
“Harris has always built a top-of-the-line car,” Brown stated. “We just haven’t had many drivers in the USMTS since the days of Kelly Shryock and Al Hejna. They did great things for our company and we are ready to get back into USMTS racing in a big way.”
Strickler plans to start his season during speedweeks in February before turning his attention to the USMTS Double H Bands Southern Region. The four-week stretch begins at the Shady Oaks Speedway in Goliad, Texas, Feb. 11-13. Other stops include the Heart O’ Texas Speedway in Elm Mott, Texas, Feb. 18-20; Ark-La-Tex Speedway in Vivian, La., Feb. 25-27; and Southern Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore, Okla., March 3-5.
All 12 nights of racing to kick off the USMTS Double H Bands Southern Region will be carried live via pay-per-view on RacinDirt.com.