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 Monday, November 1
Stricklin out of Winston Cup ride
 
Associated Press

  BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Hut Stricklin is out of a Winston Cup ride just one week after signing a three-year deal with SBIII Motorsports.

Team owner Scott Barbour closed the shop last week when a team sponsor failed to meets its financial obligation. Stricklin, of Calera, Ala., and the rest of the staff were laid off.

"I was as surprised as anybody," Stricklin told The Birmingham News. "I got a phone call from Scott telling me the sponsorship check wasn't any good and basically he wasn't in position to run the team any more out of his own pocket. He went by the shop and laid everybody off."

The closure leaves Stricklin out of a ride for the remaining three Winston Cup races this year, as well as the entire 2000 season.

"I'm devastated, totally," he said. "Here you are, a couple of weeks into a three-year deal and thinking you're set, only to have all this blow up."

Now, Stricklin is scrambling to find a car to drive. He said he would consider potential rides on NASCAR's Grand National and truck series but would prefer to stay with Winston Cup teams.

"I'll start exploring all the options and let 'em know I'm available," he said. "I feel I've got five or six good years of driving left. I still want to drive. I still enjoy it, and I still want to win races."

Stricklin, in his 11th season of racing Winston Cup, joined SBIII Motorsports in midseason. In 14 races with the first-year team, Stricklin posted three top-15 finishes.

He failed to qualify for the past three events, but still signed a three-year deal with the No. 58 Ford two weeks ago at Rockingham.

"I've gotten knocked down before, and somehow or other, I've been able to get back up," he said. "It's just another blow I've been handed."