"I will never race without it again," that was the conclusion of Hills Bros Coffee driver Hut Stricklin on the HANS device, after he crashed hard into turn three following a tyre blow out on lap 157 of the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400.

"I don't really know what happened for sure," Stricklin said. "I went down into (turn) three and the right-front tire blew. I don't know if I ran over something and cut it or what, but it just blew. We had a car that we were struggling with. But I felt it was starting to come around with the several air-pressure and wedge adjustments we made throughout the day.

"This weekend was great. The guys busted their tails to get the car in the show on speed and that is what we did. We are taking baby steps and are starting to bond as a team. Daytona was a disappointment, but since Happy Hour at Rockingham, these guys have really come together as one. We still have some improving, but it is definitely going in the right direction."

Stricklin ran as high as 27th on lap 14 after several early race cautions.

"We started off pretty good but then the tight feeling off the corners came into play," Stricklin said. "We could not solve the problem and I guess it had something to do with the tire blowing."

Stricklin's accident was his first since he started using the HANS (Head and Neck Support) device.

"That's the first time I really got to check out my HANS device and I was pretty impressed by it," Stricklin said. "I hated to have to have a wreck to check it out, but I was pretty impressed. I went down into three and the tire let go. I knew I was going to hit the fence pretty hard and you just try to hold on the best you can. Any other time with an impact like that, you would feel your back and neck stretch. But I tell you, I'm impressed.

"That's a pretty big deal. Sometimes when you hit, it feels like your head goes out the windshield and comes back. I just hit the inside of my helmet pretty hard. That's all padded, so I really didn't hurt anything. I tell you, I'm really impressed. I will never race without it again."