Hut Stricklin watched a top ten-finish slip away last weekend at New Hampshire when he was involved in a late race crash with Ricky Rudd but now he must pick himself up and move on to the Pocono International Raceway.

With his ride at Bill Davis Racing looking like it will go to Kenny Wallace in 2003, Hut Stricklin must now prove his mettle over the second half of the 2002 season if he wishes to remain in the Winston Cup beyond the end of the year.

Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway provides Stricklin with a fine opportunity to score his first top ten finish for the #23 Hills Bros. Coffee team as it is a place where he has no less than three top ten finishes.

"Having a lot of horsepower and good handling car are the two key things to around Pocono," said Stricklin. "In this day of competitive Winston Cup racing, you need both of those things every weekend we race. However, Pocono is an engine builder's nightmare because one, you have to have an engine that has wide range because your RPMs vary greatly in different areas of the track; and two, because you turn so many RPMs, it is hard on the valve train. Terry Elledge builds us great motors at Bill Davis Racing and they were great last time there, so I feel like we'll be real good this time around."

"From this point on in the season, it truly starts our 'second half' of the season," said Stricklin. "Pocono will be the first time in the season that we return to a track where we have run before. For the most part, this team this year was new, from the driver, to the crew chief, to some of the crew, it was the first time we had all worked together. Now, we have had the time to work together, to build a notebook and have a baseline to start off with when we return to the tracks. I feel we'll have a real good shot at getting this Hills Bros. Coffee Dodge to victory lane."

Despite having a car that was not to his liking in June's Pocono 500, Stricklin still managed a 22nd place finish and after his recent disappointment at the New Hampshire International Speedway, Stricklin will be hoping to roll back the years and find the form that carried him to a fifth place finish in 1995, a fourth place effort in 1991 and a sixth place finish in 1990.

"We were deathly loose in the corners the last race at Pocono," said Stricklin. "We discovered what we needed to change and I feel we'll have a better run the second time around."