Crew Profile: Charles Barraclough

Name: Charles "Cully" Barraclough
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Birthdate: March 2, 1962

Current Job: Crew chief for No. 38 Ford driven by David Gilliland, Yates Racing

Previous Jobs: Worked as a crew chief in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for Matt Kenseth in 2004 and Denny Hamlin in 2005. Was a consultant for David Gilliland’s Nationwide team, Clay Andrews Racing. Joined Yates Racing in July 2006 and served as a crew chief for Elliott Sadler and No. 38 team for two races in 2006. As crew chief in the Nationwide No. 90 ford, he helped driver Stephen Leicht record his first career victory at Kentucky in 2007.

A West Coast guy who probably would rather be fishing, Cully Barraclough isn’t intimidated by long hours and hard work. When he took on the job as David Gilliland’s crew chief this year, he knew what he was in for – after all, Cully had worked for David’s father, Butch, years before.

So will he dish on David Gilliland?

“I’d have to think about that. He’s a pretty honest guy. He’s like a lot of guys in the sport they don’t do a lot else but work on race cars and race. So, it’s hard to find any dirt.”

Raised near majestic Mt. Hood outside of Portland, Ore., Cully is one of those folks who doesn’t curse snow and rain – he actually misses it. He hasn’t been back to his beloved Oregon in seven years.

“Anyone that hasn’t been to the Northwest, if you went there, you’d fall in love with it,” Cully said.

And the rain?

“Actually I like the rain, too. Everything’s green, and the trees are huge.”

There’s also the joy he gets out of taking his family – including his wife Cindi and two children Mikey and Liz – on vacation in the Florida Keys where they do one of Cully’s favorite things – fish.

“Our final race is at Homestead so, I usually have the wife and kids come down, and we’ll shoot down there and stay,” Cully said. “Usually it ends up being around Thanksgiving. So, we go fishing down there and let the kids play around in the ocean. It’s a good little getaway.”

But before playtime with the family, Cully puts in long hours at the shop and at the track.

The Never-Ending Work Week
A typical work week for Cully does not exist, at least not in the eyes of 9-to-5ers. Just as it is with other racing team members, it’s a constant stream of travel, work at the shop, meetings and of course, racing.

“I never really added them (the hours) up,” Cully said.

“When you finish the race on Sunday, you go back to the shop on Monday. Usually that involves a few meetings involving production, and you start getting ready for next week. And Monday through Wednesday is all about the next race – debriefing the one you just had and getting all your notes done off that.

“We travel out usually Thursday. (Then) Thursday through Sunday are at the track.”

And then it starts all over again.

A Fab-ulous Way to Start
Cully, a nickname he’s had since birth and shares with his grandfather, got his start in racing after seeing another well-known West Coast name: Greg Biffle.

“I did a little fab work back home and did some machining. I just happened to meet a guy that raced at a race track (who) needed some work done on his trailer. I did that, and he invited me to the racetrack at Portland Speedway.

“That’s where Greg Biffle was racing at the time ...I just happened to go and watch a few races. He had a late model and watched him and Biffle and some other guys. And I got kind of interested in it. (It) just kind progressed from there.

“(I) started going with him on a regular basis. (I) got to look into some of the cars, and I thought we could probably build one better than that. So, we started working on our own stuff. He started running fairly well, and we ended up winning the championship there.

“It progressed from there and that’s where I met David’s dad Butch (Gilliland). I worked for him on the Winston West for one season, and then one more year and I was out here.”

They’re all Tough Calls
Even though he’s had plenty of experience with several different drivers, it’s never easy to be the man making all of the decisions atop the pit box.

“Problem is there have been many along the same lines – where a lot of the calls it’s a 50/50 shot. Those ones that involve: ‘OK we’ll go here but if we have to get the yellow by this time.’ That’s usually the calls that get you, where it’s a 50/50 shot. It doesn’t go your way or you’re counting on rain and it doesn’t come.

“But, we usually play it pretty conservative.”

On the Right Track
While Cully’s dream track is a future one in the Northwest, he admits one of Series’ most famous is his favorite.

“I like Bristol,” Cully said. “(It’s) like most of the short tracks where they come around and they’re back around in a short order. . . . Some of these tracks you go to you can carry on a three-minute conversation before they come back to you.”

Was that a Tire that just Landed on the Car?
There are two things Cully is looking forward to in the second half of the season: Consistency and more luck.

“We have a pretty young team, a lot of it was assembled at the beginning of the year. The processes and techniques that we use, we just need to clean them up and make sure that every time we come to the race track it’s the way it’s supposed to be.

“We’ve had pretty good luck...but we’ve just had some unfortunate things – a tire fall out of the sky at Charlotte and landing right in the middle of our hood.

“There’s been some really crazy stuff happen to us this year that put us in the hole we’re in. At the beginning of the year we’d hoped to be a Top 25 team with some really good finishes, and I think were doing that.

“Barring some bad luck I think we would be probably 15th or 16th right now.”

Pay it Forward
It’s the attitude of “work hard and it should be fun” that fits Cully’s calm yet serious demeanor.

“When I leave this sport, I just hope the one thing that I can be remembered for to some of these young kids that work now is some of the techniques and things they learned from me they’ll pass on to somebody else and keep. And keeping with everything that I’ve worked and passed on, (it) won’t be wasted.”

Cully’s pay-it-forward attitude is exemplified with one simple statement:

“The reason I’m here is I like the guys I work with.”

So exactly how would those very guys describe him?

“I’m sure they would use a lot of adjectives, but never in front of me,” Cully said.

“One thing we try to do, were serious but we try to have fun doing it. We know when to cut it out and get serious. But we try to have fun with it.”

“Racing is supposed to be fun. But, we want to run up front and win.”

And if he Weren’t a Crew Chief?
Cully’s quick to answer: “A fisherman.”

Saltwater, freshwater, it doesn’t matter.

“Anything, wherever I can stick a fishing line in the water I’m there.”

Next MRN Broadcast

On Air Now
Dec. 19, 2017 7:00 PM ET

Upcoming Cup Broadcasts

© 2017 MRN. All Rights Reserved

FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

ISC Track Sites