Kulwicki’s reputation as a demanding individual did not stop him from building up AK Racing’s crew. Many of his hires had little to no professional experience in NASCAR when they joined the team. However, those who stuck with Kulwicki long-term became inspired by him and proud of the team’s growing success.
One key member of Kulwicki’s team was crew chief Paul Andrews, who joined AK Racing in 1988. Like Kulwicki, Andrews had competed in ASA, winning a championship as Rusty Wallace’s crew chief. However, Andrews left the racing industry three years later to spend more time with his family. He sold real estate in Oklahoma for a few years until Kulwicki offered him a crew chief job on Wallace’s recommendation. Andrews was ready to return to racing and accepted. Kulwicki’s first win at Phoenix was also the first victory for Andrews as a NASCAR crew chief.
In 1989, Kulwicki started a new engine-building program for AK Racing. While he earned five top fives and nine top 10s, he also failed to finish nine races due to blown engines. Determined to maintain the in-house engine program, Kulwicki promoted Ron Viccaro to head engine builder by the end of the season, then hired Danny Glad as a chief mechanic and engine builder for 1990. Viccaro had worked part-time with AK Racing for years, while Glad had managed the engine development for Kenny Bernstein’s NASCAR team for the past three seasons before joining AK Racing. Thanks to Glad’s and Viccaro’s expertise, Kulwicki suffered only one engine failure during the 1990 season. The engine building team would continue to grow over the years with Gary Preziosi, Randy Clary, Danny Cameron, and Shane Parsnow joining the team.
Other members of AK Racing included fabricator Tony Gibson, PR manager Tom Roberts, spotter Brian Whitesell, hauler driver Peter Jellen, and Cal Lawson, Kulwicki’s team manager and race strategist.