BRISTOL, TENN. (Aug. 17, 2010) — Leave it to innovator IRWIN® Tools to toss an exciting twist into the mix for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ most exciting race – the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. In an unprecedented move, IRWIN Tools, a world-class manufacturer and marketer of professional hand tools and power tool accessories, won’t let the world know who the Grand Marshal is until just 24 hours prior to the race. The winner of Friday night’s North American Championship of the 2010 IRWIN Tools Ultimate Tradesman Challenge will be the race’s Grand Marshal, and will give the famous command, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.”
The IRWIN Tools Ultimate Tradesman Challenge, a skill-based competition that has travelled across the U.S. and Canada for more than 50 events, challenges professional tradesmen to perform a series of precise tasks—such as gripping, sawing, marking, clamping and drilling—in a race against the clock. A total of 23 local competitors won an all-expenses-paid trip to Bristol, in addition to an IRWIN tool bag packed with IRWIN tools and genuine Cat® footwear, to compete in the North American Championship of the Ultimate Tradesman Challenge on Friday.
In addition to having the opportunity to say NASCAR’s most famous words prior to the start of the race, the 2010 North American Champion will win a year’s supply of Cat footwear and a custom IRWIN Tools Mustang GT Premium Pace Car – the official pace car of the IRWIN Tools Night Race. He will also advance to the World Finals in March of 2011, again at Bristol Motor Speedway, where six tradesmen from around the world will compete to become the Worldwide IRWIN Tools Ultimate Tradesman. The tradesman with the top time will win the grand prize – a chance to win $1 MILLION!
“The Ultimate Tradesman Challenge is all about IRWIN’s passion for the professional tradesman,” said Curt Rahilly, VP of Marketing for IRWIN Tools. “IRWIN is serious about celebrating tradesmen who do their jobs each and every day, always reaching for greatness in all that they do. These are the men and women who build our dreams. They build life with their hands. And they keep the world running, when the things we depend on break down. For some people, it’s just a job… a means to an end. But for professional tradesmen, it’s often a calling. And it’s not just about doing their work. It’s about doing their life’s work,” Rahilly emphasized.
The IRWIN Tools Night Race weekend at the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” kicks off Friday with two practice sessions: one at noon and another at 2:45 p.m. Qualifying to determine the starting lineup is set for 5:40 p.m. Ryan Newman holds the track record of 128.709 mph. The inaugural IRWIN Tools Night Race on the .533-mile high banked oval gets the green flag Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Kyle Busch won last year’s race under the lights.
About IRWIN Tools:
IRWIN Tools manufactures and distributes a broad line of hand tools and power tool accessories including
VISE-GRIP® pliers and wrenches, MARATHON® saw blades, QUICK-GRIP® clamping tools, SPEEDBOR® wood drilling bits, STRAIT-LINE® marking tools, UNIBIT® step drill bits, and HANSON® taps and dies. IRWIN Tools is a part of Newell Rubbermaid’s global portfolio of brands. For more information, call
1-800-GO-IRWIN or visit www.irwin.com.
About the IRWIN Tools Ultimate Tradesman Challenge:
IRWIN’s Ultimate Tradesman Challenge is a global competition where skilled tradesmen perform a series of precise tasks in a race against the clock to “Grip It! Rip It! and Drive It!” Contestants first use IRWIN VISE-GRIP® GrooveLock pliers to remove two (2) pipe fittings from a qualifying channel (Grip It). He/she then uses an IRWIN square and pencil to mark three (3) lines on a standard 2” x 4” x 24” board, at pre-marked positions. Contestants then slide the board into a cutting position and securely clamp it to the work surface with an IRWIN QUICK-GRIP® XP600 one-handed bar clamp. Contestants then use an IRWIN Universal Hand Saw to cut the board on the line previously marked (Rip It). And finally, using an IRWIN SPEEDBOR® Max Speed drill bit, contestants drill two (2) holes in the board at the intersecting lines (Drive It), unclamp the board, place the clamp on the competition cart, and put the board in the qualifying channel. If the board fits accurately, the clock will automatically stop, and the challenge time will be noted. Speed; ability to remove pipe fittings; accurate marking; ability to clamp work securely; fast, straight cuts; and the ability to accurately drill holes are crucial to winning the challenge. The Ultimate Tradesman Challenge is a true test of on-the-job skills.