Knaus and Fennig win Irwin Crew Chief of the Year

Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig win 2002 IRWIN Crew Chief of the Year honors. VERNON HILLS, Ill., December 3, 2002 - Solid efforts and yearlong consistency both on the track and in the pits were the formulas for success that crew chiefs Chad Knaus...

Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig win 2002 IRWIN Crew Chief of the Year honors.

VERNON HILLS, Ill., December 3, 2002 - Solid efforts and yearlong consistency both on the track and in the pits were the formulas for success that crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig used to win this year's IRWIN "Crew Chief of the Year" honors. For winning the honor, IRWIN, makers of professional power tool accessories like MARATHON saw blades and SPEEDBOR flat bits, will donate $5,000 to the Ellerbe, N.C. Educational Fund in their names.

"IRWIN is proud to honor the hard-working crew chiefs of NASCAR Winston Cup Racing with this award," said David Pirkle, VP Marketing of IRWIN power tool accessories. "Much like our line of bits and blades optimize a power tool's performance, these professionals had to perform in all types of conditions, with many surprises and under intense pressure."

Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, IRWIN partnered with Performance Racing Network to select the crew chief that had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. Knaus, crew chief of the No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Chevrolet, and Fennig, crew chief of the No. 97 Newell Rubbermaid Ford, out dueled their competition to take home the season-ending honor, each winning three weekly awards along the way.

Knaus lead the No. 48 team to one of the most successful and highly visible rookie seasons in the modern era. In 2002, rookie driver Jimmie Johnson earned three victories, six top-five and 21 top-10 finishes, along with taking second-place honors in the hotly contest rookie of the year battle. Johnson also was a mainstay at the top of one of the most competitive driver's championship races in NASCAR history, finishing fifth overall, just 200 points out of first place.

"This award is a testament to the persistence and determination our team showed all year," said Knaus. "Despite some bad luck along the way, week in and week out these guys remained focused and committed to putting our best effort out on the track. From the consistent efforts on the track and in the pits to our race preparation each week, this team did a heck of a job this season. My hat's off to them and our whole racing organization."

Fennig lead the No. 97 team to its most successful season to date, including a late season charge in the driver's championship race with three victories in the last five races of the season. Overall, driver Kurt Busch earned four victories in 2002, including 12 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes, to finish third overall in the championship standings, just 159 points out of first place.

"This award is another feather in our cap this season," said Fennig. "This No. 97 team worked hard all year long, both in the pits and in the garage, to make this a successful season. That effort and determination, coupled with Kurt's effort on the track, allowed us to make a late run at the championship and finish in the top five. It is this kind performance and consistency that will motivate us in the off-season as we prepare for a bigger and better 2003 season."

In addition to the crew chief award, IRWIN also sponsored the weekly nationally syndicated radio show, "Fast Talk with Benny Parsons", throughout the 2002 season.

"Working with Benny Parsons and the PRN family is a natural fit for the IRWIN bits and blades line," said Pirkle. "The NASCAR fan-base is a hands-on group of people that are driven to do it themselves, if they can. IRWIN bits and blades are engineered to last long and provide precise cuts that will help professionals do their best work."

IRWIN offers a complete line of saw blades and drill bits. From framing to the finest trim work; the performance of your bit and/or blade can be the difference between a long, hard day or one that runs smooth and easy. IRWIN specializes in the engineering and the manufacturing of these high performance bits and blades. Each is engineered to last, to deliver precision cuts and to optimize the output of your power tool. IRWIN drill bits includes SPEEDBOR wood boring bits, UNI-BIT step drill bits, and the unique IRWIN multi-purpose drill bits that penetrate various materials such as brick, marble, plastic, metal, cement and wood. A complete list of IRWIN products and capabilities is online at www.irwintool.com.

<pre> IRWIN "Rough to the Finish" Award FINAL Standings

Crew Chief              Team                            Final Points*
Jimmy Fennig            No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford          15
Chad Knaus              No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet         15
Frank Stoddard-a        No. 99 CITGO Ford               15**
Lee McCall              No. 40 Coors Light Dodge        10
Bill Wilburn            No. 2  Miller Lite Ford         10
Tony Eury               No. 8  Budweiser Chevrolet      10
Todd Parrott            No. 88 UPS Ford                 10
Robbie Loomis           No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet         10
Michael McSwain         No. 28 Havoline Ford            10
Greg Zipadelli          No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac       10
Robbie Reiser           No. 17 DeWalt Ford              10
Bryant Frazier-b        No. 44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge    5
Jim Long                No. 5  Kellogg's Chevrolet      5
Matt Borland            No. 12 ALLTEL Ford              5
Newt Moore              No. 36 M&Ms Pontiac             5
Pat Tryson              No. 21 Motorcraft Ford          5
Tommy Baldwin-c         No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge        5
Mike Hillman            No. 14 Conseco Pontiac          5
Donnie Wingo            No. 26 Discover Card Ford       5
Paul Andrews            No. 1    Pennzoil Chevrolet     5
Tony Gibson-d           No. 1  Pennzoil Chevrolet       5
Jimmy Makar             No. 18 Interstate Pontiac       5

* Crew chiefs received five points for each weekly award ** Lost a tie-breaker due to a team switch prior to the season's end a - No longer crew chief for the No. 99 b - No longer crew chief for the No. 44 c - No longer crew chief for the No. 22 d - No longer crew chief for the No. 1

-irwin-

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