Mechanic of the Year program announced

Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Awards Honor NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Crew Members DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 29, 2004) -- On weekend nights across the nation, the scene is the same. A crew of friends and family members -- unpaid and often...

Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Awards Honor NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Crew Members

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 29, 2004) -- On weekend nights across the nation, the scene is the same. A crew of friends and family members -- unpaid and often unrecognized -- spends hours and hours preparing a race car for competition in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Their duties include everything that could possibly be done to a car, mechanically: adjusting tire pressures, hanging shocks and springs, repairing damaged parts, replacing belts and hoses, or tuning engine and transmission parts. For their tireless efforts, their only moment to share in the spotlight is when their driver reaches the winner's circle.

Since 1985, NASCAR has honored the men and women who help put race cars on track in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series another way, with the annual Craftsman Mechanic of the Year awards. The awards are special in two ways -- they recognize the behind-the-scenes individuals that work on the race cars to make each week's competition possible, and they are decided by a vote of NASCAR members.

"The feedback Sears received from our sponsorship of last year's Craftsman Mechanic of the Year award was tremendous," said Toure Claiborne, director of motorsports for Sears. "It proves that the racing community appreciates Craftsman's support of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Because race drivers, team members and fans are among the best customers for Craftsman tools, Sears is delighted to continue this program."

NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter, who oversees the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, says Craftsman's support continues a 20-year tradition.

"Craftsman has been a great partner of NASCAR over the years and this award shows its commitment to our sport at all levels," said Hunter. "These crew members are what make the series go and we've made it one of our priorities to recognize their efforts every year. Without them, we would not have the high level of competition we see in the series today."

The program works like this: NASCAR member participants will be polled in the June issue of NASCAR Magazine -- the official NASCAR membership publication -- to select their choice for the Mechanic of the Year at their home track. Participating crew members, mechanics, crew chiefs and engine builders with current 2004 NASCAR memberships are eligible to receive the award. The mechanic receiving the most votes at each track will be selected as the track's Craftsman Mechanic of the Year and they'll receive a $250 credit towards the purchase of Craftsman Tools.

Next, the 67 track winners will re-appear in the September issue of NASCAR Magazine, to allow NASCAR Members to select their choice for the regional winners. There will be eight regional winners, one for each geographic region of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series (includes Atlantic, East Coast, Heartland, Midwest, New England, Northeast, Northwest and Sunbelt regions). The mechanic who receives the most votes in each region is declared the regional Mechanic of the Year. Each of the eight Craftsman Mechanic of the Year regional winners receives $1,500 plus a 36-inch Craftsman Professional Chest and Tool Cart, valued at more than $2,000.

The eight regional winners are eligible for yet another prize -- the national award. They'll be taken to Nashville for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet at the exquisite Gaylord Opryland Resort, where the national award winner will be revealed in a surprise announcement. The national winner is determined as the regional winner who received the most votes overall, however that information remains confidential until the night of the banquet. The 2004 Craftsman Mechanic of the Year national award winner receives a $5,000 bonus.

In 2003, Harold Burton, of Riverhead, N.Y., won the Craftsman Mechanic of the Year national award. Burton is a veteran mechanic at the quarter-mile Riverhead Raceway, where he works on one of the track's Charger Division teams with driver Rob Tribuzio, who is also his stepson.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Jim Hunter