VERNON HILLS, Ill., November 13, 2002 - Despite running out of fuel earlier in the race, Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 team used a two-tire pit stop late in Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway to score their NASCAR...
VERNON HILLS, Ill., November 13, 2002 - Despite running out of fuel earlier in the race, Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 team used a two-tire pit stop late in Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway to score their NASCAR Winston Cup Series-leading fifth victory of the season. For his race-winning pit strategy, team crew chief Robbie Reiser takes home this week's IRWIN "Rough to the Finish" Award.
Starting in the 28th position, Kenseth quickly moved up to 10th position on lap 28 with a lightning fast pit stop under caution. Kenseth continued his charge to the front, eventually taking the lead before pitting under the green flag. As he made his way down pit road, Kenseth ran out of gas. The team scurried to spray ether in the car to restart it, and Kenseth made it back out onto the track in 24th place.
Kenseth continued to move through the field, but the turning point of the race came on lap 259 when the team pitted for the final time for two tires. Kenseth exited pit road in the lead with 46 laps to go in the 312-lap event and never looked back.
"I am proud of this team for the persistence and determination they showed all day today," said Reiser. "We put our best motor in and watched Matt drive that thing up through traffic all day long. He picked 'em off one at a time, and raced this race track well. He did a heck of a job, and my hat's off to him and our whole race team. That just goes to show how strong we can be."
Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, IRWIN, makers of professional power tool accessories like MARATHON saw blades and SPEEDBOR flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief that had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish.
"IRWIN is proud to honor the hard-working crew chiefs of NASCAR Winston Cup Racing with this award," said David Pirkle of IRWIN. "Much like our line of bits and blades optimize a power tool's performance, these professionals have had to perform in all types of conditions, with many surprises and under intense pressure. Through the course of the race the selected crew has been able to optimize their car's performance."
The IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Ellerbe, N.C., Educational Fund in the racing team's name. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to the Ellerbe, N.C., Educational Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, N.C., 28338.
In addition to the crew chief award, IRWIN is also sponsoring 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 and DIYers 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, TURBOMAX drill 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.