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November 5, 2008 7:16 PM

IRWIN Industrial Tools® to Crown Top Tradesman in Phoenix

The international search for the top-tradesman concludes November 9th; IRWIN Industrial Tools® to make Jamie McMurray Foundation donation on behalf of all tradesman participants
 
HUNTERSVILLE, NC – (November 5, 2008) The 2008 search for the Ultimate Tradesman concludes this weekend when IRWIN Industrial Tools® hosts the final-five competitors in Phoenix for the last leg of the Ultimate Tradesman Challenge.   

IRWIN® Industrial Tools, a Newell-Rubbermaid® company, has been searching for the Top Tradesman since March of this year with the second annual Ultimate Tradesman Challenge.  The competition is a timed event in which participants compete using an IRWIN® STRAIT-LINE chalk reel, IRWIN® tape measure and SPEEDBOR® Max wood boring bit to mark, measure and drill for a chance at a treasure trove of cash and prizes.  

Following the success of the 2007 competition in the U.S., IRWIN® extended the 2008 competition internationally and broadened the search to include Canada, Australia and New Zealand.   This year over 10,000 tradesmen have competed in 200 local events in 37 U.S. states, four Canadian provinces, Australia and New Zealand.
 
“The participation and passion among this year’s Ultimate Tradesman Challenge contestants has been truly impressive,” said Eric Rich, director of marketing for IRWIN Industrial Tools®.  “Now, it’s time to identify and reward the world’s champion among tradesmen.”

The competition has been narrowed to the top-four North American competitors; Eric Howard (Concord, CA), Mark Martin (Ostrander, OH), Jon Smith (Delaware, OH) and Bruce Hollaway (Mesa, AZ) have all won all-expense-paid VIP race weekends to the track in Phoenix on November 9th. While there, they will compete for a Roush Performance Supercharged Stage III Ford F-150 valued at over $60,000, a 600 square-foot IRWIN Ultimate Garage by Allied Steel Buildings and a year’s supply of Dickies work gear. 
 
Following the North American competition, the winner will compete against Nathan Vander Wielen, the finalist from the South Pacific leg of the competition, for a chance at $1.26 million.  Vander Wielen (Eaton, Australia) qualified after winning the Australian final on October 12th in Bathurst, Australia.

An additional enhancement to this year’s competition is the charitable contribution to the Jamie McMurray Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises funds for research, education and support of individuals and families afflicted with autism.   IRWIN® Industrial Tools has pledged a one dollar donation for every participant that competed throughout the 2008 competition.  A donation of $10,000 will be presented to IRWIN Industrial Tools® Sprint Cup driver McMurray prior to the start of the UTC championship.  

“The worldwide quest for a cure for autism is a noble and important cause,” said McMurray.  “In my mind our friends at IRWIN Industrial Tools® and the tradesmen they are honoring in support of their donation all are champions in my eyes.  It’s great to represent them on the race track.”

For more information on the Ultimate Tradesman Challenge and a full schedule of events in Phoenix visit www.irwinchallenge.com.

About IRWIN Industrial Tools
IRWIN Industrial Tools manufactures and distributes professional grade hand tools and power tool accessories worldwide for trade professionals who demand superior performance and durability on the job. IRWIN Industrial Tools' brand portfolio features user-preferred category leaders such as IRWIN®, VISE-GRIP® locking tools, MARATHON® circular saw blades, QUICK-GRIP® clamping tools, SPEEDBOR® flat bits, STRAIT-LINE® marking tools, Unibit® step drill bits and HANSON® taps and dies. IRWIN Industrial Tools is a Newell Rubbermaid company. For more information about IRWIN's line of hand tools and power tool accessories, call 1-800-GO IRWIN or visit www.irwin.com.

About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.  For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Robin Johnson at 704-720-4645.

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