Irwin Tools crowns the 2011 Ultimate Tradesman

Bristol, Tenn. -- A carpenter from Halifax, England, outlasted some 16,000 tradesmen to win $10,000 in the finals of a tradesman skills competition held at the Bristol Motor Speedway during race day on Sunday. 

The event was part of a larger campaign by Irwin Tools to elevate and support the often underappreciated tradesman, according to organizers. "Tradesmen keep America running strong, and this is our way of saying thanks for what they do for our country," said Curt Rahilly, VP marketing for Irwin Tools.

Of the 16,000 competitors in the Irwin Ultimate Tradesman Challenge, Dan Shepherd won the event by cutting, gripping, drilling, measuring and sawing faster and more accurately than anyone else. The contest culminated here at the Bristol Motor Speedway on March 20, coinciding with Nascar's Jeff Byrd 500 race. 

A companion promotion for consumers runs through July 8 and offers people a chance to win a trip to the Bristol Speedway in August -- and $1 million if driver Jamie McMurray wins the race -- for saying "thanks" to a tradesman through Irwin.com.

The tool manufacturer, a division of Newell Rubbermaid, will also promote a National Tradesemen Day Sept. 16