Barry Sheppard, transport driver for Elliot Sadler’s No. 21 car, Wood Brothers Racing, won the first International Truck Challenge championship at the final NASCAR Winston Cup event of the 2001 season.
Sheppard out-pointed other NASCAR team transport drivers competing in the Challenge’s final event at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Nov. 17. He won $25,000 as International Truck Challenge champion plus $1,000 for coming in first at Atlanta.
International Truck and Engine Corp. and NASCAR began the new series at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., June 23. In the Challenge, NASCAR team transport drivers – driving matching International 9400i tractors with 53-foot trailers – try to negotiate a series of obstacles in the fastest time. Time penalties are added for each mistake made on the course. Gary Geissman, who hauls John Andretti’s No. 43 car for Petty Enterprises, claimed the $1,000 winner’s check at the Sears Point event. Ricky Simmons, rig driver for Jimmy Spencer’s No. 26 car, Haas/Carter Motorsports, won the second event in the series at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 6.
International has committed to sponsoring the Challenge at least one more year.