Portland, Ore. – The final Freightliner Trucks Run SmartSM Hauler Challenge for 2006 took place at the Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas, Texas from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST on Thursday, November 2, 2006. On Sunday, November 5, 2006 before driver introductions at the Dickies 500 NASCAR® Nextel Cup Series race, Freightliner Trucks awarded a total of $55,000 in prize money to the three finalists of the first annual Freightliner Trucks Run Smart Hauler Challenge.
Peter Jellen, transporter driver for the #18 car from Joe Gibbs Racing, took home the Hauler Challenge grand-prize trophy and a check for $35,000 by coming in first out of the final four competitors. Jellen completed the obstacle course sixty points ahead of the next contender, scoring 560 points out of a possible 600 on the final course.
“This money is going straight into a college fund for my nine-month old daughter,” an ecstatic Jellen explained. “I can’t thank Freightliner Trucks enough for holding this competition and enabling me to set my daughter’s future in place by winning this contest.”
“Jellen showed everyone that he is a very talented and capable truck driver during the course of this competition,” said Jonathan Randall, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks. “His skills as a professional driver lead him to win this contest and we are proud to award him the grand prize.”
Coming in behind Jellen was second-place winner Jeff Seaberg, transporter driver for the #10 car for Evernham Motorsports. Seaberg was awarded a check for $15,000 for his second-place win. Seaberg completed the course with 520 points.
“This was just a great competition to be involved in and I’m really looking forward to next year’s Hauler Challenge,” Seaberg said. “I liked that all the courses were different and each one offered unique challenges to my driving skills.”
Tim Beaver, transporter driver for the #40 car for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabatas, came in third with 460 points and was awarded $5,000.
The Freightliner Trucks Run Smart Hauler Challenge showcased NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series hauler drivers demonstrating their truck driving skills in Freightliner’s top-of-the-line heavy-duty Coronado® model. Drivers maneuvered through obstacle courses and tested skills such as parallel parking and backing up around curves.
The 2006 Hauler Challenge consisted of five different competitions, narrowing the beginning 32 contenders down to the first-place winner here in Dallas, Texas. The competitions were held in Las Vegas, Nev., Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Ill., Talladega, Ala., and Dallas, Texas.
“Throughout this year, from the series and team sponsorships to the hauler challenge, we have seen a repeated pairing of two organizations known for innovation and performance: Freightliner Trucks and NASCAR,” Randall said. ”Five of our sponsored teams made it to the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and we are proud to have played such a significant role in the 2006 NASCAR season.”
Freightliner Trucks announced its official sponsorship of NASCAR earlier this year at a press conference prior to the Daytona 500 in Daytona, Florida. The company returned as a 2006 sponsor of individual NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing teams.
Randall said the NASCAR sponsorship is a great fit because many heavy duty truck drivers and buyers are also devoted NASCAR fans.
In addition to sponsoring the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Freightliner Trucks also sponsors the following Cup and Busch Series Teams: Evernham Motorsports; Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI); Penske Racing South; Hendrick Motorsports; Petty Enterprises; Haas CNC Racing; Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabatas; BAM Racing; Akins Motorsports; Rusty Wallace Racing, Inc.; Jr. Motorsports; Fitz-Bradshaw Racing; and Michael Waltrip Racing.
Freightliner’s Coronado and Classic XL heavy-duty truck models will transport the sponsored race cars and team equipment from race to race for the entire 2006 NASCAR season. Medium-duty Freightliner Business Class® M2 SportChassis models will also haul NASCAR equipment and scoring trailers and some teams use the M2s as box trucks and roll backs as well, hauling show cars and engines.
Freightliner Trucks is a division of Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Ore., and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner LLC produces and markets Class 3-8 trucks and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.