Wife leads effort to win NASCAR award for hubby

Published 1:18 am Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SELMA — Kerry Sweeney Pennell may not have been a cheerleader before she graduated from Morgan Academy in 1995.

But she’s making up for lost time when she starts talking about her husband, Kevin.

Kevin Pennell, 32, is the car chief for NASCAR Sprint Cup racer Ryan Newman, having worked in the pits for 15 years.

Now Kevin has a chance to be recognized for his work after being nomimated for the Craftsman Wrenchman Award. A team member from each of the three national NASCAR Touring Series will be honored with the award.

The catch? The Nationwide and Camping World Truck series will be decided by a selection committee. The fans decide on the Sprint Cup Series, where Kevin is car chief.

If Kevin Pennell’s going to win the award, NASCAR fans will have to vote for him online at craftsman.com with 11 other teams’ crew members.

So Kerry has shifted into high gear on promoting her husband.

“He’s the most experienced car chief,” Kerry said. “And he won the jackman champion of the inaugural 2002 Sprint All Star Challenge.”

Kerry also has started a Facebook site — “VOTE KEVIN PENNELL — CRAFTSMAN WRENCHMAN OF THE YEAR” — to drum up support going into Sunday, the first day of Internet voting. Voting continues until Oct. 17.