Tony Stewart and the MOOG chassis parts-equipped No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet captured their first win of the 2011 season, and it was a big one – the opener of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup – in Monday’s rain-delayed Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Ill.
Following the race, Stewart’s crew chief, Darian Grubb, received Federal-Mogul’s prestigious MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award in recognition of the No. 14 car’s race-high 0.235-second-per-lap improvement over the second half of Monday’s event.
“Tony and the 14 car looked great out there. Their MOOG-equipped chassis had the right setup at the start and Darian made a number of adjustments to help deliver even more speed as track conditions changed throughout the day,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “Darian also made a very smart call on fuel strategy, allowing Tony to focus on his one or two serious challengers over the closing laps without having to worry about running dry.”
The No. 14 car ran as low as 23rd in the early stages before Stewart began his aggressive charge toward the front. He’d cut his deficit in half by Lap 78, was running fifth by Lap 120 and held the lead for nearly all of the final 80 laps. Kevin Harvick and the MOOG-equipped No. 29 Chevrolet mounted an impressive challenge over the final 15 laps, but Stewart held on for a 0.941-second margin of victory.
Grubb joins five other crew chiefs with two MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Awards each. With nine races to go, four crew chiefs – Bob Osborne, Steve Letarte, Gil Martin and Paul Wolfe – each have three weekly MOOG wins and are leading the battle for the season-ending MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award.
MOOG steering and suspension components are the leading choice of NASCAR crew chiefs and automotive repair professionals and have helped drive an unprecedented 45 consecutive NASCAR Cup champions to victory.