Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer, MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” at Richmond
David Ragan captured his fourth top-five finish of 2011 and his crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer, was named Federal-Mogul’s MOOG Chassis Parts “Problem Solver of the Race” in Saturday’s Wonderful Pistachios 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
It was Blickensderfer’s second weekly MOOG Award, which is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the best increase in average lap speed from the first to the second half of the race. Ragan and the MOOG-equipped No. 6 UPS “We Love Logistics” Ford improved by .141-second per lap to finish fourth on Richmond’s .75-mile oval.
“David and Drew were gunning for a win to capture an at-large spot in the Chase field, and they very nearly got it,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “They came into the race not really sure about their chassis setup, but Drew did an excellent job of making adjustments as conditions changed throughout the evening.”
Ragan started 20th but ran most of the race in the top 10, if not the top five. The No. 6 car was best on long runs, particularly after new tires and a track bar adjustment in its first trip to the pits. Ragan drove through much of the field over the next 100 laps and was running sixth by Lap 198, fifth by Lap 301 and fourth just a few laps later. The 15th and final caution of the race, on Lap 385 of 400, dealt a blow to the team’s chances for victory, though Ragan restarted fifth and picked up one last spot over the closing 11 laps.
“The No. 6 car’s MOOG-equipped chassis was at its best on runs longer than 50 or 60 laps,” Nelson said. “Drew and David ran a really smart race. If they had a longer green-flag run at the finish, who knows what could have happened – they just might have been in the winner’s circle.”
Blickensderfer, who won the prestigious MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award in 2009, is now one of four crew chiefs with two weekly MOOG awards this year.