Crew Chief Darian Grubb wins MOOG ‘Problem Solver of the Race’ Award at Indy
After the finish, the man who helped Stewart fight through countless challenges all day long – crew chief Darian Grubb – was named MOOG Chassis Parts “Problem Solver of the Race.”
Sponsored by global vehicle parts manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation, the MOOG Problem Solver Award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the best second-half improvement in average lap speed while finishing on the lead lap. The Stewart-Haas Racing-owned No. 14 Chevrolet Impala delivered a race-best 0.449-second improvement at Indy.
“We just fought all day and I’m really proud of Darian Grubb and the guys on this Mobil 1/ Office Depot Chevy,” Stewart said. “They kept fighting and I fought for everything I could get all day.”
It was a hard fight. Stewart, who started 24th, had climbed to 16th in the early going before being assessed a pass-through penalty when he hit the pit road commitment cone while swerving around Kevin Harvick on Lap 25. The penalty pushed the car back to 31st position, where it would again pick up real estate before slapping the Turn 4 wall. That mishap forced Stewart back into the pits so Grubb and his crew could perform a quick inspection of the car’s robust MOOG-equipped steering and suspension system.
Another challenge arose on Lap 95, when Stewart and another car made contact in the pits, causing fender damage and costing the No. 14 Chevrolet more than a dozen positions.
Then their luck turned. Stewart picked up several positions over the next two green-flag runs and Grubb’s decision to call for a fuel-only stop under caution on Lap 122 catapulted the car into the top 15. Stewart cracked the top five by Lap 132 and was the leader just three laps later. He was forced back into the pits for fuel on Lap 145, then regained 10 positions for his eighth top-10 finish of the year.
“Darian had his hands full today, but he and Tony battled through every challenge and the car’s MOOG-equipped chassis was in great form over the second half of the race,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “Problem solving is a huge part of Sprint Cup racing, and Darian really earned this award today.”