Blickenderfer claims NASCAR MOOG Award
Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Dewalt Ford Fusion posted their third straight top-10 finish and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer won the MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award for the second consecutive week in Sunday’s NASCAR Autism Speaks 400 at the “Monster Mile” of Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Sponsored by MOOG steering and suspension parts manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation, the Problem Solver of the Race Award is presented following each NASCAR Sprint Cup event to the crew chief whose car finishes on the lead lap and posts the largest increase in average lap speed from the first half to the second half of the race.
Kenseth, who considers Dover his favorite Sprint Cup track – with two poles, one win, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes – placed fourth in spite of early struggles with loose handling. Led by Blickensderfer, the No. 17 crew experimented with a variety of adjustments through the first 120 laps before finding a setup that would put the car back into contention. Kenseth restarted in 17th position following his third pit stop but quickly moved up to eighth over the next 42 laps. The Ford Fusion led the race for seven laps and ran second for 29 before falling back to fifth. Blickensderfer and Kenseth went for broke, opting for four tires, in their last pit stop on lap 366 and were able to pick up another spot over the final 31 laps. The Ford posted a field-best .358-second increase in average lap speed in the second half of the race.
“Dover can throw a lot of surprises at you, and Matt, Drew and the No. 17 team really had their hands full with loose handling in the early part of the race,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “Making the critical adjustments that improve your car from an also-ran to one of the leaders is what the MOOG Problem Solver Award is all about.
“Drew has done a fantastic job this year, as seen in his three MOOG Awards, including two straight on two very challenging tracks.”
As “The Problem Solver,” Federal-Mogul’s MOOG products improve on original steering and suspension designs to help make installation faster and ensure the consistent, precise steering response and handling needed to dominate NASCAR Cup competition. In fact, every NASCAR Cup champion since 1966 has driven to victory using MOOG components.