Three Crew Chiefs Still in Running with One Race to Go
With one race remaining in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, three crew chiefs are still in the running for Federal-Mogul’s $100,000 MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Year” Award. The top of the annual MOOG award standings was unchanged after Sunday’s wild AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, where Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Chevrolet) captured his first win of the season and crew chief Gil Martin took home “Problem Solver of the Race” honors.
Heading into next Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, Steve Addington, crew chief for Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Chevrolet, still holds a one-win lead with five weekly MOOG Problem Solver awards, followed by Steve Letarte, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), and Martin Truex Jr./No. 56 Toyota crew chief Chad Johnston. If Letarte or Johnston ties Addington next week, the $100,000 Problem Solver of the Year check will go to the crew chief whose driver ranks highest in Sprint Cup points. Tony Stewart currently stands 9th in points, Truex is 11th and Earnhardt, 12th.
The MOOG Problem Solver awards recognize the pit professionals who best improve their teams’ on-track performance during each Sprint Cup race and throughout the year. The Problem Solver of the Week award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. The Problem Solver of the Year award goes to the crew chief with the most weekly MOOG award wins.
“It’s been an absolute battle all year, with 16 different crew chiefs winning our weekly Problem Solver award and the margin of victory some weeks coming down to thousandths of a second,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “Each of these crew chiefs has an amazing ability to adjust their car’s MOOG-equipped steering and suspension system to match the dynamic conditions encountered during each race. These guys have been the very best on pit road this year.”
Gil Martin took home Sunday’s Problem Solver of the Week award – his first of 2012 – after Harvick and the No. 29 Chevrolet survived a wild finish featuring two multi-car accidents. Harvick seemingly had the race won on Lap 312, but Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Chevrolet) and Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Toyota) tangled between turns three and four just seconds before the 29 car could take the white flag. Following an extended cleanup, Harvick kept the lead on the restart and held on through seven overtime laps and a green-white-checkered finish.