Darlington race brings MOOG Award to Crew Chief Steve Addington
Steve Addington, crew chief for Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, turned an ill-handling car into a near winner in Saturday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway, and was rewarded for his work with Federal-Mogul’s MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award.
Addington won the prestigious MOOG award based on the No. 14 car’s race-best 0.323-second improvement in average lap speed over the final 184 laps. Stewart, the reigning Sprint Cup champion, started 17th and fought handling issues throughout the first half of the race. Addington and the Stewart-Haas Racing crew eventually found the right balance, allowing Stewart to fight his way back toward the front of the field. Given the problems they faced all night, the team’s third-place finish was worth celebrating, according to Stewart.
“That’s why we won a championship last year – we never give up,” Stewart said. “Steve kept me positive. He was calm the whole time. He kept saying, ‘I'll work on it, I'll get it fixed.’”
Addington and crew made an extensive series of adjustments to the No. 14 car’s MOOG-equipped steering and suspension to solve loose handling in turns one and two and a tight condition in turns three and four. Each pit stop seemed to make the car a little better, with Stewart cracking the top 10 with 200 laps to go and running fifth with 100 laps remaining. The No. 14 was second behind eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson before its engine sputtered on the final restart.
“Just an amazing performance by Steve and the Stewart-Haas team,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “It looked like they didn’t have a chance, but they just kept troubleshooting their setup until they found something that worked. That performance is a perfect example of true MOOG problem-solving excellence.”