Chad Johnston named MOOG ‘Problem Solver of the Race’ at PIR

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Chad Johnston, crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 56 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry, captured his first MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” Award after helping Truex post a top-10 finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Subway Fresh Fit 500 Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Sponsored by global vehicle components manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation, the MOOG Problem Solver award is presented following each Sprint Cup contest to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest improvement in average lap time over the second half of the race while finishing on the lead lap. Truex and the MOOG-equipped No. 56 Toyota started 25th but improved by a race-best 0.230-second per lap over the final 156 laps to finish seventh at PIR.

“Martin and Chad are starting right where they left off at the end of last season,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson, referring to the Michael Waltrip Racing-owned team’s four top-10 finishes in the final five 2011 Sprint Cup events. “Chad gave Martin the fastest car for Friday’s Happy Hour practice session and it was one of the fastest and best-handling cars out there today.”

Truex picked his way through the field to crack the top 10 within the first 100 laps and was in the lead before the next-to-last series of pit stops reshuffled the field with 70 laps to go.  The No. 56 car climbed back into the top 10 with 20 laps remaining but ran out of time in its run toward the front.

“They’ve got a lot of momentum right now and Chad has a great sense of how to get the most out of their MOOG steering and suspension system,” Nelson said. “The No. 56 team could surprise a lot of people this year.”

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