Martin Truex Jr. delivered his best Sprint Cup performance in four years and held off a furious challenge by Jeff Gordon over the final 20 laps to finish second in Saturday’s NASCAR Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (TN) Motor Speedway. Following the race, Truex’s crew chief, Chad Johnston, picked up his first MOOG Chassis Parts “Problem Solver of the Race” Award for the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota’s 0.049-second improvement over the final 250 laps.
Sponsored by global automotive original equipment and replacement parts manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation, the MOOG Problem Solver Award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the largest increase in average lap speed over the second half of each Sprint Cup contest while finishing on the lead lap.
“No car raced harder over the last 250 laps and certainly the final 80-lap green flag run than the #56. Martin pushed that car to the limit and Chad put him in position for a top-five finish with a great call in the pits,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson.
Truex, who started 27th, enjoyed exceptional handling all night thanks to the #56 Toyota’s MOOG-equipped steering and suspension system. Johnston was so sure of the car’s handling that he called for only two tires and no chassis adjustment in the final pit stop, on Lap 415, enabling Truex to beat the leaders onto the track and set up the showdown with Gordon’s faster-running #24 Chevrolet.
“Chad I owe it all to him,” Truex said. “We had a great car all night.”
Johnston, who took the reins of the Michael Waltrip Racing-owned Toyota at mid-season, becomes the 13th crew chief to have received a weekly MOOG Problem Solver Award in 2011. With 12 races to go, the battle for the prestigious season-ending MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award remains deadlocked, with crew chiefs Bob Osborne (#99 Ford), Steve Letarte (#88 Chevrolet), Gil Martin (#29 Chevrolet) and Paul Wolfe (#2 Dodge) each having earned three weekly MOOG awards.
MOOG steering and suspension components are the leading choice of NASCAR crew chiefs and automotive repair professionals and have helped drive an unprecedented 45 consecutive NASCAR Cup champions to victory.
For the latest news and statistics regarding the MOOG Problem Solver awards, simply click on the “NASCAR” link on the brand’s popular www.moogproblemsolver.com website. This technician-focused site also includes extensive technical information about MOOG steering and suspension components and a wide range of common chassis repair challenges. To identify the right MOOG part for virtually any application, use the convenient, free www.FMe-cat.com electronic catalog.