Clint Bowyer and the 5-hour Energy Toyota got the top-five finish they needed and the Michael Waltrip Racing team’s crew chief, Brian Pattie, earned his second MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award in Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Sponsored by global vehicle components manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation, the weekly MOOG Problem Solver Award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest improvement in average lap speed during the second half of the race while finishing on the lead lap. Bowyer, who started fifth, improved by a race-high 0.129-second per lap over the final 150 laps to finish third overall and move up one position in driver points, to ninth, with just seven races remaining before the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Bowyer and Pattie battled tight handling during the early portion of the race, but a series of adjustments to the Toyota’s MOOG-equipped steering and suspension coupled with smart pit strategy helped advance the No. 15 team from 13th to 6th place over a 40-lap span. Bowyer ran in the top five over the final 20 laps.
The team’s fourth top-five of 2012 couldn’t have come at a better time. Bowyer won at Sonoma on June 24 but finished 16th at Kentucky and was collected in a late-race crash that gave him a DNF last week at Daytona. Sunday’s recovery puts the team back on an upward trajectory in points position, especially critical given last year’s change in Chase format that reserves the final two slots as wildcards.
“Brian and Clint had their backs up against the wall coming into the weekend, and then they encountered a car that really wasn’t running its best. Brian and his crew did an excellent job of adjusting their MOOG-equipped chassis and, more importantly, Brian made some great calls in the pits to get them back into contention,” said Tim Nelson, motorsports director for Federal-Mogul. “That just shows that true problem solvers never give up they just keep fighting for any advantage they can find during a race.”
Pattie’s MOOG win moves him into a six-way tie for second place in the battle for the $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award. Steve Addington, crew chief for Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet, leads with three weekly MOOG awards.
According to the company, MOOG Steering and Suspension components are the leading choice of automotive repair professionals and top crew chiefs and have helped drive an unprecedented 46 consecutive NASCAR Cup champions to victory.
For additional information regarding MOOG chassis parts, visit the brand’s technician-focused www.moogproblemsolver.com website or contact your MOOG supplier. To identify the right MOOG part for virtually any application, use the convenient, free www.FMe-cat.com electronic catalog.