Kevin Harvick became one of six drivers to clinch a top-10 position in the season-ending Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and his crew chief, Gil Martin, was named Federal-Mogul’s MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” following Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Harvick and Martin overcame tight handling to pick up 21 positions and finish ninth on the 1.5-mile oval.
The MOOG Problem Solver of the Race 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. Harvick and Martin’s MOOG-equipped No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS was best in class in Atlanta, with a 0.071-second improvement.
Martin’s second 2013 weekly MOOG Problem Solver award moves him into a four-way tie for second place in the race for the $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award. Leading the MOOG year-end standings with three weekly Problem Solver wins are Todd Gordon, crew chief for Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), and Ryan Newman (No. 39 Chevrolet) crew chief Matt Borland. Joining Martin in second place are crew chiefs Kevin Manion (Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet), Steve Letarte (Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet) and Paul Wolfe (Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford). A total of 17 different crew chiefs have claimed the MOOG brand’s weekly award this year.
“The Problem Solver of the Year battle always seems to come down to the last race in Homestead (Fla.), and it’s looking like a wide open field again this year,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “We’ve had 17 different weekly MOOG winners in 25 races and yet it’s still possible that someone else could get hot with three or four wins over the next 11 events to take home the $100,000 check and MOOG trophy.”
Martin certainly earned his award at Atlanta, as he and Harvick battled tight handling throughout the 325-lap race. Thanks to an extensive series of chassis adjustments, however, the 29 car, which started 30th, ran all but 17 laps in the top 15. The team’s 13th top-10 finish secured Harvick’s Chase spot and moved him up one position, to third, in Sprint Cup points.
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