Martin Truex Jr. had the fastest car at the end of Sunday’s rain-shortened NASCAR Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway, enabling the No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota to finish third and move up two positions, to fifth, in Sprint Cup points. Following the race, Truex’s crew chief, Chad Johnston, received his third MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” Award in recognition of the 56 car’s impressive 2.264-second improvement in average lap time over the final 49 laps.
Sponsored by MOOG Steering and Suspension components manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation, the MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award is presented following each Sprint Cup race to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest improvement in average lap time over the second half while finishing on the lead lap.
Johnston and the Michael Waltrip Racing crew made several adjustments to the No. 56 Toyota’s MOOG-equipped steering and suspension system during the first two scheduled pit stops to correct a tight handling condition. Those changes made a big difference, as Truex, who started 15th but ran as low as 18th in the early going, quickly moved into the top 10 and was firmly entrenched in the top five over the final 50 miles of racing. He improved to third after narrowly avoiding a multi-car accident on Lap 91 and seemed to have the speed to challenge race leader Jeff Gordon over the balance of the scheduled 160 laps. Mother Nature had other ideas, however, as heavy rains forced NASCAR to red flag the race after Lap 98.
“Pocono always wreaks havoc on chassis setups, but it was especially tough today because of the weather,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “Chad did an excellent job of giving Martin a well-balanced car after the first two stops, and they had the speed and handling toward the end to win the race. They have had excellent crew work all season, so it’s no surprise they’ve virtually locked up a spot in the Chase.”
In addition to the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup, Johnston’s problem-solving excellence has implications in another tight battle for the $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award. With his third weekly MOOG award win, he is now tied for the lead with Steve Addington (No. 14 Chevrolet) and Steve Letarte (No. 88 Chevrolet). Five crew chiefs are tied for second place with two wins apiece.
According to the company, MOOG Steering and Suspension components are the leading choice automotive repair professionals and of top crew chiefs and have helped drive an unprecedented 46 consecutive NASCAR Cup champions to victory.
For additional information regarding MOOG steering and suspension components, 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.