Rodney Childers, crew chief for Brian Vickers and the No. 55 RK Motors Toyota, won his first MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” Award of 2012 after Vickers made a late charge to finish fourth in Sunday’s NASCAR Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma (CA) Raceway. Childers and Vickers have delivered two top-five finishes in only three Sprint Cup starts together this year.
Sponsored by MOOG Steering and Suspension parts 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 speed over the second half of the contest while finishing on the lead lap. Childers and the Michael Waltrip Racing crew gave Vickers a strong car at the start, but made it a race-high 0.328-second faster over the final 66 laps of Sonoma’s 1.99-mile road course.
Vickers, doing spot duty for the No. 55 team, finished sixth in the GTE–AM class in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. He showed no signs of rust in the heavier and more powerful No. 55 Toyota, advancing from 21st to eighth over the first 40 laps before being penalized for speeding on pit road. The MOOG-equipped Toyota made a second charge toward the front in the late going and improved to fourth in a final-lap pass of five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
“The 55 car was strong all day and that’s a testament to both Brian and Rodney, who really haven’t had a lot of time working together this year,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “Two top-fives in three starts is impressive, especially when those races have come weeks apart. Rodney had their MOOG-equipped chassis dialed in at the start and Brian really pushed the car to its limits.”
Childers becomes the 11th crew chief to claim at least one MOOG Problem Solver award this year. With 16 races down, five crew chiefs – Jimmy Fennig (No. 17 Ford), Steve Letarte (No. 88 Chevrolet), Chad Johnston (No. 56 Toyota), Steve Addington (No. 14 Chevrolet), and Chad Knaus (No. 48 Chevrolet) – are tied with two weekly MOOG wins each in the battle for the season-ending $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award.
MOOG Steering and Suspension components are the leading choice of crew chiefs and automotive repair professionals and have helped drive an unprecedented 46 consecutive NASCAR Cup champions to victory, said the company.
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.