Marcos Ambrose’s third straight top-10 finish was the ticket to crew chief Todd Parrott’s second MOOG Chassis Parts “Problem Solver of the Race” Award in Saturday night’s Bank of America NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte (NC) Motor Speedway.
Presented by global vehicle components supplier and MOOG steering and suspension parts manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation, the MOOG Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief who helps his team post the best improvement in average lap time over the second half of each Sprint Cup contest. Ambrose and the No. 9 Stanley Bostitch Ford Fusion were tops in Charlotte by finishing fifth with a 0.155-second jump.
After starting 12th, Ambrose quickly moved into the top eight before reporting that the Ford’s handling was tight and needed to provide more grip in the corners. Parrott and the Richard Petty Motorsports crew responded with a series of precise adjustments to the MOOG-equipped steering and suspension over the next three pit stops, with each change adding to Ambrose’s confidence and track position.
Parrott and Ambrose averted near-disaster when the caution flew after the No. 9 entered pit road on Lap 287. Rather than fall a lap down with just 47 laps remaining, Parrott gave Ambrose the wave-around to put the No. 9 in the final spot on the lead lap for the restart. The car’s earlier chassis adjustments helped Ambrose quickly make up the deficit as he battled his way up to fourth by Lap 318.
“Todd encouraged Marcos to give the chassis setup some time earlier in the race and he was absolutely right – the No. 9 was consistently posting lap speeds that were as fast as the leaders over the second half of the race,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “Todd sensed that track conditions would start to shift and they did.”
With just five races remaining in the 2011 Sprint Cup season, six crew chiefs – Drew Blickensderfer (#6 Ford), Steve Letarte (#88 Chevrolet), Gil Martin (#29 Chevrolet), Bob Osborne (#99 Ford), Shane Wilson (#33 Chevrolet), and Paul Wolfe (#2 Dodge) – remain deadlocked in the battle for season-ending MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” honors.
“Every decision made in the pits from here on out could have a huge affect on the outcome of our MOOG Problem Solver competition. And believe me, all six of those guys know it,” Nelson said.
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.