With just one week to go before his first Chase for the Sprint Cup, Trent Owens, crew chief for Aric Almirola and the MOOG Steering and Suspension-equipped No. 43 Eckrich Ford, added another highlight to his resume: the MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award. Owens picked up the weekly MOOG award after the 43 Ford Fusion improved by a race-best 0.192-second per lap to finish 10th in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Sponsored by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, the MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award is presented to the crew chief whose car delivers the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. Federal-Mogul Motorparts also sponsors the $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award, presented to the crew chief with the best performance throughout the 36-race Sprint Cup season.
The 43 team had already secured a Chase spot as a result of its victory in July’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, but Almirola and Owens showed no signs of sitting back to avoid trouble on Richmond’s .75-mile D-shaped oval. After starting 26th, the 43 car advanced into the top 15 in the first half of the race. As Owens continued to fine-tune the car’s MOOG-equipped chassis, Almirola improved to 12th with 60 laps to go and picked up two more positions in the late going to secure its second-straight top-10 finish.
“Consecutive top 10s is a great way to show you belong in the Chase field, and Aric and Trent have certainly earned their opportunity to compete for the season championship,” said Tim Nelson, motorsports director for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Like every crew chief on pit road, Trent never stopped exploring ways to optimize their steering and suspension, and that hard work ultimately helped them pick up several positions in the second half.”
Owens becomes the 17th different crew chief to earn weekly MOOG Problem Solver honors this year. With 10 races remaining, two crew chiefs – Jimmy Fennig (No. 99 Ford, Carl Edwards) and Steve Letarte (No. 88 Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr.) – are tied at the top of the MOOG Problem Solver of the Year standings with three weekly MOOG wins each. Four crew chiefs have two weekly Problem Solver wins.
According to the company, MOOG Steering and Suspension is the preferred brand of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs, and MOOG components are recognized as the automotive service industry’s “Problem Solver,” with innovative parts that improve on original designs by providing increased durability, enhanced performance and easier installation. NASCAR Cup champions have driven to victory with MOOG parts for an unprecedented 48 straight years.
For more information regarding the MOOG Problem Solver awards and MOOG products, visit the brand’s technician-focused www.moogproblemsolver.com website or contact your MOOG supplier. Like MOOG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moogproblemsolver.