Rodney Childers, crew chief for the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Freightliner/Jet Edge Toyota, won his second MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” Award after helping driver Brian Vickers post his fourth top-10 finish in just seven starts during Sunday’s Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Childers works with three drivers on the 55 car – Vickers, Mark Martin and team owner Michael Waltrip.
The MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award, sponsored by global vehicle components manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation, is presented following each Sprint Cup contest to the crew chief whose car delivers the greatest improvement in average lap time over the second half of the event while finishing on the lead lap. The MOOG-equipped No. 55 Toyota was a race-high 0.298-seconds-per-lap better over the final 150 laps while finishing ninth at New Hampshire. The 55 car had qualified fourth but was forced to start near the back of the pack due to a pre-race engine change.
“Rodney faces an unusual challenge because he’s the crew chief for three drivers rather than one, yet the 55 team has been consistently fast all year,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “He gave Brian another excellent car at the start of the race, then made it better throughout the day by maximizing the performance of their MOOG-equipped chassis.”
Vickers advanced to 14th position with 120 laps remaining when Childers called for two tires rather than four during a green-flag pit stop, which helped give the 55 car a brief lead. A subsequent four-tire stop with 23 laps left kept Vickers in the top 10 through the finish. Mark Martin will be behind the wheel for next Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, and Vickers will return to the team at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on October 28.
With Childers’ win, the battle for the $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award remains virtually unchanged, with three crew chiefs – Steve Addington (No. 14 Chevrolet/Tony Stewart), Chad Johnston (No. 56 Toyota/Martin Truex Jr.) and Steve Letarte (#88 Chevrolet/Dale Earnhardt Jr.) – tied for the lead with four weekly MOOG awards each. Chad Knaus (No. 48 Chevrolet/Jimmie Johnson) is in second place with three MOOG Problem Solver of the Race awards.
According to the company, MOOG Steering and Suspension components are the leading choice of automotive repair professionals and top crew chiefs and have helped drive an unprecedented 46 consecutive NASCAR Cup champions to victory.
For more information regarding MOOG steering and suspension components and the MOOG Problem Solver of the Race and Problem Solver of the Year awards, 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.