Steve Letarte, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 National Guard – An American Salute/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, received Federal-Mogul’s MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award after the 88 car posted its seventh top-10 finish in eight races in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte (NC) Motor Speedway. The No. 88 team, which had just 12 top-10s in all of 2011, stands fourth overall in Sprint Cup points.
One of Cup racing’s most prestigious honors, the MOOG Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest improvement in average lap speed during the second half of the race while finishing on the lead lap. The No. 88 Chevrolet started 12th but improved by a race-best 0.150-second per lap to finish sixth on Charlotte’s mile-and-a-half quad-oval.
Racing the same chassis that won the preliminary Sprint Showdown event and the fourth segment of the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte last week, Earnhardt ran in the top 10 for most of the night as Letarte and the Hendrick Motorsports crew continually adjusted the car’s MOOG-equipped chassis to address rapidly cooling track temperatures. The 88 car was at its best in the final 80 laps as it solidified its position in the top eight, with Earnhardt trying to mount a challenge to eventual race winner and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne.
“Steve and Dale had the second fastest Chevrolet on the track, behind Kasey, and they kept getting better all night long, which is what the MOOG Problem Solver award is all about,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “They have made huge progress this year, and it’s only a matter of time until they put it all together for a win.”
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.