Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Jeff Gordon and the MOOG Steering and Suspension-equipped No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet, was named MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” after the 24 car finished second in Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. But Gustafson’s performance ultimately was not enough to help Gordon advance to next Sunday’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship Round at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
Sponsored by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, the weekly MOOG Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. The 24 Chevrolet improved by a race-best 0.157-second per lap at PIR, securing weekly Problem Solver honors for Gustafson, but Gordon was edged out of the Chase finale when Ryan Newman and the MOOG-equipped No. 31 Chevrolet picked up additional points with a final-lap pass of rookie Kyle Larson.
“It had to be a heartbreaking finish for the 24 team, especially after running so well over the second half, but Jeff and Alan handled it like the true professionals they are,” said Tim Nelson, motorsports director for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Now it all comes down to next Sunday – not only for the Chase but also the 2014 MOOG ‘Problem Solver of the Year’ Award.”
The $100,000 year-end MOOG Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief with the best overall performance throughout the 36-race Sprint Cup season. Luke Lambert, crew chief for Ryan Newman, remains in the lead with four weekly Problem Solver wins, followed by Jimmy Fennig (No. 99 Ford, Carl Edwards), Chris Heroy (No. 42 Chevrolet, Kyle Larson), Chad Knaus (No. 48 Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson), and Steve Letarte (No. 88 Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr.), with three wins apiece. Six crew chiefs have two weekly MOOG 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.