Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson scored his sixth top-five finish in the past 10 races and the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet crew chief, Chad Knaus, was named Federal-Mogul’s MOOG Chassis Parts “Problem Solver of the Race” in Tuesday’s rain-delayed AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Johnson’s second-place finish gives him the series points lead with just one event remaining before the season-ending 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Knaus captured his second MOOG Problem Solver Award of 2011 after the #48 car posted a race-high 0.207-second-per-lap improvement in average lap speed over the final 162 laps.
Like many teams, Johnson and Knaus struggled to find the right setup after a two-day rain delay and the prospect for more precipitation Tuesday. The #48 car started 17th and dropped as low as 22nd before Knaus and the Hendrick Motorsports crew could dial in the car’s MOOG-equipped steering and suspension system for a run at the leaders. Johnson cracked the top 10 by Lap 170 and led the field for a 60-mile run beginning on Lap 248. He then made a furious run at eventual race winner Jeff Gordon, nearly erasing what had been a 2-second deficit over the final 20 laps.
“Jimmie and Chad gave Jeff everything he could handle on that final run, which is amazing given the challenges they faced early in the race,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “That’s why Jimmie is the five-time defending champion – they find a solution to every problem. I don’t think anyone’s surprised that Jimmie and Chad are back on top of the standings late in the season.”
With 11 races to go, four crew chiefs – Bob Osborne (#99 Ford), Steve Letarte (#88 Chevrolet), Gil Martin (#29 Chevrolet) and Paul Wolfe (#2 Dodge) – remain deadlocked with three wins each in the battle for the MOOG Problem Solver of the Year Award. Three crew chiefs have two weekly MOOG wins – Knaus, Alan Gustafson (#24 Chevrolet) and Peter Sospenzo (#34 Ford).
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.