Gil Martin, crew chief for Kevin Harvick and the #29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, collected his first NASCAR MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award Sunday afternoon after the #29 car passed five-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson on the final lap to win the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, CA.
The MOOG Problem Solver award recognizes the crew chief whose car delivers the largest improvement in average lap speed during the second half of each Sprint Cup event while finishing on the lead lap. Harvick and the MOOG chassis parts-equipped Chevrolet led only one lap – the last one – but posted a race-high .202-second improvement over the final 100 laps of Auto Club Speedway’s 2-mile D-shaped oval. Harvick started the race in 24th position.
“With five laps to go, it looked like it would be Kyle Busch or Jimmie, but Kevin stayed focused and just catapulted into the lead,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “It really came down to who had more grip on the last lap, and it’s obvious Gil and Kevin knew they had enough to get by the #48 car in Turn 3.”
Four of the top five finishers took a chance in electing to stay out on the track during the final caution, on Lap 185. Busch (third), Johnson (second), Harvick and Ryan Newman (fifth) chose to finish on worn tires while Matt Kenseth (fourth) and several others chose to pit for fresh rubber. Martin’s decision played out best, as Harvick had enough rubber to go high in turns 3 and 4 to power past Johnson.
“It was a tough call, but that’s how you win Sprint Cup races and the MOOG Problem Solver award,” Nelson said. “Gil and Kevin had the #29 car running at its best on the last lap of the day and that was their ticket to the winner’s circle.”
MOOG steering and suspension components are the leading choice of automotive service technicians, as well, and are available through thousands of leading repair locations throughout North America. The unique benefits of MOOG products are highlighted in Federal-Mogul’s “Smart Choice” campaign, which reinforces the message that longer lasting, better performing replacement parts are today’s best option for technicians and consumers.
For additional information regarding MOOG chassis parts, please 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.