Paul Menard celebrated the impending birth of his first child with an impressive third-place finish in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Following the race, Menard’s crew chief, Richard “Slugger” Labbe, whose problem-solving mastery helped power the MOOG Steering and Suspension-equipped No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet to its first top-five finish of the year, was honored as Federal-Mogul’s MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race.”
The MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award is presented following each Sprint Cup event to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. After starting 21st, Menard and the No. 27 Chevrolet quickly advanced into the top 10 and briefly held the lead during the first 133 laps, then delivered a race-best 0.142-second-per-lap improvement over the final 200 miles to help Labbe earn MOOG Problem Solver honors.
“Slugger gave Paul the perfect chassis setup for today’s starting conditions and did an outstanding job of anticipating changes in the track throughout the afternoon,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “They had a fast car at the start, but Slugger and the Richard Childress team just kept making it better with each adjustment to their MOOG-equipped chassis.”
The top-five finish comes at the right time for the 27 team, which finished 32nd at Daytona and 23rd in last week’s race at Phoenix. The team sits 18th in Sprint Cup points. “Paul and Slugger have the racing program behind them to make a serious move in driver points,” Nelson said.
The weekly MOOG Problem Solver award is one of two crew chief awards presented by Federal-Mogul. The company also sponsors the prestigious $100,000 MOOG Problem Solver of the Year Award, which is presented to the crew chief with the best overall performance throughout the 36-race season.
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, improved performance and easier installation. NASCAR Cup champions have driven to victory with MOOG parts for an unprecedented 48 straight years.
For more information regarding the MOOG Problem Solver awards and MOOG products, visit the brand’s technician-focused www.moogproblemsolver.com website or contact your MOOG supplier. Like MOOG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moogproblemsolver. To identify the right MOOG part for virtually any application, use the convenient, free www.FMe-cat.com electronic catalog.