Paul Menard posted the best overall performance of his Sprint Cup racing career and his crew chief, Richard “Slugger” Labbe, won his first NASCAR MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award after Menard’s #98 Ford finished fifth in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Sponsored by Federal-Mogul Corporation, manufacturer of MOOG steering and suspension parts, the MOOG award is presented following each Sprint Cup event to the crew chief whose car posts the largest increase in average lap speed from the first half to the second half of the race while finishing on the lead lap. Menard’s #98 Ford improved by 0.140 second per lap as it moved up from 23rd position to capture a brief lead and then held on to fifth place in a race that ran nearly 25 miles beyond its scheduled distance.
Menard and Labbe are in their first season together under the Richard Petty Motorsports banner, and the combination seems to be working as Sunday’s finish puts Menard in the top 10 in Sprint Cup points for the first time in his career. The driver praised the setup of his MOOG-equipped chassis, which needed only minimal adjustments over the course of Sunday’s race. Perhaps the biggest factor in the finish was Labbe’s decision to go with two, rather than four, tires in the final pit stop to keep the #98 car at the front. The strategy worked, as a wreck and subsequent caution erased the advantage of cars that had taken four tires.
“Paul and Slugger have a great partnership going this year, and you can see it in the results,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “Slugger is tuning the #98 car’s MOOG-equipped chassis to match Paul’s driving style, and Paul really looked comfortable out there today. The call for two tires at the end was very smart – they both knew they had a crack at the top 5 and their strategy worked out brilliantly.”
Available through leading vehicle service providers and parts stores across North America, MOOG chassis parts help deliver the consistent, precise steering and handling response needed to ensure success in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. That’s why MOOG is the preferred chassis brand of crew chiefs and professional technicians.
The benefits of MOOG parts and other leading Federal-Mogul repair solutions are at the center of the company’s innovative new "Smart Choice" multi-brand campaign designed to reinforce the message that longer lasting, better performing premium replacement products are today’s best option for professionals and do-it-yourselfers.
For additional information regarding MOOG steering and suspension products, visit the brand’s technician-focused www.moogproblemsolver.com website or contact your MOOG supplier. To learn more about the Federal-Mogul “Smart Choice” campaign, simply visit www.FMSmartChoice.com.