Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and the MOOG Steering and Suspension-equipped No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion picked up their ninth top-five finish of the year and crew chief Paul Wolfe secured his second MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award in three weeks in Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Wolfe’s latest Problem Solver win moves him into a three-way tie at the top of the $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” standings with just three races to go.
Sponsored by global vehicle components manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation, the MOOG Problem Solver awards recognize the achievements of the top crew chiefs in Sprint Cup competition. Following each event, Federal-Mogul presents the MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award to the crew chief whose car posts the best second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. At the end of the season, the Problem Solver of the Year award goes to the crew chief with the most weekly MOOG wins.
Though they’re not part of this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, Keselowski and Wolfe have shown they still have plenty to fight for in the closing weeks. Their MOOG-equipped Ford took the checkered flag two weeks ago at Charlotte and improved by a race-best 0.182 seconds over the final 250 laps to finish fourth at Martinsville.
“There’s a world of difference between those two tracks, but Brad and Paul came into both races with great strategies and fast cars,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “The biggest challenge at Martinsville is preserving your brakes and tires and letting the race come to you rather than trying to force it. Paul improved the car throughout the race and Brad kept them in great position over the closing 100 laps.”
Wolfe joins crew chiefs Matt Borland (No. 39 Chevrolet, Ryan Newman) and Gil Martin (No. 29 Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick) in the lead for MOOG Problem Solver of the Year honors with four weekly MOOG wins. Meanwhile, Todd Gordon (No. 22 Ford, Joey Logano) and Kevin Manion (No. 1 Chevrolet, Jamie McMurray) are just one win back. In case of a tie at the end of the season, the $100,000 MOOG award goes to the crew chief whose driver finishes highest in the points standings.
“It’s looking like we might have to go to the tie-breaker this year,” Nelson said. “This battle garners a lot of attention on pit road and back in the garage area because it’s one of the few awards that shines the spotlight on the professionals who help determine the outcome of every race.”
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