Darian Grubb, crew chief for Tony Stewart and the No. 14 El Monterey/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala, joined six other NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chiefs in the lead for Federal-Mogul’s 2011 MOOG Chassis Parts “Problem Solver of the Year” Award after he captured weekly MOOG Problem Solver honors in Sunday’s Good Sam 500 at Talladega (AL) Superspeedway.
Grubb received his third MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award after the Stewart-Hass Racing-owned Chevrolet posted a race-high 0.188-second-per-lap improvement over the final 94 laps to finish seventh on Talladega’s 2.66-mile tri-oval. The finish moved Stewart up one spot to fourth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with just four races remaining.
Grubb’s weekly MOOG Problem Solver award propelled him into a seven-way tie with crew chiefs Drew Blickensderfer (#6 Ford), Steve Letarte (#88 Chevrolet), Gil Martin (#29 Chevrolet), Bob Osborne (#99 Ford), Shane Wilson (#33 Chevrolet), and Paul Wolfe (#2 Dodge) for the prestigious season-ending MOOG award. In the case of a tie at year-end, the award will be presented to the crew chief whose team finishes highest in the Chase standings.
“The MOOG Problem Solver awards are always very competitive, but this is the tightest battle we’ve ever seen,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “The next four races should be a lot of fun for fans to watch as these crew chiefs look for the best way to maximize the performance of their cars’ MOOG-equipped steering and suspension systems.”
Stewart and the No. 14 Chevrolet started the day in 12th position but quickly moved up to the front in a two-car draft with Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman (#39 Chevrolet). When Newman spun into the infield on Lap 81, Stewart found another drafting partner to push him into the lead from laps 136 through 145 and 149 through 156. He regained the lead for nine laps near the end of the race before losing his drafting partner and falling back to seventh.
“Darian and Tony had an excellent strategy and a very fast car,” Nelson said. “Losing Ryan (Newman) as their drafting partner was a huge blow, but they picked up the pieces and stayed in the top five for most of the day. The No. 14 car’s MOOG-equipped chassis was dialed in perfectly to give Tony both the speed and handling precision he needed to avoid trouble out there.”
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.