SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Austin Dillon crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe took home MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” honors after Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet finished seventh just a split second before going airborne and hitting the catch-fence in Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. To the great relief of all who saw it, Dillon somehow walked away from the violent crash, which occurred early Monday morning due to a three-hours-plus pre-race rain delay.
The MOOG Problem Solver Award of the Race and season-ending Problem Solver of the Year awards are sponsored by MOOG Steering and Suspension manufacturer Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corp. MOOG is the Official Steering and Suspension of NASCAR.
Labbe’s award, his first of the year, came after the No. 3 car improved by a race-best 0.022 second per lap while finishing on the lead lap. The Richard Childress Racing-owned Chevrolet SS started second and led eight laps early. Dillon ran most of the night in the top 15, but restarted at the rear of the field near mid-race after sustaining damage in an earlier incident. The MOOG-equipped car quickly made up the deficit and was running at the front of the second pack of cars with nine laps remaining. Dillon improved to 11th over successive restarts in the closing laps and picked up four additional positions in the green-white-checkered finish. The race was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the MOOG-equipped No. 88 Chevrolet.
“Slugger and the RCR crew helped keep Austin in it with their repair work after the first incident and their ability to find additional speed through a series of chassis adjustments,” said Tim Nelson, director of motorsports for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “The greatest reward for all of their hard work, of course, was to see Austin walk away from that crash at the end. We’re all very thankful he is okay.”
The MOOG brand, the preferred choice of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs, is in its 50th year of Cup competition. In recognition of the vital importance of steering and suspension components in overall vehicle safety and performance, NASCAR now requires that Cup teams use MOOG Problem Solver parts, specifically ball joints and tie rod ends. Cup Series champions have chosen MOOG parts for 49 consecutive years.
To learn more about MOOG products, please contact your MOOG Steering and Suspension supplier or visit the technician-focused www.moogproblemsolver.com website. Like MOOG on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/moogproblemsolver and follow the brand on Twitter for product updates and special promotions.