SOUTHFIELD, Mich. The last of several cloudbursts left Brian Vickers disappointed on pit road as Sunday’s rain-delayed Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race was cut short after 112 laps. However, Vickers’ runner-up finish on the rain-slickened Daytona International Speedway did help crew chief Billy Scott win his first MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” Award.
Sponsored by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corp., the weekly MOOG Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest positive differential in average lap time over the second half of a Sprint Cup race while finishing on the lead lap. Vickers and the MOOG-equipped No. 55 Aaron’s/Florida State University Dream Machine Toyota improved by a race-best 0.608 seconds per lap at Daytona.
After starting 30th, Vickers picked up 17 positions during the first green flag run before he and Scott decided to fall back to avoid one of Daytona’s “big ones.” That turned out to be a smart move, as 16 cars tangled just a few laps later. The 55 team chose to stay the course avoiding three-wide racing over the balance of the afternoon, a strategy that paid dividends once again following a 26-car pileup on Lap 98. After the debris was cleared, Vickers was running second to Aric Almirola and the MOOG-equipped No. 43 Ford when the race was red-flagged for the final time due to rain.
“This was an extremely challenging weekend, as most drivers and crew chiefs were never able to get a feel for the racetrack due to changing conditions,” said Tim Nelson, motorsports director for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Billy and Brian had exactly the right strategy stay out of trouble early and let the opportunities come to you. If it hadn’t started raining again, they might have ended up on victory lane.”
In addition to the weekly MOOG Problem Solver award, Federal-Mogul Motorparts 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 Sprint Cup season. Steve Letarte, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet, is the leader through 18 events with three weekly MOOG award wins.
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, enhanced 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.