SOUTHFIELD, Mich. Dale Earnhardt Jr. all but clinched a spot in the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup, and crew chief Steve Letarte earned his second MOOG Steering and Suspension Problem Solver of the Race Award after Earnhardt and the MOOG-equipped No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet won Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Sponsored by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corp., the MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award is presented following each NASCAR Sprint Cup event to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. A series of chassis adjustments made by Letarte and the Hendrick Motorsports crew helped the 88 car deliver a race-best 0.739-seconds-per-lap improvement on Pocono’s 2.5-mile triangle.
Letarte’s second MOOG Problem Solver of the Race win comes in his last season as a Sprint Cup crew chief. The veteran of 19 Cup seasons will begin a new career in the television broadcast booth in 2015. With two weekly MOOG Problem Solver wins, he is tied with four other crew chiefs Todd Gordon (No. 22 Ford, Joey Logano); Daniel Knost (No. 41 Chevrolet, Kurt Busch); Jimmy Fennig (No. 99 Ford, Carl Edwards); and Richard “Slugger” Labbe (No. 27 Chevrolet, Paul Menard) in the battle for the $100,000 MOOG Problem Solver of the Year Award. The 88 team is now third in Sprint Cup points.
The 88 Chevrolet started eighth and, while running consistently in the top 10, never seriously threatened race leader Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford) until Lap 155 of 160, when Keselowski tucked in behind a lapped car in an attempt to dislodge debris from his grill. Earnhardt sensed and seized the opportunity, catapulting past the No. 2 and holding on for his second win of the year.
“Steve had the 88 car running at its best when it really counted,” said Tim Nelson, motorsports director for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Brad was dominant today, but Dale Junior made a great move at the end. We’re proud that MOOG parts helped him capture his second victory.”
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.