SOUTHFIELD, Mich. Chad Knaus, crew chief for six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and the MOOG Steering and Suspension-equipped No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, won the MOOG "Problem Solver of the Race" Award after the 48 car picked up 12 positions to finish fourth in Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was Knaus’ second weekly MOOG win of the season, advancing him into a tie for second place in the $100,000 MOOG "Problem Solver of the Year" standings.
Sponsored by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corp., the weekly MOOG Problem Solver award is presented following each 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. The Hendrick Motorsports-owned Chevrolet SS improved by a race-best 0.293-second per lap over the final 167 laps of Atlanta’s 1.54-mile quad-oval.
Johnson, who started 16th, didn’t improve his position until Lap 30, but then steadily advanced into the top 10 and top five, where he remained for most of the evening. The race was won by Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kasey Kahne, whose MOOG-steered No. 5 Chevrolet became the fourth Hendrick car to qualify for the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup.
"Jimmie and Chad ran a really smart race on a track that has given them some trouble in the past," said Tim Nelson, director of motorsports for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. "Chad’s chassis adjustments made a significant difference in the car’s performance and Jimmie was able to avoid contact and deliver his eighth top-five finish. They look like they’re ready to make some noise in the Chase."
Several crew chiefs are also ready to make noise in the battle for the year-end $100,000 MOOG Problem Solver award. With 11 races remaining, Jimmy Fennig (No. 99 Ford, Carl Edwards) and Steve Letarte (No. 88 Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr.) remain tied for the lead with three weekly MOOG wins, followed by Knaus, Todd Gordon (No. 22 Ford, Joey Logano), Daniel Knost (No. 41 Chevrolet, Kurt Busch), Richard "Slugger" Labbe (No. 27 Chevrolet, Paul Menard), and Keith Rodden (No. 1 Chevrolet, Jamie McMurray) with two wins apiece.
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.