SOUTHFIELD, Mich. Chad Knaus, crew chief for six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, received Federal-Mogul’s MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” Award after the No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished third in Saturday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Knaus and Johnson overcame tight handling early in the race to post the team’s third top-five finish in eight starts.
One of professional racing’s most prestigious weekly honors, the MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award is presented following each NASCAR Sprint Cup event to the crew chief whose car has posted the greatest improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. Knaus’s fine-tuning of the 48 car’s MOOG-equipped steering and suspension system resulted in a race-best 0.298-second-per-lap improvement on the 1.366-mile track known for being “Too Tough to Tame.” Johnson started 26th.
“It was fun to watch Chad and the Hendrick Motorsports crew methodically improve the 48’s handling with each pit stop and chassis adjustment,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “No one had enough car to beat (race winner) Kevin Harvick’s MOOG-equipped number 4, but Chad helped make it interesting thanks to his problem-solving excellence on pit road.”
Johnson reported tight handling immediately following the start but thanks to a series of adjustments over the first three pit stops was able to advance to 23rd and then 17th before cracking the top 10 during the first third of the race. He moved into the top five on Lap 199 and was running second to Harvick’s Chevy SS with 50 laps to go. The third-place finish enabled Johnson to rise two spots, to fifth, in Sprint Cup points.
Federal-Mogul also sponsors the $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 season. Knaus is the sixth crew chief in eight races to win weekly MOOG honors, with Kurt Busch crew chief Daniel Knost (No. 41 Chevrolet) and Carl Edwards crew chief Jimmy Fennig (No. 99 Ford) being the only repeat winners to date.
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, improved 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. To identify the right MOOG part for virtually any application, please use the convenient, free www.FMe-cat.com electronic catalog.