SOUTHFIELD, Mich. Kenny Francis, crew chief for Kasey Kahne and the MOOG Steering and Suspension-equipped No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, won the MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award after the 5 team recovered from an early incident to post its second top-five finish of the season in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
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. The Hendrick Motorsports-owned No. 5 Chevrolet improved by a race-best 0.149 seconds per lap over the final 100 laps to finish fifth at MIS.
After battling bad luck over the season’s first 14 races, the No. 5 team seemed destined for more of the same at MIS, as Kahne spun out while trying to avoid an accident on Lap 8. The Farmers Insurance Chevrolet sustained only minor damage, but Francis and the Hendrick team spent the next 50 laps retuning the car’s MOOG-equipped steering and suspension.
Kahne slowly advanced from 31st position into the top 25. After multiple chassis adjustments and a free pass onto the lead lap following a mid-race caution, Kahne and Francis were back in business, methodically picking up track position over the final 100 laps. Kahne briefly led the race with 18 laps to go, but both driver and crew chief were satisfied with their top-five finish.
“Kasey and Kenny are thinking about one thing right now becoming more consistent so they can put themselves in position to win a race or two and secure a position in the Chase,” said Tim Nelson, motorsports director for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Kenny and his crew had their hands full after that early spin, but they did a great job of giving Kasey a fast racecar at the end.”
Francis is the 10th different crew chief in the season’s first 15 races to win MOOG Problem Solver honors. At the end of the season, Federal-Mogul Motorparts will present the $100,000 MOOG Problem Solver of the Year Award to the crew chief with the best overall performance through 36 races.
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.