SOUTHFIELD, Mich. Paul Menard coaxed his battered and bruised, MOOG Steering and Suspension-equipped No. 27 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet SS to an improbable sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Following the race, Menard’s crew chief, Richard “Slugger” Labbe, was selected as Federal-Mogul’s (NASDAQ: FDML) MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” for helping deliver a race-best 0.117-second-per-lap improvement over the final 250 miles.
The MOOG Problem Solver of the Race 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. At the end of the season, Federal-Mogul presents the $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award to the crew chief with the most MOOG wins. This was the second MOOG award win of 2014 for Labbe, who is in his fourth season with Richard Childress Racing.
“Anyone who saw the 27 car up close after the race had to be amazed that Paul and Slugger were able to keep it competitive over the final 50 laps, much less deliver the best performance improvement,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “In some events, problem solving involves highly precise chassis adjustments that help address changing track conditions. Today it was a case of hammering away at damaged sheet metal to clear the tires and then relying on the strength and precise handling of the car’s MOOG steering and suspension parts.”
Equipped with the same RCR chassis that had been used in the Daytona 500, the MOOG-equipped Chevrolet took the No. 2 spot in Friday’s qualifying. Menard led the first five laps of Sunday’s race and ran in the top 15 for much of the afternoon while doing his best to avoid one of Talladega’s infamous “Big Ones.” The 27 car didn’t get caught in any serious collisions, but it did sustain heavy damage to the driver’s side in the final 120 miles of racing. Labbe and the RCR crew worked feverishly to repair the damage during a series of pit stops, and Menard found he still had the power and handling to challenge the race leaders.
Labbe is one of four crew chiefs with two weekly MOOG Problem Solver wins. Six different crew chiefs have earned MOOG honors in the first 10 races of the Sprint Cup season.
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.