Joey Logano and the MOOG® Steering and Suspension-equipped No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion scored their third straight top-five finish and crew chief Todd Gordon earned his second MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR® Sprint Cup event at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. MOOG is the Official Steering and Suspension of NASCAR.
Gordon’s MOOG Problem Solver award came after the 22 car posted a race-high 0.570-second-per-lap improvement in average lap time during the second half of the race while finishing on the lead lap. The weekly award and $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award are sponsored by global vehicle components manufacturer Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: FDML).
The 22 car qualified 19th as Gordon and the Team Penske crew searched for an answer to a lack of grip exiting corners on the 1.99-mile road course. The problem persisted in the early laps of Sunday’s race, with Logano falling back as far as 26th. Gordon called for a pit stop on Lap 23 to adjust the car’s MOOG-equipped chassis and improve the car’s position as the balance of the field cycled through pit road. The strategy worked, with Logano quickly advancing into the top 10 with a much better handling car. The 22 was running fifth after 66 (of 110) laps and third with 27 laps to go. Logano had dropped back to eighth before the final green-flag segment but picked up three spots on fresh tires over the final eight laps to finish fifth. The race was won by Kyle Busch and the MOOG-equipped No. 18 Toyota Camry.
“Todd’s pit strategy and early chassis adjustments helped transform the 22 car after disappointing qualifying and practice sessions,” said Tim Nelson, director of motorsports for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Coming out of Sonoma with their third straight top five should give Team Penske a lot of confidence as we near the midway mark of the Cup season.”
Now with two weekly MOOG Problem Solver wins, Gordon is tied for second place with crew chiefs Chad Knaus (Jimmie Johnson/No. 48 Chevrolet) and Greg Ives (Dale Earnhardt Jr./No. 88 Chevrolet) in the battle for the $100,000 MOOG Problem Solver of the Year Award. Rookie crew chief Justin Alexander (Paul Menard/No. 27 Chevrolet) leads with three weekly Problem Solver wins.
The MOOG brand, the preferred choice of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs, is in its 50th year of Cup competition. In recognition of the vital importance of steering and suspension components in overall vehicle safety and performance, NASCAR now requires that Cup teams use MOOG Problem Solver parts, specifically ball joints and tie rod ends. Cup Series champions have chosen MOOG parts for 49 consecutive years.