Greg Ives, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the MOOG Steering and Suspension-equipped No.88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, received the MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award after the 88 car fought its way through the field multiple times to finish third in Saturday’s Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Ives is the seventh different crew chief in the year’s first seven Sprint Cup starts to win the award. MOOG is the Official Steering and Suspension of NASCAR.
Sponsored by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, the weekly MOOG award recognizes problem solving excellence on pit road as measured by a team’s second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. Ives and the Hendrick Motorsports-owned 88 car delivered a race-best 0.431-second boost over the final 167 laps at TMS.
Earnhardt qualified 25th but picked up 15 positions within the first 30 laps. A loose wheel sent the Chevrolet SS back onto pit road and a restart in 30th position, but it again cracked the top 10 by Lap 103 and ran as high as second behind the MOOG-equipped 48 Chevrolet of Hendrick teammate and eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson. Two other MOOG-equipped Hendrick Chevrolets – the No. 24 of Jeff Gordon and No. 5 of Kasey Kahne – finished in the top 10.
“We saw several impressive examples of in-race problem solving on pit road tonight, but no one was better than Greg at addressing the changing track conditions over the second half,” said Tim Nelson, director of motorsports for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “He and Dale Junior have run strong all spring; it’s only a matter of time until they get their first win of the year.”
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