Darian Grubb, crew chief for Carl Edwards and the No. 19 Xfinity/Minions Toyota Camry, received the MOOG Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” Award after helping Edwards post his second top-five finish of 2015 in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.
The weekly MOOG Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief whose car has delivered the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. Edwards and Grubb improved by a race-best 0.302-second per lap over the final 163 laps to finish fourth at Kentucky. Grubb is the 13th different crew chief this year to win weekly Problem Solver honors.
The 19 car was one of four MOOG-equipped Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas to finish in the top five, with Kyle Busch (No. 18) earning his second win of the season, followed by Denny Hamlin (No. 11) in third, Edwards in fourth and Matt Kenseth (No. 20) fifth.
With Friday’s qualifying session canceled due to rain, Edwards started 20th based on his best practice time, but immediately began to pick up track position thanks to enhanced handling resulting from a combination of Grubb’s initial chassis setup and NASCAR’s new, reduced-downforce aerodynamic package. Drivers and crew chiefs were overwhelmingly positive about the changes in vehicle handling on the 1.5-mile track, where the number of green-flag passes more than doubled the 2014 race total.
“We saw some exceptional action both on the track and on pit road, where crew chiefs were finding additional speed all night through their chassis adjustments,” said Tim Nelson, director of motorsports for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Carl worked his way through the field very effectively from the start and then stayed near the front for most of the second half thanks to a lot of behind-the-scenes problem solving by Darian and the JGR team.”
With 18 races in the books, the field is starting to take shape 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 MOOG wins, followed by three crew chiefs – Todd Gordon (Joey Logano/No. 22 Ford), Chad Knaus (Jimmie Johnson/No. 48 Chevrolet) and Greg Ives (Dale Earnhardt Jr./No. 88 Chevrolet) – with two wins apiece. Nine crew chiefs are just two wins back with one Problem Solver award each.
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