Greg Ives, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, capped off an impressive first year with the 88 team by winning Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award. Ives clinched the award, which highlights the problem solving excellence of NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chiefs, by winning five weekly MOOG awards during the 2015 season, which concluded with Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
A native of Bark River, Mich., the 31-year-old Ives assumed crew chief duties for the Hendrick Motorsports team prior to the 2015 season. He began his NASCAR career with Hendrick in 2004 and contributed to Jimmie Johnson’s string of five Sprint Cup titles from 2006 to 2010. He moved to JR Motorsports for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
In his first year leading the 88 team, Ives won a series-best five MOOG Problem Solver of the Race awards, presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. Earnhardt and Ives won three races and delivered 16 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes while advancing to the Contender Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Ives will receive his $100,000 Problem Solver of the Year check and a handcrafted MOOG ball joint trophy during the NMPA Myers Brothers Award Ceremony December 3 in Las Vegas.
Runner-up for the Problem Solver of the Year award, with four weekly MOOG wins, was Justin Alexander, crew chief for Paul Menard and the MOOG-equipped No. 27 Chevrolet SS owned by Richard Childress Racing. Twenty different crew chiefs won at least one weekly Problem Solver award.
“Greg had an outstanding first year with Dale Junior and the 88 team, and really demonstrated his mastery of race strategy, particularly during the second half of the season when he won three of his five weekly MOOG awards,” said Michael Proud, director of marketing, North America, Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “The fact that we had 20 different weekly winners speaks volumes to the level of competition on pit road during every Cup race. We are pleased to highlight the problem solving excellence of these highly skilled professionals.”
Winner of Sunday’s weekly MOOG award was Chris Heroy, crew chief for Kyle Larson and the MOOG-equipped No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS, which delivered a race-high 0.122-second improvement over the final 134 laps at Homestead-Miami.