Auto Service World
News   March 9, 2011   by CARS Magazine

Top-10 Finish at Las Vegas Gives Dale Earnhardt Jr. Crew Chief Steve Letarte Second Straight MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and crew chief Steve Letarte posted a second straight top-10 finish and Letarte made it two in a row as Federal-Mogul’s (NASDAQ: FDML) MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The MOOG Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief whose car delivers the largest increase in average lap speed during the second half of each event while finishing on the lead lap. Earnhardt said the #88 Chevrolet “woke up” in the second half of the race thanks to a series of chassis adjustments made by Letarte and the Hendrick Motorsports crew. The numbers certainly bear that out, with Earnhardt delivering a race-high 0.198-second-per-lap improvement over the final 133 laps to finish eighth.

“I kept telling Stevie what I thought I needed and what the car felt like it was doing wrong and he was hitting on it every time (with adjustments),” Earnhardt said.

The #88 car’s strong finish gave Earnhardt only his second set of consecutive top 10s since mid-season last year. It also moved him up seven spots, to 10th, in Sprint Cup points. Earnhardt had a chance at a top-five finish and ran as high as fourth in the final 30 laps, but got caught in traffic following his final pit stop.

“For two straight weeks Steve and Dale have demonstrated how important it is to keep adjusting your car’s chassis throughout the race, no matter what challenges you might be facing,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “Dale did a great job describing how the car was handling and Steve was masterful in coming up with the right solutions during each pit stop. And that’s what the MOOG award is all about.”

MOOG steering and suspension components are the leading choice of crew chiefs and automotive repair professionals and have helped drive an unprecedented 45 consecutive NASCAR Cup champions to victory. The unique benefits of MOOG products are highlighted in Federal-Mogul’s innovative "Smart Choice" campaign, which reinforces the message that longer lasting, better performing replacement parts are today’s best option for technicians and consumers.

For additional information regarding MOOG chassis parts, please visit the brand’s technician-focused Web site or contact your MOOG supplier. To identify the right MOOG part for virtually any application, please use the convenient, free electronic catalog.