Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief for Marcos Ambrose and the Stanley-sponsored No. 9 Ford Fusion, was named Federal-Mogul’s Moog Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” following the team’s eighth-place finish in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. He is the 17th different crew chief in 24 races to win the weekly Moog award.
The Moog Problem Solver of the Race award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest improvement in average lap speed over the second half of each Sprint Cup event while finishing on the lead lap. At the end of the season, Federal-Mogul presents the $100,000 Moog “Problem Solver of the Year” Award to the crew chief with the most weekly Problem Solver wins. After starting 14th, Ambrose and Blickensderfer’s MOOG-equipped No. 9 Ford improved by a race-best 0.149-second per lap over the final 250 laps at Bristol.
The team battled tight handling throughout the first half of the race, with Blickensderfer calling for a series of wedge adjustments and other changes to help Ambrose stay within range of the top 20. With improved handling and smart pit strategy, the 9 car advanced to 13th by lap 365 and 11th by lap 400. Ambrose used a great restart to move into fifth position with just under 50 laps remaining and held on for the team’s second consecutive top 10 finish.
“Drew and the Petty Racing crew worked their tails off dialing in that chassis, but their hard work paid off with an another impressive finish as we near the cut-off for the Chase field,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “It’s fun to watch a professional like Drew work his magic on pit road. He faced a number of tough handling problems and it looked like he solved them all in time to give Marcos a decent shot at a top five.”
With 12 races remaining in the 2013 season, there’s no still clear favorite in the battle for the prestigious Moog Problem Solver of the Year Award. Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford) crew chief Todd Gordon and Matt Borland, crew chief for Ryan Newman (No. 39 Chevrolet), are tied for the lead with three weekly Moog awards each, while three crew chiefs have two wins and 12 have one. “Anybody could get hot over the next several weeks to win this thing,” Nelson said.