Ryan Newman crew chief Matt Borland became the first NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief to win three Moog “Problem Solver of the Race” awards after Newman and the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS overcame tight handling to post a top-10 finish in Saturday night’s Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. His latest Moog Problem Solver honors give Borland a rare two-win lead in the hotly contested $100,000 Moog “Problem Solver of the Year” battle.
The Moog Problem Solver awards are sponsored by global vehicle components manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation. Borland won his second consecutive Problem Solver of the Race award after the Moog steering and suspension-equipped No. 39 car improved by a race-best 0.327 seconds over the second half of the contest while finishing on the lead lap. Newman finished sixth after falling a lap down, in 31st position, in the opening 100 miles. The team finished 13th in last week’s Sprint All-Star Race, also at Charlotte, prompting Borland and the Stewart-Haas Racing team to make major changes to the car’s setup before Saturday night’s start.
“Like a lot of teams out there tonight, Matt and Ryan were struggling to get ahead of the rapidly cooling track temperatures. Matt eventually found the right combination and kept making the 39 car faster the rest of the night,” said Federal-Mogul motorsports director Tim Nelson. “That’s two straight Moog Problem Solver wins and a pretty good lead after 12 races, but I’m sure our year-end honors will be a nail-biter in November like it always is.”
The 39 team and others were confronted with a bizarre early incident that enabled them to reassess their chassis setups and improve their competitive position over the balance of the race. A cable used to support an overhead television camera fell to the track surface on Lap 122, causing noticeable damage to several cars. NASCAR officials immediately red-flagged the race for what turned out to be a 30-minute inspection and repair period. Borland ultimately called for dramatic changes to the 39 car, helping Newman quickly advance from 31st position into the top 20, then the top 10. He appeared to be destined for a solid third-place finish before a late caution reshuffled the field.