Ryan Newman crew chief Matt Borland grabbed the lead in the race for the $100,000 Moog Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Year” Award after the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS picked up 21 positions and improved by a race-high 0.203 seconds in the second half to finish third in Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Borland left Richmond with his fourth Moog “Problem Solver of the Race” Award, giving him a one-win advantage over Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford) crew chief Todd Gordon in the battle for the most prestigious year-end honor for NASCAR Sprint Cup series pit professionals.
Presented by global automotive components manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corporation the Moog Problem Solver awards recognize the unsung heroes of Sprint Cup competition, the crew chiefs whose in-race chassis adjustments and competitive strategies help advance their drivers’ track position. The weekly Problem Solver of the Race award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. At the end of the season, Federal-Mogul presents a $100,000 check and custom-crafted Moog ball joint trophy to the crew chief with the most weekly award wins.
Borland’s Moog win was bittersweet, however, as the Moog-equipped 39 car appeared to be reeling in its second win – and a position in the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup – with just seven laps remaining at Richmond. Those rewards disappeared, however, with a caution on Lap 393. After pitting for four new tires, Newman restarted sixth and was unable to make up the deficit in the closing laps.
“Matt and Ryan did everything they needed to do to get a win today, so I’m sure they’re very disappointed in the outcome,” said Federal-Mogul Motorsports Director Tim Nelson. “But they’ve still got a lot to compete for over the next 10 races, including the sport’s premier award for crew chiefs.”
The winner of the 2013 Moog Problem Solver of the Year Award is still anyone’s guess, with Gordon just one weekly Moog win behind the leader. In addition, four crew chiefs – Steve Letarte (Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet), Kevin Manion (Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet), Gil Martin (Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevrolet) and Paul Wolfe (Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford) – are just two back.