Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 FedEx Toyota team charged back from deep in the field to finish third in Sunday’s “Crown Royal presents, The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard” NASCAR® Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Following the race, Hamlin’s crew chief, Darian Grubb, received MOOG® Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Race” honors based on the 11 car’s race-best improvement over the final 80 laps.
Sponsored by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, the weekly MOOG Problem Solver of the Race Award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest positive differential in average lap time over the second half of the race while finishing on the lead lap. The Joe Gibbs Racing-owned Toyota was 0.132-seconds-per-lap faster over the final segment at the Brickyard. At the end of the season, Federal-Mogul Motorparts will present the $100,000 MOOG “Problem Solver of the Year” Award to the crew chief with the most weekly MOOG wins.
Hamlin, who started 27th, knew almost immediately that Grubb and the Gibbs Racing crew had given him a near-perfect setup for Sunday’s track conditions. With 70 laps to go, the 11 car appeared to have a clear advantage in speed and strategy as Grubb called for what he expected to be the car’s next-to-last pit stop. But a fueling malfunction necessitated a repeat stop under caution just eight laps later, which put the 11 car back on the same fueling cycle as the rest of the leaders.
“That was a great strategy by Darian because even if it didn’t work out, he had a car that was fast enough to make up any lost ground,” said Tim Nelson, motorsports director for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Those guys just never gave up. Earning a top-five finish and MOOG Problem Solver honors is an excellent way to leave Indy. The only better ending would have been a trip to the winner’s circle.”
Hamlin’s strong finish was good for a one-position bump to 11th in Chase for the Sprint Cup points. The 11 team has one win, five top-fives and eight top-10s after 20 races.
MOOG Steering and Suspension is the preferred brand of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs, and MOOG components are recognized as the automotive service industry’s “Problem Solver,” with innovative parts that improve on original designs by providing increased durability, enhanced performance and easier installation. NASCAR Cup champions have driven to victory with MOOG parts for an unprecedented 48 straight years.
For more information regarding the MOOG Problem Solver awards and MOOG products, visit the brand’s technician-focused www.moogproblemsolver.com website or contact your MOOG supplier. Like MOOG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moogproblemsolver.