Daytona 500: Series contingency program awards

Powerful Engine, Strategic Calls Help Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dash To The Front In Daytona Earnhardt's Charge In Final Laps Of Daytona 500 Helps Secure MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder, Moog Problem Solver Awards CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 16, 2010) --...

Powerful Engine, Strategic Calls Help Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dash To The Front In Daytona

Earnhardt's Charge In Final Laps Of Daytona 500 Helps Secure MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder, Moog Problem Solver Awards

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 16, 2010) -- Thanks to strong engine performance all day and adjustments made by crew chief Lance McGrew, Dale Earnhardt Jr. dashed through the pack on the final laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500, helping to produce a thrilling finish to the 52nd running of "The Great American Race," which featured 52 lead changes at the start/finish line and 21 different leaders, breaking the previous track record of 18.

Earnhardt's stellar runner-up season-opening performance secured for Hendrick Motorsports the MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race Award and McGrew the Moog Problem Solver of the Race Award.

Both awards are part of NASCAR's Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provide teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.

Earnhardt, who opened Sunday's race from the outside pole position and led four laps, was running outside the top 20 on the first green-white-checkered restart, but rallied from 10th to second in the final two laps.

"I'm happy for my team, they worked so hard," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. during the post-race press conference. "Awesome engine. Several engines were great this week. I'm just proud of the whole AMP Energy National Guard team." Coming off their run in Daytona, the No. 88 team of Hendrick Motorsports currently leads the overall standings in the year-end Mahle Clevite Engine Builder Award with 17 points based on qualifying, laps led and finishing position. Hendrick Motorsports has racked-up a total of 14 MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year titles since 1984.

Crew chief Lance McGrew made exceptional calls atop the pit box, including a call in the closing laps to put on four fresh Goodyear tires, enabling Earnhardt's final charge to the finish. For his efforts, McGrew was awarded the Moog Problem Solver of the Race Award and currently sits atop the standings for the year-end award. The Moog Problem Solver is awarded to the crew chief that improves the most from the first half to the second half of the race utilizing the 40 best lap times.

Official winners of this week's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:

COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Mark Martin (191.188 mph, 47.074 secs.)

DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Gil Martin (crew chief for Kevin Harvick)

GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Kasey Kahne (192.744 mph, Lap 127)

MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

MOBIL 1 "COMMAND PERFORMANCE DRIVER OF THE RACE" AWARD: Jamie McMurray

MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Lance McGrew (crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr.)

O'REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Jeff Burton (28 places)

RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE RACE AWARD: N/A

SUNOCO DIAMOND PERFORMANCE AWARD: Jamie McMurray

TISSOT "PIT ROAD PRECISION" AWARD: Juan Pablo Montoya

WIX FILTERS LAP LEADER AWARD: Kevin Harvick (41 laps)

-source: nascar

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Hendrick Motorsports