Ambrose Has Another Strong Run And Finishes 11th At Phoenix JTG-Daugherty Racing driver Marcos Ambrose collected his 15th top-15 finish of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season by finishing 11th at Phoenix International Raceway in the No. 47...
Ambrose Has Another Strong Run And Finishes 11th At Phoenix
JTG-Daugherty Racing driver Marcos Ambrose collected his 15th top-15 finish of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season by finishing 11th at Phoenix International Raceway in the No. 47 Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes Toyota on Sunday.
"We had a great race today and were close to a top-10 finish, but man it's tough to finish in the top-10," Ambrose said
Rolling off pit road 21st for the 312-lap event, Ambrose made his way into the top-15 for the first time on Lap 70. Two laps later the first round of green flag pit stops commenced for the 43-car field. Ambrose's Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes Toyota had been tight in the center with no forward drive.
His crew chief Frank Kerr called for four tires, a half of a round out of wedge out of the left rear and fuel. Ambrose exited pit road in 21st position. By Lap 110, Ambrose reentered the top-15 before pitting again this time under caution at Lap 116. The JTG-Daugherty Racing team took out another half of a round of wedge out of the left rear, changed four tires and added fuel.
As the field restarted on Lap 119, there was a big pileup immediately involving Ambrose's teammate Michael Waltrip and nearly 10 other cars on the frontstretch. After NASCAR's safety workers cleared the track of debris, Ambrose was lined up behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the restart on Lap 127 with leader and eventual winner Jimmie Johnson showing the way. While running in the top-15, Ambrose communicated to Kerr that he was tight in the center and that his right front was shaking.
When the next caution occurred for debris, Ambrose came down pit road for four tires and for his JTG-Daugherty Racing crew to put the wedge back in his Little Debbie Toyota.
"On our first pit stop, the change we made was great and the second change we made, we lost the center of the corner and the car was shaking," Ambrose said.
The field was back to green at Lap 168 with Ambrose in 14th-place. Then another huge crash occurred near Turn 4 on Lap 170 when Earnhardt's No. 88 machine spun beneath Ambrose's Little Debbie Toyota. Ambrose escaped unscathed, but the incident collected several cars including drivers like Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers, Scott Speed, Matt Kenseth, Sam Hornish Jr. and Bobby Labonte.
Once the dust settled and the track was clear it was back to work at Lap 178 for Ambrose, who was scored in 14th place. On Lap 236, the No. 47 Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes Toyota broke into the top-10.
"Ambrose had the fastest car by a lot at that point," Kerr said.
Ambrose gave up sixth place at Lap 242 for four tires and minor adjustments under green. He was back inside the top-10 on Lap 248.
As the laps wound down, Ambrose was dealing with a brake issue and the car was shaking again while he fought hard to hang on to a top-10 position. Ambrose would go on to finish 11th in the event as Jimmie Johnson crossed the finish line first to earn his seventh victory of the season. Jeff Burton was second, Denny Hamlin third, Mark Martin fourth and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top-five. Johnson is now 108 points ahead of Mark Martin in second place with one race remaining.
The Australian driver is currently 18th in the championship standings heading into Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Live coverage of the season finale on Sunday, November 22nd will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on ABC. MRN Radio and Sirius XM will also carry the event.