Sears Point: Wood Brothers Racing race report

Ambrose and Wood Brothers Racing Remain Optimistic Despite Early Retire At Infineon Sonoma, CA (June 24,2008)-It was a strong showing for the no. 21 Little Debbie Honey Buns Ford Fusion driven by Marcos Ambrose this weekend at Infineon...

Ambrose and Wood Brothers Racing Remain Optimistic Despite Early Retire At Infineon

Sonoma, CA (June 24,2008)-It was a strong showing for the no. 21 Little Debbie Honey Buns Ford Fusion driven by Marcos Ambrose this weekend at Infineon Speedway for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, despite a disappointing early dismissal, due to an incident on lap 83. Terminal damage to the transmission left the Wood Brothers no. 21 with a 42nd place finish that did not reflect the top performance throughout the race.

After two days of being on top of the practice speed charts and qualifying seventh, Ambrose took the green flag in the no. 21 Wood Brothers Honey Buns Ford Fusion amongst other NASCAR veterans in the top 10. The first ten laps of the race required patience as Marcos stayed around the seventh position. He used the laps to analyze how the car was handling. On lap 10, he radioed into the crew that the no.21 was on the loose side, yet, he continued to race hard and made strategic passes up to the fifth position.

Ambrose continued his march to the front and moved up to fourth. On Lap 30 the team planned to make a green flag pit stop. However, the first caution of the afternoon came out and Crew Chief, Mike "Andretti" Smith made the call to pit during the caution. Unfortunately, other cars had pit under green before the caution and chose not to stop. After the no.21 pitted for fuel, four fresh tires and air pressure adjustments to help with the loose handling, Ambrose returned to the track in 17th place behind the cars that did not pit.

Ambrose was immediately on the move after the green flag waved on lap 32 and climbed up to the 10th position by lap 55. Marcos, still fighting a loose handling condition, then moved up to 9th when the team decided to make another pit stop under green on lap 67. The 21 team pit crew quickly put on four tires, added fuel and made more air pressure adjustments in 14.7 seconds. The team's pit coach, Phil Horton said, "The pit crew had a tremendous pit stop. They did a great job and really know how to pit a car up front." Ambrose returned to the track in the 17th position. On lap 70 the caution flag flew once again. Since the no. 21 just pitted they chose to stay out on the track. As other teams took the opportunity to pit, Ambrose moved up to the 4th position where he took the green flag on lap 74.

Upon entry to turn 11 on lap 75,the no. 42 driven by Juan Pablo Montoya pinched Ambrose into the turn. Marcos had nowhere to go and bumped the 42 sending him for a spin; this put Ambrose in 2nd place.Marcos had a new battle in back of him as the 26, driven by Jamie McMurray, was on his tail and trying to take the position. Handling issues became apparent with the tires so Ambrose let McMurray by as he radioed in with concerns about the tires. He seemed to believe that the tires didn't have as much grip as the previous set. This caused him to fall back to the fifth position where he started to battle with the no. 19 of Elliott Sadler. Ambrose fought and held on to the position until lap 83 when the no. 19 drilled the back of no. 21as he was changing into first gear and sent him spinning. The jolt of the hit broke the gear which put the Wood Brothers Little Debbie Honey Buns Ford Fusion out of the race early with 42nd place finish.

Ambrose and the Wood Brothers Racing team left the track feeling good about their weekend's performance despite leaving the race early and finishing 42nd . Col. Hanson of the U.S. Air Force thanked Marcos for giving the entire 21 team a boost of confidence and an exciting weekend.

Marcos Ambrose and the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 will head to New Hampshire next weekend for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 on June 29th.

-credit: wbr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Wood Brothers Racing