Chicagoland: Marcos Ambrose race report

AMBROSE SURVIVES WRESTLING MATCH WITH CHICAGOLAND JOLIET, Ill. -- The tough Chicagoland Speedway threw everything at Marcos Ambrose and the No. 59 Kingsford Match Light Ford last Friday night, but it couldn't put the race team away in the...

AMBROSE SURVIVES WRESTLING MATCH WITH CHICAGOLAND

JOLIET, Ill. -- The tough Chicagoland Speedway threw everything at Marcos Ambrose and the No. 59 Kingsford Match Light Ford last Friday night, but it couldn't put the race team away in the Dollar General 300. Despite fighting an ill-handling car early and track position late, the JTG Racing-prepared Ford Fusion still posted a 15th-place finish to keep the team pushing toward a Top-10 spot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings.

"I've got arms like a gorilla because I've been hanging on all night," Ambrose said. "We had a pretty good car. It would've been nice to be a few spots up, but we just couldn't get track position. We struggled for the first few laps. The car was good for, like, Lap 15 to Lap 30, and then went away again, so there was quite a shift in balance."

The race started during the heat of late afternoon and finished under the lights. Crew chief Gary Cogswell was left with a difficult choice: prepare for the sun or the night.

b^0x001cIn a perfect situation, you'd like to have good balance in both conditions," he said. "In reality, these cars are on such an edge, it's not possible to do that. We were decent during the first half of the race. Marcos really had to work hard until the lights came on. Once things cooled down, the car came to life. We were a lot better. He got through some of the traffic, but we ran out of laps.

"Chicago was a bit of a challenge since the thunderstorms washed away all the rubber on the track and we've never raced there at night. I think everyone was thrown for a loop there because the track didn't change as much as we expected. Everyone was set up for one thing, and it did something completely different. We'll be ready for that next year."

Ambrose now is 112 points from the Top 10 in the rankings. "We're still moving forward," he said. "We're ok. We're not great, but we're ok. We're moving in the right direction. "To understand how far we've come, in the past if we were off early in the race we would have ended up 25th -- or worse. Don't get me wrong, we're not satisfied with a 15th-place finish. We feel like we're a Top 10 team. But we made the most of our opportunities at Chicagoland, and now we'll move on to Gateway and try to make it better."

-credit: jtg

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Marcos Ambrose