DAYTONA SHOWERS FORCES AMBROSE TO PLAY CATCH-UP DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Summer showers are part of the every day routine at the Daytona International Speedway. But for Marcos Ambrose and the No. 59 Kingsford/Match Light Ford, rain forced them to...
DAYTONA SHOWERS FORCES AMBROSE TO PLAY CATCH-UP
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Summer showers are part of the every day routine at the Daytona International Speedway. But for Marcos Ambrose and the No. 59 Kingsford/Match Light Ford, rain forced them to play catch-up all weekend.
The team brought a JTG Racing-prepared Ford Fusion that was completely rebuilt followed a crash in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race last April at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Since the car essentially was new, the team needed as much practice time as possible.
"When the final practice session got rained out, it put us behind a little bit," Ambrose said after finishing 20th in the Winn-Dixie 250. "The car was really good, but to be up front in one of these races you have to be perfect. We were going through our checklist in the first practice session on Thursday and we needed that last practice to fine-tune everything."
An afternoon shower, however, washed away the final session.
"I could have been worse; it could have been better," said crew chief Gary Cogswell. "When that last practice got rained out, we didn't have a chance to work out all the bugs. There's not as much science to these cars as you think. It's really a lot of trial and error. We were working on the air box, and we had a couple things we wanted to try. We never had a chance to get it as good as we could."
Nonetheless, Ambrose had the Kingsford/Match Light Ford up to 15th with two laps to go. But a green-white-checkered finish jumbled the running order, dropping Ambrose back to 20th. "That's a product of restrictor-plate racing," Ambrose said. "It's just as easy to lose five spots on one lap as it is to gain five spots. It got really crazy there at the end. There was a crash on the last lap, so sometimes you're lucky just to finish one of these things. A 20th-place finish isn't what we wanted, but it's the best we could do. We won't have to rebuild this car for the next race, so we're ahead of the game."
Cogswell echoed Ambrose's disappointment. "We're at the point where we're not satisfied if we're not in the Top 15," he said. "Races at Daytona are such a crap-shoot anyway. We'll take our finish and what we learned and go on. Overall, I'm glad it's over with."
The Kingsford/Match Light team will try to get back on track Friday night at the Chicagoland Speedway in the Dollar General 300 -- weather permitting.