Nashville II: Marcos Ambrose race report

AMBROSE, KINGSFORD FORD REBOUND AT NASHVILLE FOR TOP-20 FINISH LEBANON, Tenn. -- When Marcos Ambrose was crashed by another driver during Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 300, the Kingsford with Hickory team didn't give up. When his...

AMBROSE, KINGSFORD FORD REBOUND AT NASHVILLE FOR TOP-20 FINISH

LEBANON, Tenn. -- When Marcos Ambrose was crashed by another driver during Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 300, the Kingsford with Hickory team didn't give up. When his left-rear wheel fell off leaving pit road, they didn't give up. Despite a litany of problems, JTG Racing was rewarded with a 19th-place finish.

A car driven by Steve Wallace struck Ambrose in the second turn at the Nashville Superspeedway, sending the No. 59 Ford Fusion to pit road for repairs. In the haste to remain on the lead lap, the team failed to replace the lug nuts on one tire.

"First we got wrecked, then we made a mistake on pit road," said crew chief Gary Cogswell. "It was a pretty discouraging day, but we kept at it and got a Top 20 out of it. We felt like we had a solid Top 10 car, but to come back and finish after the trouble we had, that's not too bad."

The team made several repairs to the battered race car during the caution period. The frenzied atmosphere prompted the jack man to drop the jack -- a signal to Ambrose to leave pit road. The problem was, work wasn't done.

"You're in such a panic in that situation," Cogswell said. "The pace car's coming, the spotter is yelling and everyone is trying to fix the car as quickly as possible. Things like that are going to happen in that kind of situation. It's really nobody's fault. It's a product of the situation."

By persevering, Ambrose and the Kingsford Ford managed to improve one spot in the Nationwide Series standings. They head to the Kentucky Speedway for Saturday's race ranked 14th.

"Once your car is torn up that badly, you spend the rest of the day racing against the damage," Cogswell said. "That's really frustrating for everyone, and it makes the driver work really hard. There was significant damage. We probably lost 20 percent of our aerodynamics. It's hard enough to race with 100 percent. Marcos worked really hard to bring this car home in 19th place. It's not great, but it could have -- and probably should have -- been a lot worse."

The Kingsford team heads to the Kentucky Speedway this Saturday. For JTG Racing, it's a chance to rally from tribulation.

"We've had fast cars and we've got another one in the shop," Cogswell said. "We'll get it ready for Kentucky and see if we can't turn this thing around. One thing's for sure, we won't give up."

- Ambrose is 14th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings with two Top-10 finishes in 15 starts for JTG Racing, 26 points behind teammate Kelly Bires in the No. 47 Clorox Ford.

-credit: jtgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Kelly Bires , Steve Wallace