AMBROSE CROSSES FINISH LINE 22nd AT BRICKYARD It was one year ago that JTG-Daugherty Racing made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Marcos Ambrose. On Sunday, Ambrose drove his No. 47 Little Debbie Â®...
AMBROSE CROSSES FINISH LINE 22nd AT BRICKYARD
It was one year ago that JTG-Daugherty Racing made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Marcos Ambrose. On Sunday, Ambrose drove his No. 47 Little Debbie ® Toyota Camry to a 22nd-place finish in the 16th running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard while he held on to 18th-place in the championship standings.
On Saturday, the 32-year-old had a strong qualifying effort that placed him in the sixth row. Ambrose was close to snatching a top-10 starting spot when he posted the 11th fastest time. The next day, Mark Martin led the 43 car field to the green flag for the 160-lap event as Indianapolis Motor Speedway continued to commemorate its Centennial Era.
Moments after the green flag waved, Robbie Gordon spun around on the first lap to bring out the first caution of the race. Ambrose had positioned his JTG-Daugherty Racing entry inside the top-10. The field quickly returned to green flag racing and by Lap 10 the handling of Ambrose's car was loose in, tight in the middle and loose off.
"Also the right rear was giving up," Ambrose said. "The car needed grip."
Ambrose slipped outside the top 10, but maintained a top-15 run before he pitted on Lap 30 for four tires, a wedge and air pressure adjustment.
"The changes were a little too much, we needed to go back some on them," Ambrose said. "We were looser center off and I couldn't get in the corner like I needed to."
Even though he was communicating to his crew chief Frank Kerr he needed more help, Ambrose was almost as fast as leader Juan Pablo Montoya on Lap 51. Montoya ran a 53.21 (seconds) and Ambrose was a 53.27 (seconds). Kerr knew they were in the ballpark if they could get a handle on the car because at times Ambrose was faster than the leader.
On Lap 57 under caution, Kerr called for the pit crew to put the wedge back and also to change four tires.
"We were loose on entry, but the car seemed to get better when the fuel burned," Ambrose said.
Upon restarting 13th on Lap 62, Ambrose came over the radio and said they still needed to tighten up the car.
"We were still loose in," Ambrose said.
He was scored in 19th-place as the Tasmania, Australia native drove down pit road for his next green flag pit stop for four fresh tires and more adjustments. The entry was better after the changes and the Little Debbie ® Toyota was not as loose, but the car still needed to be slightly tightened up.
The JTG-Daugherty crew continued their work on Lap 125 under green again. When a caution happened two laps later, it gave them another opportunity to rectify the handling problems.
"I thought at first I had a flat," Ambrose said. "So, I came in and they changed four tires. I came in a couple times so they could take a couple rounds of wedge out and unhook the rear bar."
Once all the adjustments were made, Ambrose restarted 25th on Lap 136 as Mark Martin led the field to the restart while eventual winner Jimmie Johnson was in second-place, Greg Biffle in third, Tony Stewart in fourth and Kasey Kahne in fifth.
After the service, Ambrose was good to go to the end. With 20 laps to go, he was 23rd. As the laps winded down he was able to gain another position to go on to finish 22nd in the 20th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event of the season.
This week Ambrose and his JTG-Daugherty Racing team return to Pocono Raceway where he posted a sixth-place finish.