AMBROSE POSTS RESPECTABLE TOP-20 FINISH[UTF-8] AT LOUDON Marcos Ambrose led a couple laps (269-270), ran in the top-15 and finished 20th in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 47 Bush's Best Baked Beans...
AMBROSE POSTS RESPECTABLE TOP-20 FINISH[UTF-8] AT LOUDON
Marcos Ambrose led a couple laps (269-270), ran in the top-15 and finished 20th in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 47 Bush's Best Baked Beans Toyota Camryfielded by JTG-Daugherty Racing Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day, he spent time with Jay Bush and Duke the talking dog from the Bush's Best Baked Beans television commercials. The trio along with team co-owner Brad Daugherty filmed a BBQ segment, whichwill air on ABC television duringan upcomingrace broadcast. Rumors of Duke trying to sell the secret family recipe cannot be confirmed.
"We had a good run and our result does not show how good we were there at the end," Ambrose said. "With 20 laps or so to go, A (Allmendinger) and I got into it, which ended up causing a caution there at the end of the race. If we hadn't had that caution I believe we would have ended up in the top-15."
Ambrose was glad to see Mark Martin record his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series-best fifth victory of the season in the Chase opener to extend his points lead over Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch and the remaining top-12. Pablo was the biggest mover in the championship chase jumping seven spots. Falling in behind victor Martin in the Sylvania 300 finishing order was Denny Hamlin, Montoya, Johnson and Kyle Busch.
"It was good to see Mark win," Ambrose said. "He's really going to be tough to beat. He's on his game. You can't win the championship in the first race of The Chase, but you can lose it. Some of those guys had problems. Man, I feel bad for Kasey Kahne. Tony (Stewart) had some problems also and you hate to see that."
On Friday, Ambrose was disappointed with his 31st qualifying effort. However, he did not let that slow him and his JTG-Daugherty Racing team down when the race started. As the race began to unfold, he reeled in the top 20. When the No. 9 car of Kasey Kahne blew up on Lap 66, Ambrose came down pit road for four tires, a wedge adjustment and a packer out of the left front to help his looseness on entry and tightness in the middle of the corner.
The No. 47 Bush's Best Baked Beans Toyota restarted 25th on Lap 74. Under caution at Lap 86, Ambrose communicated to crew chief Frank Kerr that his car was loose in and did not have a lot of forward drive off. Kerr told Ambrose to stay out for track position. Ambrose took the green flag on Lap 91 scored in 19th position.
As he continued his top 20 run, Ambrose was loose in, tight in the middle and loose off. The previous adjustments had helped the condition of the car, but when a caution occurred on Lap 140 Ambrose was asking for more help. He was back on pit road for tires, a quarter-round up on the track bar and a quarter-round of wedge in his Bush's Best Baked Beans Toyota.
Back to work on Lap 146, Ambrose entered the top 15 four laps later. His car's forward drive had improved, but he was still having trouble getting through the middle of the corner. To help his tightness, he was back on pit road under caution at Lap 162 for two tires and a quarter-round up on the track bar.
The green flag waved at Lap 165 as he was shown in 18th place with Tony Stewart showing the way with guys like Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman in tow.
Running 15th on Lap 167, there was a big accident in Turn 2 involving the No. 7, 19, 20, 34, 43, 55 and 98. Seven laps later, the track was cleared and it was back to green flag racing as Ambrose was sitting in 16th. Cautions were seemingly breeding cautions as another one occurred on the next lap involving Jeff Burton.
Ambrose restarted 15th on Lap 180 with Tony Stewart in the lead, Jimmie Johnson in second and Ryan Newman in third. On Lap 194, he came down pit road under caution for four tires and an air adjustment because he was too loose and tight in the middle.
Restarting 21st on Lap 197, Ambrose was fighting his way back inside the top-15. On lap 260, he was scored inside the top 10 while cars ahead of him had started pitting under green flag conditions.
Guys like Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Juan Pablo Montoya, and others headed to pit road, Ambrose was shown in fifth place on Lap 265 as Newman gave up the lead to Carl Edwards for service. Edwards and Kyle Bush followed suit as Stewart was the new leader at Lap 268 and Ambrose was second.On Lap 269, Ambrose led the field for two laps and relinquished the lead to Martin for two tires and one can of fuel.
On Lap 274, Kerr radioed Ambrose and told him he had turned his fastest lap of the race (29.948 seconds) while running in 17th place when the field cycled.
"You got what you got now and it's up to you," Kerr said to Ambrose after the stop.
With 18 laps remaining, Ambrose was 13th when David Reutimann and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were involved in an incident in Turn 4 that brought out the ninth caution of the race. Once the race started again at Lap 287, Ambrose was 13th.
On Lap 293, Ambrose made contact with the 44 car of Allmendinger bringing out the 11th caution of the 300-lap event. Kerr called Ambrose to pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires. With a handful of laps remaining, Ambrose did a good job of holding on to a top 20 spot. The Australian driver crossed the finish line 20th and maintained 17th in the championship standings.
This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Dover, Delaware.