Martinsville II: JTG Racing, Ambrose race report

AMBROSE SOLDIERS ON TO FINISH 22ND AT LOWE'S "It felt like there was something wrong under the hood early on in the race," Ambrose said. "The handling of the car was great. It was close to perfect. It was disappointing we couldn't get the...

AMBROSE SOLDIERS ON TO FINISH 22ND AT LOWE'S

"It felt like there was something wrong under the hood early on in the race," Ambrose said. "The handling of the car was great. It was close to perfect. It was disappointing we couldn't get the most out of the car we had Saturday night, but we were able to finish it for the points."

Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and current points leader Jimmie Johnson won his sixth race of the year. Matt Kenseth finished second, Kasey Kahne was third, Jeff Gordon crossed the finish line fourth and Joey Logano was fifth.

Ambrose, who has earned four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in his first year of full-time competition, holds onto 17th in the championship standings with five races remaining.

On Thursday night, Ambrose qualified 13th and the next evening he posted the seventh fastest time in final practice.

"I told the guys it was the best car they had given me all year," Ambrose said. "We really had something."

When the green flag waved for the start of the NASCAR Banking 500, Ambrose held on to a top-15 spot until he radioed to crew chief Frank Kerr that something did not feel right with his Clorox0x00ae Toyota at Lap 29.

"It was like it was just laying over," Ambrose said. "We've got to get the car back and figure out what went wrong."

On Lap 34, rain fell on the 1.5-mile tri-oval forcing a caution while Ambrose was running 19th. It gave teams an opportunity to service their cars at Lap 36. Ambrose's handling was near perfect as he entered pit road, but he did not have the power he needed to advance.

"It had only been hitting the ground a little and it was somewhat free," Ambrose said. "We didn't really need to make any changes."

As Michael Waltrip led the field to green at Lap 42, Ambrose was 23rd. Even though he said he was experiencing problems, he was turning respectable lap times before he pitted under green at Lap 93 for four fresh Goodyear tires.

"It felt like the motor was about to blow up," Ambrose said.

On Lap 121 under caution, Ambrose told the JTG-Daugherty Racing team that they may need to check the plug wires after they changed four tires and added fuel. Three laps later the green flag waved again and the No. 47 Clorox0x00ae Toyota was scored in 22nd-place.

Ambrose maintained his speed and communicated to Kerr that he was too tight up top and may need a little wedge taken out on his next stop under caution at Lap 165. As the pit crew changed four tires and made a chassis adjustment, they noticed a hole in the nose of the Clorox0x00ae Toyota and had to quickly repair the damage. Denny Hamlin led the field to green as Ambrose peeled off in 24th-place.

On lap 190 under caution, the JTG-Daugherty Racing team changed right side tires and made another wedge adjustment. Ambrose also pitted for four tires and fuel under green at Lap 245.

"We were too tight," Ambrose said.

The No. 47 Clorox0x00ae Toyota was back on pit road at Lap 293 for four tires, an air pressure change and a wedge adjustment as he mentioned he was still having problems.

"It was popping and banging," Ambrose said. "Something was wrong."

After coming back in on Lap 301 for a track bar adjustment and four tires, Ambrose told his crew chief again that he thought his car was blowing up. Ambrose was able to hold on to finish in the top-25 one lap down.

This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series journey to Martinsville, Va. for the Tums Fast Relief 500.

-credit: jtgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Michael Waltrip , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano