Pocono II: JRG Racing, Ambrose race report

Ambrose Entangled in Accident Diminishing Hopes for First Victory Marcos Ambrose was well on his way to collecting his sixth top-10 of the season and possibly his first victory of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, buthe had to settle for a ...

Ambrose Entangled in Accident Diminishing Hopes for First Victory

Marcos Ambrose was well on his way to collecting his sixth top-10 of the season and possibly his first victory of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, buthe had to settle for a 34th-place finish in his No. 47 iRacing.com Toyota Camry during the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.

His efforts were derailed with 26 laps remaining in ther00-lap eventon Monday. The Australian driver was running ninth on Lap 174 when he fell victim to an incident ignited by the No. 11 Toyota of Denny Hamlin in tenth-place. Hamlin was tucked under Reutimann's No.p0 Aaron's Dream Machine bumper while Ambrose ran a lower line alongside both of them. Suddenly, Hamlin made enough contact to Reutimann's back bumper to send the carsailing in front of Ambrose. Both Ambrose and Reutimann had substantial damage to their Toyota Camry's, which ultimately took them out of contention for a victory. Denny Hamlin went on to win the 21st race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

"If he (Denny) would have checked up just a little, I could have got the car straight and we would have been alright," Reutimann said. "But, he just kept pushing. I feel bad for Marcos. We both had good cars and would haveeasily left there with a top-10 finish.Who knows, maybe one of us would have won. It's just a shame."

"I didn't see what happened," Ambrose said. "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. My spotter said that the 11 car just drove into the back of David's car on the exit. We just didn't have anywhere to go."

Ambrose completed 192 laps of the 200-lap race that NASCAR rescheduled for Monday after torrential rains derailed the race the day before. Qualifying on Friday was also canceled due to inclement weather leaving NASCAR no choice, but to set the 43-car field by the rulebook. Ambrose started 18th.

When the race finally got underwayat noon Easternon Monday under asunny sky, NASCAR implemented a competition caution at Lap 20. Crew chief Frank Kerr and the JTG-Daugherty Racing team took advantage of the opportunity to change four tires and pull a half of rubber out of the right rear, put one in the left rear and take a packer out of the left front.

"We had no forward drive," Ambrose said. "At first, the iRacing.com Toyota started off awesome and then it started losing drive. It just needed more drive off the left rear."

The 32-year-old was 33rd on the restart at Lap 25. Then theyellow flag was displayed again at Lap 52 for debris and Ambrose gave up 14th-place to head to pit road for service. Crew chief Frank Kerr called for four tires and a small air pressure adjustment.

"The left rear just had no drive," Ambrose said.

Rolling off 20th on Lap 57, it was back to green flag racing.

"We were still pretty free and tight in the center," Ambrose said.

Ambrose was back on pit road under caution at Lap 63 for four fresh Goodyear tires; a half round up on the track bar and a half turn in on wedge in the left rear. The JTG-Daugherty Racing team gave up valuable track position to make the car turn better. Ambrose went back to work in 30th-place.

"It still would not turn in the middle," Ambrose said. "It was just too tight in the middle center off."

As green flag pit stops began around lap 87, Ambrose stayed out to lead a lap at Lap 93 before heading to pit road for four tires and a half-round wedge adjustment. He was in 27th place when another caution quickly occurred. He stayed out this time as other cars ahead of him pitted. He was scored in fifth-place when the green flag waved again on Lap 101. As Reutimann was in second-place, Ambrose moved into fourth the next lap. Because his car was loose on entry and tight off, he slid outside the top-five at Lap 108.

"It needed forward drive," Ambrose said. "The right front was giving up. It just didn't turn in the middle like it needed too."

At Lap 131, Ambrose was back on pit road under green flag conditions for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. Ten laps later, the caution flag waved and Ambrose was back on pit road. Kerr called for four tires and a quarter round up on the track bar and air out of the right rear to help with the looseness in and off. Under caution on Lap 150 and 158, the JTG-Daugherty Racing continued to service the car.

Back to green flag racing on Lap 160, Ambrose made some great moves as cars ahead of him were stacking up. He charged aheadfrom 28th to 16th in four laps.

"That was the best the car had been," Ambrose said. "We pitted again under caution and took only two tires and they raised the track bar a half round."

In 11th place on the restart at lap 170, Ambrose reentered the top-10 one lap later and was moving forward. Four laps later his strong effort came to a screeching halt as he had to drive back to the garage for his JTG-Daugherty team to access the damage to the iRacing Toyota Camry due to the incident started by Hamlin.

The crew worked feverishly to cut away the damage to the car and access a brake problem. While Ambrose was in his garage stall, a big crash in Turn 1 on Lap 180 gave the team a little extra time to work on the car. The accident involving Bobby Labonte, Reed Sorenson, Joey Logano and Jeff Burton unfortunately also collected Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann. Ambrose was able to pull out of the garage on Lap 183 to return to the track and cross the finish line to finish 34th.

"It's disappointing to have our day end like that because the car was much better and we were moving forward," Ambrose said. "We'll just move on and get ready for Watkins Glen (International)."

-credit: jrgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte , Michael Waltrip , Marcos Ambrose , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson , Joey Logano