Marcos Ambrose took the green flag for the 400-lap event at Dover International Speedway from the 27th position. After gaining two spots early, Ambrose eventually slipped back to the 26th spot on Lap 12 when he relayed to the crew his DEWALT Ford was tight in the middle of the corners. As the initial green flag run went on, Ambrose also began to get loose on entry and exit off the corners and just prior to the 50-lap mark he had fallen a lap down to the leader.
Ambrose remained in 26th until he came down pit road under green flag conditions on Lap 68 for his first stop of the day. Crew Chief Mike Ford called for four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment in hopes of helping the car’s handling condition. Just as the No. 9 crew went to work on the car, the first caution of the day flew for debris putting Ambrose and the majority of the field who had already pit under green, two laps down. Since Ambrose was already on pit road when the caution flag flew, the crew was able to finish their stop and Ambrose returned to the track under caution to take the “wave around” from NASCAR and get one of his laps back.
When the green flag flew again for the restart on Lap 76 only eight cars remained on the lead lap and Ambrose restarted 23rd. Five laps into his second green flag run of the day Ambrose relayed to the team that he was still tight in the center of the corners. Struggling with an ill-handling car, coupled with another long green flag run, Ambrose fell two laps down to the leader just past Lap 100. Though Ambrose was two laps down, he was able to maintain his position inside the top-25 until making his second green flag pit stop of the day at Lap 146.
To help fix the handling on the No. 9 machine, Ford called for four tires, fuel, wedge, trackbar and air pressure adjustments. Restarting in 24th, Ambrose quickly relayed to the crew that the changes made on the previous stop had helped the handling of the DEWALT Ford. As the handling improved so did Ambrose’s lap times and he began to move through the field and was scored in 21st at Lap 178. Even though the car was driving better, it still wasn’t perfect, and the Richard Petty Motorsports crew made a myriad of chassis adjustments during the two ensuing pit stops. Ford and crew appeared to make strides with the DEWALT car during the middle portion of the race and Ambrose was running in the 16th position at Lap 250.
Though he was gaining spots, the car had once again become a handful through the center of the corners and Ambrose fell another lap down to the leaders, just prior to the fourth caution flag of the day flying on Lap 310. Coming into the pits under caution at Lap 311, the crew serviced Ambrose’s car with four tires, fuel and a trackbar and wedge adjustment. Just three laps after the restart the caution flag flew for the fifth and final time and Ambrose elected to bring his car down pit road to top off with fuel.
Restarting in 18th, Ambrose worked the remainder of the race to put himself in position to gain laps back, just as he had done all day, but unfortunately the timing was never quite right and the caution flags did not fall in Ambrose’s favor. Though he was unable to regain any of his laps back, the crew worked hard on the DEWALT Ford all day long and made gains throughout the event allowing Ambrose to take the checkered flag in the 18th position.
Ambrose maintains his spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and sits in 17th heading into Talladega Superspeedway this weekend.
Ambrose’s Comments after Dover: “It was hard work today, we were behind the eight-ball to start with, and even though we improved throughout the race, it was difficult to make up the lost ground. The timing of the cautions worked against us for the most part, and there was a fifty-fifty call near the end that didn’t go our way. With that being said, there were some positives that came out of today, I’m really starting to gel with Mike Ford and my new crew and we were able to make solid improvements to the DEWALT Ford all day. We’re headed to Talladega next weekend and anything can happen at these superspeedway races. We are just going to focus on growing together as a team and hope for a good finish next weekend.”