Marcos Ambrose started the 301-lap race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway from the 20th position and quickly moved to 17th by Lap 2. Maintaining his position inside the top-20, Ambrose relayed to Crew Chief Todd Parrott on Lap 35 that the DEWALT Ford was tight in the center of the corners and loose on exit. With no cautions in the early part of the race, Parrott called the No. 9 machine onto pit road under green-flag conditions for a routine stop on Lap 65. The DEWALT crew bolted on four fresh tires, added fuel and made a wedge adjustment during the initial stop of the day in an attempt to help the car’s handling.
Ambrose restarted in 19th place, and just a few laps into his second run of the day he communicated to the crew that the handling of the No. 9 machine had improved slightly after the wedge adjustment made on the previous pit stop. Though the changes made during the first pit stop of the day seemed to help, Ambrose was still struggling with a tight race car in the middle of the corners. The first caution flag of the day flew on Lap 90 for debris on the track and allowed Parrott to call Ambrose into the pits again, this time for fuel only and another wedge adjustment. By electing to take fuel only, Ambrose was able to gain three positions and restarted in 16th.
As the laps wore on, Ambrose continued to fight an ill-handling race car and fell a lap down to the leaders on Lap 158. Never giving up, Ambrose and team caught a break and the second caution flag of the day flew on Lap 191 for more debris on the track. Parrott elected not to bring the DEWALT Ford into the pits under caution, and by doing so, Ambrose took the “wave around” allowing him to get his lap back. Ambrose restarted in 20th on the lead lap.
The race continued under green-flag conditions and Ambrose had no choice but to pit under green on Lap 228 for four fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. With most of the leaders pitting under the previous caution when Ambrose took the wave around, the No. 9 was off pit sequence and again fell a lap down. As luck would have it, just seven laps later, the third and final caution flag of the day flew on Lap 235. Parrott again elected to take the “wave around” allowing Ambrose to restart on the lead lap in 16th.
Running just inside the top-20 in the 19th position with 50 laps to go, Ambrose relayed to the crew the car was still loose on entry and tight in the center of the corners. With no more cautions, the laps quickly wound down and Ambrose found himself in danger of again being lapped by race leader Kasey Kahne. With just two laps remaining, Kahne was quickly approaching Ambrose’s back bumper, but the Australian native drove hard and was able to keep the leader at bay, finishing in 19th on the lead lap.
Unofficially, Ambrose gained one spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points standings and sits in the 18th position heading into Indianapolis in two weeks. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will have a well-deserved off-weekend next week, before heading into the remaining 17 races of the year.
Ambrose’s Comments after Racing in New Hampshire: “We struggled with the handling of our DEWALT Ford from the drop of the green flag. My team worked really hard and made changes to the car all day in hopes of improving the handling. It was a long hot day and a hard-earned 19th-place finish. I’m glad today is behind us and I’m really looking forward to having an off weekend so we can regroup and get after it in Indy in two weeks.”