Marcos Ambrose and the No. 9 Stanley Ford team earned Richard Petty Motorsports’ seventh top-10 finish of the season during Sunday’s running of the rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400. After completing 98 laps, NASCAR officials were forced to declare the race official after severe weather moved into the area. Ambrose was running in the 10th position at the time when the race was declared over.
The weekend started with practice on Friday, when Ambrose showed top-10 speed. He proved that on Saturday in qualifying, posting the fifth fastest time and starting on the inside of Row 3. Sunday, after rain delayed the start of the race for over an hour, teams prepared for the 160-lap race event.
NASCAR called for a Lap 20 competition caution before the race started. The opening 20 laps, Ambrose reported his car was tight. Just before the Lap 20 caution, on Lap 18, Kyle Busch hit the wall and brought out the first caution. Ambrose came down pit road for only two tires and a track bar adjustment. The pit crew was slightly delayed on the right-front and Ambrose restarted mid-pack looking to make up ground.
By Lap 30, Ambrose was 21st and charging back to the front. Ten laps later he told Todd Parrott that his car was better as he was now in 15th, still passing cars. The team came to pit road again on Lap 48 to take four tires, fuel and another slight chassis adjustment. The next run, Ambrose ran in the top-15 and was 13th on Lap 70 with the rain moving in.
Teams again cycled through green-flag pit stops and Ambrose reported that his car was the best it had been all day. The team took four tires during their last stop and Ambrose was making his move to the top-10 when the caution waved in Lap 87 for Kurt Busch hitting the wall. With raining moving closer, Parrott kept Ambrose on the track. It proved to be a great call, as on the restart a five-car accident with the leaders forced another caution. The rain then started falling and Ambrose was sitting in the 10th spot. Moments later the race was declared over.
Ambrose remains 18th in championships points heading into Watkins Glen.
Ambrose’s Thoughts after Racing at Pocono: “Todd made some great calls at the end of the race and he really helped the handling of the car, too. We were getting faster as the race kept going and our Stanley Ford was moving back to the front. We’ll take a top-10, but we may have had more today. This was a good weekend for us and we’ll take this finish into Watkins Glen.”