Marcos Ambrose started the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the Kansas Speedway from the 18th position. After running the first 20 laps he relayed to his crew that the Black & Decker Ford was loose on entry into the corners. Caught in traffic and struggling with a loose condition, Ambrose had fallen to 20th when the first caution flag of the day flew on Lap 32 for debris. Crew chief Mike Ford elected to bring his driver into the pits for four fresh tires, fuel and air pressure and wedge adjustments. Several cars elected to only take two tires and Ambrose restarted in 25th. Several laps into his second green-flag run of the day, Ambrose relayed to his crew that he liked the changes made on the previous stop.
With his car running more to his liking, Ambrose had worked his way up 21st by Lap 50. The next round of pit stops came under caution at Lap 73 and Ford called for more air pressure and wedge adjustments in an attempt to make the Black & Decker machine turn better in the center of the corners.
Restarting in 23rd, it didn’t take long before the yellow flag flew again. Only having 10 laps on his tires, Ambrose elected not to come down pit road under caution. By virtue of staying out, Ambrose gained several positions and was scored in 18th when the field came to the green on Lap 86. Pleased with how the Black & Decker Ford was handling, Ambrose’s lap times began to improve and he had driven his way up to 13th at Lap 100.
Just two laps before Ambrose was scheduled to come down pit road for a routine green-flag pit stop, the caution flag flew for the fifth time on Lap 123. Over half of the field had pitted just prior to the caution coming out, putting many of Ambrose’s competitors a lap down. Able to pit under caution, the No. 9 came down pit road in the seventh position for four tires, fuel and an array of chassis adjustments.
Ambrose continued to run inside the top-10 until a lengthy pit stop on Lap157 caused him to drop back to the 20th position. Though he had lost some track position in the pits, the Australian native quickly made up ground, gaining five positions to be scored in 15th on Lap 167.
Just two laps later trouble struck for the No. 9 team as Joey Logano was forced to check-up when a car slowed in front of him. Running directly behind Logano, Ambrose had no place to go and was forced into the back bumper of the No. 20. The contact sent Ambrose’s car up the track and into Trevor Bayne, before eventually hitting the outside wall with the back bumper.
Ambrose’s car suffered heavy damage and he was forced to bring the Black & Decker car down pit road for front bumper and rear decklid repairs on Laps 169 and 171. Unable to finish the repairs before the rest of the field took the green flag for the restart, Ambrose went a lap down to the leaders.
Cautions seemed to breed cautions in the 400-mile race, and luckily the yellow flag flew again on Lap 183 allowing Ambrose to be credited with the Lucky Dog. After getting his lap back, Ambrose restarted in 25th the last car on the lead lap.
Though his car was heavily damaged, it was still fast and Ambrose quickly began gaining positions. By Lap 214 Ambrose had worked his way up to the 16th position. Once inside their fuel window, Ford called Ambrose into the pits one final time on Lap 218 for four tires, fuel and a trackbar and spring rubber adjustment. Several cars again elected to only take two tires and Ambrose restarted 20th.
Determined to make the best out of his day, Ambrose went on a mission to make his way back toward the front of the field and methodically began to pick up positions one lap at a time. When the 14th and final caution flag of the day flew on Lap 237 Ambrose was running in 14th and relayed to his crew that he was happy with how his car was handling.
With only 28 laps remaining after the restart, Ambrose tried his best to gain as many positions as possible in the final laps and when the checkered flag flew the Black & Decker No. 9 crossed the stripe in 12th-place.
Ambrose maintained his position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and sits in 17th heading into Martinsville this weekend.
Ambrose’s Comments after Kansas: “Wow, what a crazy race. I can’t believe we got out of here with a 12th-place finish. This race was pure chaos and we got caught up in some of the action ourselves. I’m not even really sure what happened. All I know is Joey (Logano) slowed in front of me and I didn’t have anywhere to go, but into the back of him. Unfortunately, I got into Trevor (Bayne) in the process. We had quite a bit of damage to our Black & Decker Ford, but my pit crew did an awesome job of getting me fixed quickly on pit road and we didn’t have to take our car to the garage. We just never gave up. We had a fast car from the start and knew we were capable of a good finish. I’m just really proud of all my guys for all of their hard work. All things considered I’m definitely happy with our 12th-place finish.”