Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 9/20/14

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 08: Marcos Ambrose, driver of the Little Debbie Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi Max 400 on October 8, 2010 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Marcos Ambrose started the 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway in the ninth position and quickly worked his way toward the front of the field. Shortly after the green flag flew, Ambrose improved his position by six spots and was scored in third-place at the completion of Lap 1.  On Lap 10, Ambrose communicated to his DEWALT crew that the No. 9 was handling great, but was just a tick loose on entry into the turns. 

Continuing to run near the front of the field, Ambrose was in the fourth position when the yellow flag flew on Lap 15 for a multi-car accident in Turn 3. Not having many laps on the tires, Crew Chief Todd Parrott elected to bring the DEWALT Ford down pit road for fuel only. Several other cars elected not to pit and Ambrose restarted in the seventh spot. Running lap times as fast as the leader it didn’t take long for Ambrose to race his way back inside the top-5 and by Lap 34 he was again scored in the fourth place.

On Lap 41 Ambrose came down pit road for a routine green-flag pit stop and the Richard Petty Motorsports crew bolted on four fresh tires, added fuel and pulled some tape off the front bumper to help cool the engine. After the rest of the field has cycled through green flag stops, Ambrose was running in sixth place and relayed to the crew that the car was loose going into the turns and tight in the center. During the ensuing pit stop on Lap 67, Parrott called for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments in an attempt to help correct the car’s handling issues.

As the laps wore on, Ambrose keyed the mic and told the crew that his DEWALT Ford was becoming increasingly tight. The crew called Ambrose down pit road again on Lap 101 for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment in hopes of correcting the tight condition. Shortly after the restart, Ambrose communicated to his team that the car was not handling to his liking and he did not approve of the changes made on the previous pit stop.

The next pit stop came at Lap 126 and Ambrose was running in fifth position when he brought the No.9 down pit road for fuel, four tires and more air pressure adjustments. Several cars elected to take only two tires and Ambrose restarted in ninth. During the Lap 128 restart Ambrose got pushed out of line and was shuffle back to the 16th spot in just one lap. Unsure if he was going to be able to make it to the end of the race on fuel, Ambrose was told to save fuel by both the crew chief and spotter, and in doing so maintained his position just outside of the top-15.

A yellow flag on Lap 138 calmed the teams fear of not being able to make it to the end of the race on fuel, and allowed Ambrose to come down pit road one final time to top off with gas and add two right side tires. Restarting in 19th with just 17 laps to go, Ambrose gave it his all and was able to gain six positions in the final laps to cross the finish line in 13th place at the end of the day.

Unofficially, Ambrose gained two spots in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings and the Australian native sits in 17th position heading into Michigan International Speedway this weekend.

Marcos Ambrose on his race: “We just got off sequence a little bit and had some bad luck, but that’s the way it goes. We had a strong day going, but we weren’t able to capitalize. I ran some guys pretty hard today, which is unfortunate, because I was trying to make up so many positions. It just didn’t go our way out there today. I know I should be happy with a 13th-place effort, but I just wanted more for my DEWALT team and I at Pocono. My guys worked their guts out all week and I wanted to bring home another top-10 finish for my team, my sponsor and RPM as an organization. We’ll pick our heads up and head into Michigan next weekend and look to have a fast car and a good finish. We did gain a couple of spots in the points today, so that was good. We just need to keep chipping away at the points over the next few weeks to try to put ourselves in position to make The Chase this year.”

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