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03.19.14

Marcos Ambrose Takes 5th at Bristol Motor Speedway

NASCAR - Bristol, TN

Marcos Ambrose earned his first top-five finish of the year and 16th in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career Sunday at the Bristol Motor Speedway during the Food City 500. Starting from a season-best fifth, Ambrose raced in the top-10 and battled back from one lap down to finish fifth. It is his second consecutive top-five finish at Bristol and third top-five at the tough track in his career.

Starting up front, Ambrose maintained his spot in the top-10 in the opening laps. His car wasn’t perfect, but plenty fast to race with the leaders in the first 100 laps. NASCAR called for red flag on Lap 119 for rain, and Ambrose was able to communicate to Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer changes needed to help run in the top-five again.

Once the race went back green, Ambrose was again fast, but a problem occurred on a long run during the middle of the race. Ambrose, who was having no problem in the top-10, quickly started to drop in the field. He was even put a lap down and told the STANLEY crew that he may have had a flat tire. Fortunately the team was able to hang on and pit before Ambrose had any more trouble. The tires taken off the car were worn out, and now, the team was ready to fight back.

Over the next hundred laps Ambrose was fast through race traffic. He passed lapped cars and also those on his own lap. After a restart, Ambrose was as far back as 18th and need to get to 16th to get his lap back. The following run, he moved to 17th and then the 16th car wrecked giving Ambrose his lap back in time for a move in the final 100 laps.

With a fast car, Ambrose moved from the top-15 to the top-10. Blickensderfer elected to keep Marcos on the track during the final pit stop, and it proved to be a great call. Ambrose restarted fifth and stayed there over the final 30 laps where he finished. The STANLEY team advanced to 15th in the championship standings.

 ”It’s just a great night for our STANLEY team and for Richard Petty Motorsports as well,” said Ambrose. “My teammate Aric Almirola was a couple spots in front of us, so we’re really proud of our team tonight and a great night for Ford tonight as well with Carl doing backflips on the frontstretch here.  I’ve got thank the fans for sticking with us through all this rain this afternoon.  I’m really proud of this STANLEY team and can’t wait to watch this one on replay and look forward to California coming up.

"These cars go a lot faster around this track than the old style cars, and we had to really dig in our feet.  The groove went to the very fence, and we had to really watch ourselves there and keep adjusting the car all night.  We got a bad set of tires where they started to cord really bad, so we lost a lap and then got it back.  I passed Kyle Busch to get the lucky dog and worked our way back up to the front. We were close, and it’s a good finish. We will now look to get even better at California.”

Marcos and the #9 DeWALT team will hit the ground running as they head to Auto Club Speedway for Sunday’s race.
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