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Richard Petty Motorsports Race Report - Talladega

Monday May 7, 2012

 

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY RACE REPORT

Marcos Ambrose

No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion

 

Marcos Ambrose started the originally scheduled 188-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway from the third position. Ambrose finished the Aaron’s 499 as follows:

 

14th—Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion

 

·         Sunday marked Ambrose’s 129th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and fourth top-15 finish of the season.

 

  • Starting in the third position, Ambrose continued to run in the top-five until the first caution flag of the day flew for debris on Lap 17. Fighting a loose condition in the early laps of the race, Crew Chief Todd Parrott elected to bring the No. 9 machine into the pits for a wedge adjustment and fuel only on Lap 18.

 

  • Restarting in third, Ambrose relayed to his Richard Petty Motorsports team that the Stanley Ford was running hot when he ran in preferred bottom grove, so he elected to move to the upper lane to help keep the engine cool.

 

  • Running in the top groove, Ambrose lost the draft on Lap 23 and was quickly shuffled back to the 24th spot. Just 10 laps later, Ambrose had powered his way back into the top-10 and was running in 10th place.   

 

  • On Lap 60, Ambrose came to the pits for his second stop of the day and relayed to the crew he was still fighting a loose condition. The No. 9 team bolted on four fresh tires, added two cans of fuel and made a track bar adjustment in an attempt to improving the car’s handling.

 

  • Shortly after pitting, Ambrose communicated to his crew that he did not like the changes made to the Stanley Ford on the previous stop, and he wanted to go back to the original chassis setup that he had at the beginning of the race.

 

  • The next stop came on Lap 101 and Parrott instructed the crew to make a track bar adjustment, change four tires and add fuel to the No. 9.  Ambrose restarted in the seventh spot and just six laps into the run he told the crew the car was much better and the changes made had helped the handling of the Stanley machine.

 

  • Ambrose had worked his way up to the second position and was scheduled to pit on Lap 143 when the caution flag waved for a multi-car accident before he could make it to pit road. With several other cars running out of fuel, Parrott elected to bring Ambrose into the pits even though pit road was closed, to ensure the No.9 did not run out of gas on the 2.66-mile pace lap back to pit road.

 

  • Since Ambrose came into the pits when they were closed, he was forced to restart at the tail end of the lead lap. With the No. 9 already scheduled to start in the back, Parrott made the call to bring Ambrose back into the pits on Lap 149 to top-off with fuel.

 

  • The call to add fuel would allow Ambrose to make it to the end of the race without having to stop in the pits again. The strategy proved to be good, as Ambrose restarted in 12th place on Lap 151 with more fuel than many of the leaders.

 

  • Ambrose continued to run in the top-15 for the next 25 laps, and narrowly escaped a multi-car incident on Lap 177. Restarting in ninth, Ambrose again stayed close to the front and was in the sixth position when the yellow flag was displayed for the fifth and final time on Lap 186, setting up the race to end under green-white-checkered flag conditions.

 

  • Taking the green flag in sixth place on the Lap 192 restart, Ambrose chose the high line and was quickly shuffled back in the pack after falling out of line and losing the draft. Ambrose was able to work his way back in line, but was unable to make up much ground to the leader, and when the checkered flag flew Ambrose crossed the finish line in 14th position.   

 

  • Brad Keselowski claimed the victory in Sunday afternoon’s 194-lap race and Matt Kenseth, who took the checkered flag in third, was the highest finishing Ford.

 

  • Unofficially, Ambrose sits in 21st place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings heading into Darlington next weekend.

 

Ambrose’s Thoughts after the Race: “What a tough break, I chose what turned out to be the wrong lane on that final restart and we just drifted back in the pack. We had a fast Stanley Ford all day and a lot of power with our Roush-Yates engine. We were able to move to the front fairly quick and I narrowly escaped some major accidents at the end of the race. I had been running the top groove all day, but once I got up in the high line on that last restart, I just lost the draft and there weren’t enough laps for me to make it back to the front. We had a top-five car and it’s a shame we weren’t able to bring it home up front. I want to thank my crew for all of their hard work this weekend. They did a phenomenal job giving me a fast car and I know they will do the same next weekend in Darlington.”

 

 

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY RACE REPORT

Aric Almirola

No. 43 VeriFone Ford Fusion

 

Aric Almirola started the scheduled 188-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway from the fourth position. Almirola finished the Aaron’s 499 as follows:

 

12th—Aric Almirola, No. 43 VeriFone Ford Fusion

 

  • Almirola had his best qualifying effort of the season, starting fourth in his 45th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.

 

  • In his first race as crew chief of the No. 43 Ford, Mike Ford ordered minor chassis adjustments during the team’s first two pit stops to help give the car more rear stability for the rest of the event.

 

·         Almirola spent most of the race running the VeriFone Ford in the dominant groove on the bottom of the track to stay in the top-20.

 

  • Almirola was involved in a Lap 143 incident after he ran out of gas and tried to drop down onto the apron. In doing so, he suffered damage from contact with a competitor running behind him.

 

  • The No. 43 team kept the car on the lead lap all day despite having to make multiple pit stops to repair damage from the Lap 143 contact.

 

  • With just two scheduled laps to go, a multi-car wreck brought out the caution on Lap 186, sending the race to a green-white-checkered finish.

 

  • Almirola took the final green-flag restart in 12th and maintained that position  to finish 12th, and he is now 22nd in points.

 

Almirola’s Thoughts after the Race: “I’m proud of everybody who worked on the VeriFone car.  We had a pretty good car all weekend.  We were fast in both practices and qualified fourth.  I’m proud of Mike Ford and all the boys on this No. 43 team for giving us such a fast Ford Fusion.  It’s unfortunate what happened when we ran out of gas.  I watched the fuel pressure drop, and I looked down to switch to my auxiliary fuel pump and next thing I know I had my hands full trying to save our racecar.”

 

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500, May 12, at 6:30 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast on FOX and MRN Radio.

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This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Beth Lunkenheimer.

 

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