Wednesday, Nov 30

Petty Motorsports - Charlotte Motor Speedway Race Report

Marcos Ambrose
No. 9 DEWALT Ford Fusion
Marcos Ambrose started the 400-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway from the second position. Ambrose finished the longest race of the season as follows:
32nd—Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 DEWALT Ford Fusion
·         Starting the 600-mile event in second place, Ambrose quickly took the point position from teammate Aric Almirola and was credited with leading the first lap of the race.
·         Though Ambrose was leading the race, he quickly relayed to the DEWALT crew that his car was loose on entry and exit of the corners. A pit stop on Lap 44 allowed the crew to bolt on four fresh tires, add fuel and make a wedge adjustment in an attempt to correct the loose condition.
·         Ambrose continued to run in the top-two until Lap 123 when he began to lose grip and slipped back to fourth place.
·         A caution on Lap 135 allowed Ambrose to come into the pits for four tires and fuel only. Several other cars elected to only take two tires and Ambrose restarted in 15th place.
·         Having four fresh tires and a fast DEWALT Ford, Ambrose was able to make up ground to the leaders and was back in the top-10 by Lap 167.
·         Just past the 200-lap mark, the Australian native communicated to the crew something didn’t seem quite right with the No. 9 machine and at Lap 218 he brought the car into the pits for the crew to assess the problem. After a short time in the pits it was determined the left front hub was bad, and Crew Chief Todd Parrott instructed Ambrose to take the No. 9 to the garage for repairs.
·         Once in the garage, the Richard Petty Motorsports crew quickly went to work to replace the hub and Ambrose was back on the track at Lap 252 scored in 35th position, 33 laps down to the leader.
·         Though Ambrose was no longer in contention for the win he was still clicking off lap times as fast as the leaders and relayed to the crew he had a great handling car.
·         Ambrose and crew refused to give up and by virtue of getting the DEWALT car back on track, the No. 9 was able to gain three positions and Ambrose took the checkered flag in 32nd place.
·         Kasey Kahne was the victor in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 and Greg Biffle was the highest finishing Ford, coming home in fourth place.
·         Unofficially, Ambrose sits in 20th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings heading into Dover next weekend.
Ambrose’s Thoughts After the Race: “What a tough day for the whole DEWALT crew. We had a car capable of winning the race tonight and it’s just a shame that a hub issue cost us a good finish here at Charlotte. My guys did an awesome job to give me such a great car for ‘The 600’ and it was pretty cool to be out front in the beginning of the race. Our results definitely didn’t do our DEWALT team justice, but we’ll keep our heads up and go into Dover knowing that we have had some really good cars the past few weeks.”
Aric Almirola
No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion
Aric Almirola started the 400-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway from the pole position. Almirola finished the Coca-Cola 600 as follows:
16th—Aric Almirola, No. 43 U.S.  Air Force Ford Fusion
  • Almirola earned his first pole in his 47th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and first points race in a Sprint Cup car at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. 
  • Almirola and teammate Marcos Ambrose, who started on the outside pole, traded positions for the lead multiple times in the opening laps of the race, allowing each to gain a bonus point.
  • The team stayed in the top 10 for the first 46 laps of the race, despite reports from Almirola that the car was tight on landing and that it was sliding the front tires.
  • Crew Chief Mike Ford made air-pressure and chassis adjustments over the first two pit stops on Laps 46 and 89 to help with the car’s handling in an effort to return Almirola to the front.
  • The day-into-night race brought changing track conditions over the course of the event, and Almirola found himself battling a very loose No. 43 Ford Fusion in the middle portion of the race, affecting his lap times and setting him back to 12th position.
·         The team was poised to battle back in the final 75 laps of the race after improving the handling of their car and restarting in 12th position after a two-tire stop under caution; but a long green-flag run for the remainder of the race made it challenging to re-climb the leaderboard.
·         Almirola crossed the line in 16th for his sixth top-20 finish of the season.
  • The top-20 finish allowed Almirola to jump two positions in the driver point standings and he now sits in 19th heading into Dover next week.
Almirola’s Thoughts after the Race: “I’m really proud of our team for what we did this weekend.  We earned the pole and we showed improvement in our end result.  Overall we had a really good Air Force Ford Fusion, but we had a couple runs in the middle of the race where we were too loose and we lost some time on the track.  But the guys on pit road did a great job.  We’ll take 16th.  It’s not a win, but it’s definitely an improvement.  And that’s the one thing we keep talking about – improving.  And if we can keep doing that all year and building a notebook, we’ll be in pretty good shape.”


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