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Ambrose, STP/Kingsford Team Find Common Ground at Kentucky

Marcos Ambrose
Marcos Ambrose
SPARTA, Ken. – The significance of last Saturday’s race at the Kentucky Speedway wasn’t measured by a sixth-place finish for Marcos Ambrose and the STP/Kingsford Ford. It was measured by the way the team continues to jell.

Ambrose started the STP/Kingsford Ford third in the Meijer 300 and he stayed close to the Top 5 most of the night. More important, the team came away from the NASCAR Nationwide Series race with a better understanding of their car – and each other.

“Gary Cogswell has done a great job for us as a new crew chief,” Ambrose said. “He got us all back on the same page. We got back to some basics. I feel like we’re really starting to turn a corner. We didn’t panic any where through the race. We didn’t panic three, four or five races ago. We just knew that we had to get back to basics and understand what we had and start working it out.”

Cogswell took over as the crew chief after the ninth race. Since then, he’s worked just as hard on developing a report with Ambrose as making subtle changes on the cars at JTG Racing. “It’s never a big change that makes a difference,” Cogswell said. “The difference in this sport is measured by small things. The toughest thing is to have a level of communication with your driver so you know what small changes to make. Marcos and I are getting closer to being on the same page every race.”

Ambrose, who will try to qualify for his first Sprint Cup Series next week as well as racing at The Milwaukee Mile, said Saturday’s race proves he’s ready for the transition.

“I guess it justifies a little bit why were going out there,” he said. “We’re going out there to try and stay in the points and see if we can get ourselves back in the Top-10, so it helps with that. Today was good, so we’ll try and do double duty next week and see how it goes.”

With Cogswell’s help, Ambrose said he’s quickly learning what his car needs to be fast. Just as important, he’s better able to communicate what he wants. “I haven’t done a very good job of trying to get what I need and Gary has been good enough to listen to what I’m saying and make changes and we’re heading in the right direction,” Ambrose said. “We ran in the Top 10 all night. I’m pretty pumped with that.

“There’s a lot of expectation on us this year being the second year. We want to get back to Top 10 in points. We just want to run solid Top-10s all week, every weekend. I think we’re starting to understand what these cars need. Our team is working great combined between myself and the Clorox team with sharing information and we’re getting on top of it. As a team, we’re moving forward.”

- Ambrose is 13th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings with three Top-10 finishes in 16 starts for JTG Racing.
- Joey Logano won the Meijer 300. Scott Wimmer finished second, followed by Mike Wallace in third, Brad Keselowski in fourth and Bryan Clauson in fifth.
- The Camping World RV Rental 250 is next Saturday night at 8:30 at The Milwaukee Mile.

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