Marcos Ambrose continued his recent strong front running form aboard the DEWALT Ford Fusion, but had to settle for 13th in today's Pocono 400, after late race fuel strategy transpired against the Richard Petty Motorsports crew.
Ambrose spent much of the race within the top-ten on the time sheets, but the field was blown apart late in the race when varied fuel strategies mixed the field.
Despite this, the result saw Ambrose climb two further positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point score, to sit in 17th after 14 races.
"We just got off sequence a little bit and had some bad luck, but that's the way it goes," Ambrose said.
"I ran guys pretty hard too, which is unfortunate, because I was trying to make so many positions back, and it just didn't go our way.
"We had a strong day going in the DEWALT Ford Fusion, but we'll learn from it and come back better next weekend in Michigan."
In qualifying, Ambrose recorded his fifth top-ten starting position of the season, with the number nine machine lining up from ninth.
From the initial green flag, Ambrose made a brilliant move on the inside, and emerged from the first corner in third place.
A multi-car incident at the end of the first lap however slowed the field, with Ambrose slotting into fourth position from the restart.
The second caution flashed on lap 14, and with some cars not stopping under the yellow, Ambrose restarted from seventh, which turned into sixth by lap 30.
By the time the first green flag stops came on lap 42, Ambrose found himself in fourth, resisting the urge to speed on pit lane like many his competitors.
On lap 66, Ambrose was in fifth position when AJ Allmendinger hit the wall hard at turn two.
In the subsequent round of pit stops, Ambrose took on a full compliment of four Goodyear tyres, returning to action in tenth.
Another caution flashed soon after, with Ambrose staying on track, which saw him promoted to eighth for therestart, which became sixth after the first flying lap.
Ambrose headed to the pits for a green flag service on lap 101, and found himself in fourth once again ten laps later.
A debris caution on lap 124 led to Ambrose pitting for four tyres while others took on two, which sent the DEWALT Ford Fusion back to 11th for the restart, desperately saving fuel.
The caution lights flashed on again when Kasey Kahne slapped the wall on lap 139, which saw Ambrose head back to the pits for a fuel top up and two new right hand side tyres.
Taking the green from 19th position, Ambrose swiftly moved into 15th when a final debris caution set up a seven lap battle to the finish, with Ambrose able to make his way through to 13th.
The race was won by Joey Logano after a late race move on Mark Martin.
Next week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to another freshly repaved circuit, with a 400 mile race at Michigan International Speedway.
Pocono 400 Race Results
1. Joey Logano (Toyota)
2. Mark Martin (Toyota)
3. Tony Stewart (Chevrolet)
4. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)
5. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)
6. Clint Bowyer (Toyota)
7. Matt Kenseth (Ford)
8. Dale Earnhardt Jnr (Chevrolet)
9. Paul Menard (Chevrolet)
10. Jamie McMurray (Chevrolet)
13.Marcos Ambrose (Ford)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings (after 14 of 36 races)
1. Matt Kenseth (Ford)- 523points
2.Dale Earnhardt Jnr (Chevrolet)- 513
3.Greg Biffle (Ford)- 507
4.Denny Hamlin (Toyota)- 504
5.Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)- 493
6.Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)- 470
7.Martin Truex Jnr (Toyota)- 465
8.Tony Stewart (Chevrolet)- 448
9.Clint Bowyer (Toyota)- 443
10. Brad Keselowski (Dodge)- 426
17. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)- 352