Bristol II: Marcos Ambrose race report

AMBROSE RATES AMAZING THIRD PLACE AT BRISTOL AS BEST RESULT YET Marcos Ambrose rates his amazing third place finish at the daunting Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee today as the most satisfying result of his NASCAR career to date. The ...

AMBROSE RATES AMAZING THIRD PLACE AT BRISTOL AS BEST RESULT YET

Marcos Ambrose rates his amazing third place finish at the daunting Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee today as the most satisfying result of his NASCAR career to date.

The Australian claimed his best-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish on an oval in the gruelling 500-lap Sharpie 500 night race, arguably the toughest race on the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule.

The result clearly underlines Ambrose's as a driver to watch in the top-flight Sprint Cup level of the sport, in his fourth season of NASCAR racing since leaving Australia as a two-time V8 Supercar champion to forge a career in North America.

Ambrose declared that this race was even more satisfying than his two Nationwide Series wins at Watkins Glen and his second place finish at the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen two weeks ago behind series leader Tony Stewart.

This superb finish, Ambrose's seventh top 10 finish this season and his fourth top five result of the season, keeps Ambrose in 17th position in the Sprint Cup points standings, clearly the best first year driver.

Ambrose started from 25th place in the 43-car field and never dropped lower than that position in his charge towards the front aboard his Clorox-backed #47 entry, exhibiting strong car speed all night in the 500-lap race.

For most of the race Ambrose was inside the top 10 and towards the end of the race he battled with NASCAR legend Mark Martin (who competed in his 1000th NASCAR race tonight), NASCAR bad boy Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle in the top five.

It was at this same race in 2003 that Ambrose witnessed his first ever NASCAR race live and in person, renting a camper van with an Australian mate and watching the 500-lap battle from the infield.

Later that season he went on to win his first of two V8 Supercar championship victories.

When Ambrose first transitioned to NASCAR in 2006, he admitted feeling intimidated about racing on the 30-degree banks of Bristol -- known as the world's fastest half-mile -- as he learned to race on NASCAR's high speed ovals.

At this race today, Ambrose stood out in a field of the world's best oval track racing drivers, underlining his status as the best performed first year driver in this year's elite Sprint Cup field. He also finished in 10th place earlier this season at Bristol.

Earlier in the day, global consumer giant Kimberly-Clark announced that it will back Ambrose and his JTG Daugherty Racing team next season for five races with its Kleenex brand, joining existing sponsors Little Debbie, The Clorox Company, Bush's Beans and iRacing.com. Full release below.

Kyle Busch won tonight's Sharpie 500 ahead of Martin, Ambrose, Biffle and Denny Hamlin.

WHAT MARCOS HAS TO SAY --

"This is more satisfying than any of the results I've had, even all the wins at Watkins Glen, because it's on such a big stage against the best at a place like Bristol," said Ambrose.

"The biggest thing about this result is that I've done so well in a race that will arguably go down in NASCAR history.

"Mark Martin is a legend of this sport and to race him at the front of the pack in front of 180,000-odd people at Bristol and run hard against Kyle Busch, who is one of the most talented drivers anyone's ever seen, is just awesome and it's truly a privilege.

"I have to pinch myself to run against Mark Martin in his 1000th race and finish just off his rear bumper. I'm racing at one of the best races in the world against the best drivers in the world.

"I was here as a fan with my eyes and mouth wide open a few years back. This place is unbelievable and to run well here against the sort of drivers we rubbed doors with today is a privilege and just the best feeling.

"This place is still intimidating for me, even today. The fans are loud and the track is so fast. 500 laps around here is a battle in itself. To be racing these guys like we did tonight is like a dream.

"I have to thank my team for believing in me and giving me this chance. The crew did an awesome job. It's just awesome. I'm so excited to be a part of this."

-credit: ma/bam

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Marcos Ambrose , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin