AMBROSE FASTEST IN CUP PRACTICE FOLLOWED BY 16TH IN MILWAUKEE Marcos Ambrose has again topped a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California today, in preparation for his debut...
AMBROSE FASTEST IN CUP PRACTICE FOLLOWED BY 16TH IN MILWAUKEE
Marcos Ambrose has again topped a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California today, in preparation for his debut in the top division of NASCAR.
Ambrose set the fastest time in final practice at the 1.99-mile (3.20km) circuit, but then had a minor brush with the tyre wall at the final corner.
The damage to the #21 Wood Brothers Ford was mainly cosmetic and the Australian will still start tomorrow's race from seventh position with only minor repairs required.
Earlier in the day Ambrose was seventh fastest in the second practice session for the weekend, giving Ambrose a record of first-seventh-first across the three Cup practice sessions held across the weekend.
Ambrose then flew with fellow Ford driver Carl Edwards some 2000 miles east to The Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin for the Camping World RV Rental 250 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Ambrose started from 43rd and last position in the #59 STP Ford Fusion, after back-up driver Robert Pressley drove the car to 31st in first practice, 36th in final practice and 21st position in qualifying. As Ambrose did not participate in qualifying he started from the rear.
Ambrose moved forward quickly in the early stages and continued steady improvement over the course of the race, despite battling a tight race car.
At the 200 lap mark of the 250-lap event Ambrose looked poised to leap into the top 10 but the handling situation deteriorated further, leaving Ambrose to hang on and collect 16th place and collect vital championship points, maintaining 13th in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series standings.
Ambrose's 'travel buddy' Edwards won today's Camping World RV Rental 250 at The Milwaukee Mile ahead of Joey Logano and Nationwide Series points leader Clint Bowyer.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
Marcos Ambrose - #21 Little Debbie Honey Buns Ford Fusion
"It was a frustrating night here in Milwaukee," said Ambrose.
"We had a tight race car and towards the end it really hurt us. We made some changes and worked on it during the race, but we were always going to be a little behind (arriving before the race from Sonoma). But we've got to look big picture. We came all this way to keep the points ticking over and we did that.
"We just couldn't go. It was tight all night. We were getting close there for a while and we were looking in good shape to get close to the top 10. But we couldn't get it just right and it started to get worse.
"We hung on at the end at it wasn't much fun having to work so hard because it was really tight, but while it's frustrating you've got to think that we got a bunch of points so in that regard we achieved what we came here to do.
"We've got a big day ahead tomorrow in California. The #21 Ford Fusion continues to go well. We had a brush with the wall but we got away with it without anything serious. The big deal for us was to get into the race, so now that we are there and we have a fast car it's going to be a very exciting day for everyone at Sonoma tomorrow."
Len Wood - Co-Owner, #21 Little Debbie Honey Buns Ford Fusion
Q: WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE CRASH?
"We had already set the fastest time, and I guess the car was feeling pretty good, and he kind of let it get out from under him in turn 10," said Len Wood.
"There is quite a bit of left-side damage, particularly in the front. However, it didn't bend any suspension parts or the frame or anything like that, so we chose to fix it and patch it up best we can.
"It won't look the greatest, but as far as the suspension and those things are concerned, it'll be fine. It'll drive fine."
Q: DO YOU EXPECT TO GET THE CAR BACK TO 100 PERCENT? OR, CLOSE ENOUGH?
"This is not really what you would term an aero track, so if we had to go through the initial templates again, it would be pretty tough to fit them 100 percent again right now.
"But, I think NASCAR will work with us. We'll get it as close as we can. We've got a new nose module, and we're fixing it right now."
Eddie Wood -- Co-Owner and Spotter, #21 Little Debbie Honey Buns Ford Fusion
"That can be a pretty bad place over there," said Eddie Wood
"Generally, when you mess up turn 10, you're taking out the back-up car, so we were let off easy."