AMBROSE BOUNCES BACK IN RICHMOND WITH A TOP 10 Australian Marcos Ambrose has shaken an unlucky streak to once again finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top-ten, with a ninth place finish in the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International...
AMBROSE BOUNCES BACK IN RICHMOND WITH A TOP 10
Australian Marcos Ambrose has shaken an unlucky streak to once again finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top-ten, with a ninth place finish in the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway today.
After starting in 20th position, Ambrose was one of the quiet achievers in the race, charging through the pack and resisting the advances of triple-champion Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps.
"I'm really happy for the team, it's great to come away from Richmond finally with a top-ten in the bag, I think we are turning the corner now," Ambrose said.
"It's great to get that weight off our shoulders, the next aim is obviously to shoot for the top five, and I think we had the car tonight to get that job done.
"The effort the team has put in has been awesome; we struck on a really good balance today, and it gives us a lot of confidence going forward."
From the start of the 400 lap race, the number 47 Bush's Best Baked Beans/Kingsford Toyota Camry battled for mid-pack position, before pitting during the first caution period when Joe Nemechek's Toyota hit the wall.
After a tyre air-pressure adjustment during the stop, Ambrose made steady progress through the field with a strong car, running as high as seventh position before the next round of pit stops.
Ambrose made up ground when he received a wave around' on lap 153, after the field once again came under caution flag conditions, this time for debris on the circuit.
After green flag pit stops on lap 269, Ambrose emerged in 12th position, before displacing Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer, while reeling off lap times as quick as the top-five runners.
Next on Ambrose's hit list was Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jnr, making it as high as fifth position on merit pace prior to the final scheduled stops.
When Elliot Sadler blew a tyre and spun on the front stretch, Ambrose pitted under the yellow flag, restarting the race in 12th.
Late race cautions for David Ragan and Sam Hornish Jnr made for an exciting finish, with Ambrose shadowing race long nemesis Newman over the finish line.
"It was pretty intense with the yellows at the finish, but the JTG Daugherty Racing crew made the right calls, and we're very pleased to be moving up in the rankings," Ambrose said.
The race was eventually won by Kyle Busch from Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick, with Harvick now moving to the top of the point standings ahead of Jimmie Johnson.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now moves to Darlington Raceway in South Carolina for another Saturday night race, with the running of the Showtime Southern 500 around the 2.2km long oval.
Vote Marcos Ambrose into the Sprint All-Star Race
Marcos Ambrose's next big challenge is to gain a starting spot in the Sprint All-Star Race, which is scheduled for the 22nd of May at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The non-points paying race with a one million dollar prize purse for the winner is an invitation only event, closed to Sprint Cup race winners from the 2009-10 season, former series champions and All-Star Race winners from the past 10 years.
Ambrose can gain a start in the race by either winning one of the two regular season races before the All-Star Race, finish in the top-two in the qualifying race, or win the popular fan vote, which is now open at www.nascar.com/promos/allstar/2010/vote/.