AMBROSE TO START 23RD IN DAYTONA 500 DEBUT; FINISHES 13TH IN OPENING GATORADE DUEL TODAY Marcos Ambrose will start his first Daytona 500 from 23rd position after a solid first race of the season in the Gatorade Duels at Daytona International ...
AMBROSE TO START 23RD IN DAYTONA 500 DEBUT; FINISHES 13TH IN OPENING GATORADE DUEL TODAY
Marcos Ambrose will start his first Daytona 500 from 23rd position after a solid first race of the season in the Gatorade Duels at Daytona International Speedway in Florida today.
Ambrose finished 13th in the first of the two Gatorade Duel qualifying races held at the 2.5-mile superspeedway aboard the #47 Little Debbie-backed entry of JTG Daugherty Racing.
That result gives Ambrose the 23rd starting position for Sunday's 200-lap event, with three drivers ahead of him in today's two races failing to qualify for the race, elevating him three starting positions.
Ambrose took a cautious approach in today's 60-lap duel, keen to save his car for this weekend's big race, where he will become the first Australian to race in the world-famous Daytona 500.
The handling of the Little Debbie machine was not ideal, but two pit stops for four new tyres gave the #47 crew the chance to make set-up changes.
Martin Truex Jr and Mark Martin will start from the front row for Sunday's Daytona 500 (Monday morning Australian time) after being the fastest two qualifiers earlier in the week.
Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch will occupy the second row by virtue of their wins in today's Gatorade Duel qualifying races.
WHAT MARCOS HAD TO SAY --
"I'm a little frustrated as I wanted to get up there and mix it up a little more with the front-runners, but we finished with the car in one piece," said Ambrose.
"We just got shuffled at the wrong times and kind of lost momentum there. I learned a lot and we've got a straight car we can work on for the next couple days here and get it ready for the 500 - I'm pretty happy about that.
"The Duel gave us a chance to find out how this Little Debbie car reacts in the draft and what we need to do to work on it to make it better for the Daytona 500.
"The biggest thing I experienced was that the car kept hitting the ground and then it would jump out from underneath me. It started snug off and was really pushing the nose. It was pushing, tight in the middle and really loose off.
"Thankfully, there was a second caution around lap 50 and they were able to work on it again.
"I can't wait until Sunday. We've got something to work with. We've just got to make some more friends (drafting partners) out there."