Talladega: Marcos Ambrose race report

Australian Marcos Ambrose's charge in the Nascar Sprint Cup Series today at the Talladega Superspeedway was dramatically cut short this when he was one of nine drivers involved in a multi-car & ...

Australian Marcos Ambrose's charge in the Nascar Sprint Cup Series today at the Talladega Superspeedway was dramatically cut short this when he was one of nine drivers involved in a multi-car ‘big one' accident at the conclusion of the Aaron's 499.

Ambrose was carving through the field after a green-white-chequered flag scenario saw a two-lap dash to the finish, however Joey Lagano made contact with Ryan Newman coming out of the final turn, with the chain reaction taking out nearly a quarter of the field.

Accidents aside, the thrilling race was led by 29 different drivers who were involved in 89 lead changes over the course of 200 laps, with Kevin Harvick taking victory over Jamie McMurray in an amazing photo finish by only 0.0012sec.

For Ambrose, the early finish was an unfortunate end to a day where he fought back strongly.

"It's just one of those tough days at Talladega, I said coming into the weekend you either win or wreck, and today just wasn't to be," Ambrose said.

"We worked hard at the car all day long, and by the end of the race it was good enough to run with the leaders, and we were in a good position in the train to take advantage of it.

"It's a shame for the team, but we'll bounce back and have a fresh start next week in Richmond."

The race kicked off strongly for Ambrose, rising from 33rd to third within the hectic opening 14 lap spell.

With the leaders swapping paint around him, Ambrose chose to run a patient race, keeping a watching brief over the field.

However, contact on the driver's side of the car coming into the pits on lap 65 for a green flag pit stop caused a severe vibration, which required additional attention from the crew.

Remedial pit work dropped Ambrose down a lap, with the remainder of the race turning into a game of catch up for the number 47 Toyota Camry.

Successive pit stops under caution, the first being for Denny Hamlin, and then for the first multi-car accident which involved eight cars, saw the handling of the car improve to the point where Ambrose was able to take advantage of the 'lucky dog' free pass to regain the lost lap when Regan Smith brought out another caution on lap 100.

"It's game on now boys!" Ambrose told the crew over the radio, as he set about clawing back through the field.

Ambrose lost touch of the all-important draft after the next yellow flag period, but made up the lost ground when Bobby Labonte spun on lap 176.

Making a charge after the lap 180 restart, Ambrose climbed up to 18th before barely scraping past an incident involving Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon and Scott Speed.

Sadly, a hard day of toil came to an end when he was caught in the middle of the accident on the lap 188 restart, which saw Bobby Labonte tag the JTG Daugherty machine into the outside retaining wall.

The Nascar Sprint Cup Series now moves on Richmond International Raceway with the Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400, with the race set to be held under lights on Saturday night around the 1.2km long bullring.

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 three 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/.

-source: marcos ambrose PR

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte , Ryan Newman , Jamie McMurray , Marcos Ambrose , Scott Speed , Regan Smith , Denny Hamlin