Atlanta: Marcos Ambrose race report

AMBROSE BOUNCES BACK WITH ELEVENTH IN ATLANTA Marcos Ambrose has bounced back from a run of early season bad luck to post a strong 11th place finish in the Nicorette 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia today. Ambrose ran well...

AMBROSE BOUNCES BACK WITH ELEVENTH IN ATLANTA

Marcos Ambrose has bounced back from a run of early season bad luck to post a strong 11th place finish in the Nicorette 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia today.

Ambrose ran well all day in the #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion, posting his best result for the season so far and his best finish in Atlanta in today's 198-lap race.

The result lifts Ambrose up five spots in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series into 23rd position, within 100 points of the top 10 after four of 35 races this season.

Ambrose started from 20th position for today's race after qualifying was cancelled earlier this morning due to rain and light snowfall. Once the conditions cleared the race began, with the starting order set by 2007 Owner's Points.

The Australian ran solidly in the first half of the race, with one long run mid-race seeing Ambrose jump up the order into the top 15. Ambrose was as high as third as he waited longer than most to pit, finally stopping for tyres and fuel on lap 104.

Ambrose was running in 14th position when a caution was called after leader Kyle Busch crashed with 20 laps to go. As the cars on the lead lap pitted for fuel and tyres, Ambrose and fellow Ford driver David Ragan both pitted for fuel only. The move meant that Ragan and Ambrose restarted first and second respectively.

With old tyres on their Ford Fusions the two were soon passed at the restart but for Ambrose the calculated gamble paid off, as he maintained a top 10 position for a considerable time and eventually greeted the flag in 11th.

Fellow Ford driver Matt Kenseth won today's race ahead of 2006 series champion Kevin Harvick and today's polesitter Jeff Burton.

Ambrose and the NASCAR Nationwide Series field will brave the wild banking of the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend in the Sharpie Mini 300.

Marcos Ambrose -- #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion

"We did what we needed to do today," said Ambrose.

"We had a competitive day out there and got the job done.

"Our car wasn't the best piece out there today but we managed to do the best we could and come away with a really important result for us.

"This gets us back on track and we can go into Bristol next week with some more confidence and the right frame of mind, not having to worry too much about the owner's points situation.

"Atlanta is one of the tougher places we race so this result is great.

"I couldn't be prouder of my guys after today. They did a great job for me all weekend and at the stops during the race.

"A big part of this result has to go to Wally (Walter Giles, crew chief). He had some great strategy calls today from the pit stand and did a great job. We are working very well together and let's hope that we can start to step it up after this result."

Marcos Ambrose -- Q&A

Q: THIS MUST BE A GREAT RESULT TO GET YOUR TEAM BACK ON TRACK? MA: Well, were out of the bad points (Top 30 Owner's Points) deal. Today was about walking into this race where we are secure in the points going into Bristol because it it's a bit of a lottery in Bristol.

Now we're fairly safe in points and we'll be going there knowing after the fifth race were in the Top 30 in owner points, which means a lot when you get rainouts and such.

For us, it was a conservative race the whole day. We were just trying to keep out of trouble. There was a lot of give out there from us just to make sure we finished.

Q: PIT STRATEGY SEEMED IMPORTANT TODAY. MA: Yeah, we got lucky a couple of times. We ran out of tyres and we couldn't stop where we wanted to and we did stop. We had the perfect strategy, really for that car. I don't think we could have done any better with that car today.

-credit: jtgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Marcos Ambrose , David Ragan , Kyle Busch