GOOD DAY FOR AMBROSE WITH 19TH IN DARLINGTON DEBUT Team Australia driver Marcos Ambrose has driven a strong race to post a solid 19th place finish in his first event at the Darlington Raceway in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 in South Carolina ...
GOOD DAY FOR AMBROSE WITH 19TH IN DARLINGTON DEBUT
Team Australia driver Marcos Ambrose has driven a strong race to post a solid 19th place finish in his first event at the Darlington Raceway in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 in South Carolina today.
Ambrose had a good day at the tough Darlington venue today, qualifying a sensational fourth earlier in the day in the Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion.
The result was a strong recovery for Ambrose, who spun after clipping David Reutimann on lap 35. The Australian was able to avoid contact with the wall and after pitting to repair fender damage to the front left corner of the car Ambrose began to work at regaining lost ground.
Ambrose's pace improved as the laps wore on and he gained experience around one of the toughest tracks in NASCAR. A strong finish looked likely with 16 laps to go when he reached 17th position and was progressing well.
Ambrose then had a setback when he was forced to make an unscheduled pitstop to clear tape from his windscreen. The tape was part of repairs to the front of the Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion, which had worked its way loose only to obscure the view of Ambrose.
Dropping some 10 spots in the order Ambrose showed strong pace to move up through the field and pass cars over the final laps to move into the top 20, eventually finishing 19th and grabbing a solid collection of points for his NASCAR Busch Series tally.
The former two-time Australian V8 Supercar Champion remains in 11th place in the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series standings and third in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year points score.
Denny Hamlin won today's Diamond Hill Plywood 200 from Mark Martin and championship leader Carl Edwards.
Ambrose will now participate in the final NASCAR Busch Series open test for the season on May 14-15 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina before entering the 13th race in the championship at the same venue on May 26.
Marcos Ambrose -- Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion
"I'm really happy with our day today," said Ambrose.
"To finish on the lead lap in my first race at Darlington is an achievement in itself.
"We qualified well and ran strongly throughout the race. There was quite a bit happening out there but we came through in the end for another top 20 finish.
"It took me about three quarters of the race to really figure the track out and work out the best place to run so that you can pass people.
"We had the spin early when we clipped another car but managed to keep it off the wall. Once I was on top of things we were moving forward. We were getting caught up in some stuff there, everyone was racing really hard and at times it was a bit of a mess.
"It was probably our best race, even though the result wasn't great. We had to stop with 15 laps to go because the tape they put on the front came off onto the windshield and I couldn't see, so considering all of that, we had a pretty strong night.
"In the end we had a strong car and if it wasn't for dropping back a bit we would have been around the 10th to 15th mark because I was with Juan (Pablo Montoya) and (David) Ragan towards the end there before we had to stop.
"It was a good day in all. It's our first time at Darlington and what a great race track, the racing tonight was just a lot of fun. Qualifying fourth was a good feeling and we got a solid finish and some good points. We are not far off getting back into the top 10.
"We qualified well. It's nothing to write home about, but it's something we can build on. I think our team is on the upswing. We've had some tough weeks but I think we've got a much better package underneath us now.
"The team is really gelling and I'm just excited. We've got a good test coming up at Charlotte with a new car, so I think we're going to be on an upswing."
"Every week is a thrill, so I'll be happy to sleep 365 days to come back here to Darlington because it's pretty cool."