AMBROSE 16TH AND TOP ROOKIE IN STRONG BUSCH SERIES DEBUT AT DAYTONA Team Australia's Marcos Ambrose has begun his 2007 NASCAR Busch Series campaign with an excellent 16th place finish in the Orbitz 300 at Daytona International Speedway in...
AMBROSE 16TH AND TOP ROOKIE IN STRONG BUSCH SERIES DEBUT AT DAYTONA
Team Australia's Marcos Ambrose has begun his 2007 NASCAR Busch Series campaign with an excellent 16th place finish in the Orbitz 300 at Daytona International Speedway in Florida today.
In his first Busch Series race and his first at the 2.5-mile Daytona superspeedway, Ambrose showed strong pace in the Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion to finish on the lead lap and ahead of many more experienced rivals.
Before an estimated crowd of 100,000 fans, Ambrose also finished as the top rookie, winning the Australian the Raybestos Rookie of the Race Award.
Ambrose earned US$47,950 (A$60,935) in prizemoney for the 16th place finish in the 300 mile (482.80km) event out of a race prize purse of US$2,596,288 (A$3,299,387).
Ambrose started from 37th for the 120-lap race and quickly worked his way forwards while maintaining a conservative approach, the Australian keen to gain a finish in the first race of the season.
The tactic proved worthwhile, with several cars out of the race early as accidents brought out two separate caution periods in the first 20 laps of the race.
Ambrose continued to move forward and run with the lead pack in the middle stages of the race. After the final round of pit stops Ambrose had the Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion in 20th position and with the lead pack.
Over the final stages of the race Ambrose edged forwards, finishing in 16th and one place behind Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team-mate Jon Wood.
The top 12 drivers in today's race will also start tomorrow's Daytona 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup event, with those 12 drivers part of a contingent of over 20 Cup drivers who participated in today's Busch Series event.
Reigning NASCAR Busch Series Champion Kevin Harvick won today's Orbitz 300 ahead of Dave Blaney and the Ford of Carl Edwards.
Ambrose will have his next race at the second event of the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series at California Speedway on February 24, which is followed by his first NASCAR road course event in Mexico City on March 4.
Marcos Ambrose -- Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion
"This is a really great way to start the season," said Ambrose.
"Sixteenth here at our first race at Daytona is almost like a win for us. It feels really great.
"This was a real bogey track for us. It was more about getting to the finish and not feeling intimidated out there.
"First race of the season and first race at Daytona was always going to be big so it was important to feel comfortable out there and it feels great that everything went so well.
"We were relatively close to the second crash. It was just a matter of slowing it down and getting through. I knew exactly what was happening, I just had to get around it. It was always going to happen because that's just a part of superspeedway racing.
"It feels so great to be on the other side of this race with a solid result. This was always going to be our toughest event for this early part of the season and now we can really press forward.
"We can look forward to Mexico City and we were really happy with how we went in testing at Las Vegas so we can hopefully do some good things in the next few weeks. But it was so important to get through Daytona with a clean car and get some good points and that's what we have done.
"I have to thank the team for their efforts this weekend. We worked hard at everything and came away with a great finish. Now we can look forward to the next few races and aim to keep improving."
-credit: team australia