AMBROSE STEPS CLOSER TO TOP-10 FINISH WITH STRONG PHEONIX RUN AVONDALE, Ariz. -- For all but the final six laps of Saturday's Heft Odor Block 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway, Marcos Ambrose was in position to make a significant move in...
AMBROSE STEPS CLOSER TO TOP-10 FINISH WITH STRONG PHEONIX RUN
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- For all but the final six laps of Saturday's Heft Odor Block 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway, Marcos Ambrose was in position to make a significant move in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings.
A flat tire changed all that.
Ambrose blew a tire and hit the wall, dropping him from a possible Top-10 finish to 24th. And while he wasn't able to move to eighth or ninth in the rankings, he solidified his place in the Top 10 with one race to go.
"In the big picture, we put a lot of distance on 11th-place so it was a successful day," Ambrose said. "We had a great car; we were running in the lead pack. All of a sudden, the tire blew up. It was something out of our control. We're certainly disappointed by the way the race finished, but we're pleased with the effort."
Ambrose and the No. 59 Kingsford Tailgate at Home Ford team will close out the season at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday in the Ford 300. He will take a 145-point cushion over 11th place in the standings, meaning he only needs to finish no worse than 34th to clinch a Top-10 finish for JTG Daugherty Racing.
Equally important, Ambrose is only five points behind ninth place and 98 from eighth.
"Phoenix really tested everyone," said crew chief Gary Cogswell. "We were running near the lead pack all day and moving up at the end of the race, then all of a sudden we're in the wall. This can be a cruel sport sometimes. It proves anything can -- and will -- happen. The good thing is we put some distance on 11th place.
Our goal was to win a race and finish in the Top 10 this year. We're on the verge of accomplishing that. We're so close."
The 24th-place effort was only the second time in the last 20 races Ambrose didn't finish in the Top 20.
"We still proved we're a solid, consistent race team," Ambrose said. "We want to finish the year strong at Homestead so everyone can go into the off-season on a good note. We've hit all our marks this year by winning a race and being in the Top 10. We've got one to go, so there's a little work left."