Nascar – Ambrose Fifth at Infineon‏

June 28, 2011

Nascar

Marcos Ambrose finished a hard charging fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway today, surviving a rough and tumble encounter.

With the pace of Stanley Ford Fusion dropping off in the closing stages, the crew elected to take advantage of a late race caution to fit new tyres for a renewed charge to the finish.

Unfortunately further cautions were never forthcoming, with the Australian having the fastest car in the run to the finish.

The result is Ambrose’s third top-five result since joining Richard Petty Motorsport at the start of the season, and his fifth top-ten in 16 races.

“I am so proud of my Stanley car and my Stanley team to get a top five out of what could have been a very tough day for me,” Ambrose said.

“Todd (Parrott) and the guys worked hard all day and got us into a good position there at the end.

“We weren’t able to get the million dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network kids, but thanks to Stanley they will get $100,000.

“I want to thank Stanley for putting me in the car and believing in me and I am looking forward to what we can do the rest of the way and when we get to the Glen.”

After qualifying in eighth position, Ambrose was one of the early pace setters, quickly elevating himself up into third place by the end of lap 15 of 110.

Ambrose made his first green flag pit stop on lap 21, emerging from the service in seventh position, prior to the first caution for the parked car of Casey Mears on lap 31.

The Richard Petty Motorsports crew took the opportunity to fit new tyres and top the fuel up, allowing Ambrose to resume in 11th.

After surviving a restart pile up and another yellow flag period, Ambrose continued in ninth position, before the handling of the car began to degrade.

The third caution of the race came out on lap 47 for debris, with the crew pitting early to dial in an improved set-up.

Restarting from 22nd, Ambrose put his head down and charged through the pack, making it to 15th on lap 55.

The next caution flashed on when Bobby Labonte was shunted into the pit wall, with Ambrose continuing his charge through the pack from 10th position at the restart.

With the handling of his Ford Fusion moving into his comfort zone, Ambrose progressed back up into third position prior to the final green flag pit stop, which was taken on lap 75.

At this point the field was jumbled by mixed strategies, with Ambrose resuming deep in the pack, before the yellow lights flashed on once again when Brian Vickers sent Tony Stewart hard into the wall on lap 88.

By this stage the rear tyres on Ambrose’s Ford Fusion were past their prime, and crew chief Todd Parrott made the call to pit for four new tyres, which relegated the Ambrose to 16th for the final restart with 20 laps remaining.

With the advantage of the fresh rubber, Ambrose was able to carve his way back through the pack, passing five cars in the last ten laps to finish in fifth.

The race was won by Kurt Busch, over Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next week returns to the spiritual home of stock car racing, with the running of the Coke Zero 400 from Daytona International Speedway.

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