Nascar – Marcos Ambrose Rides The Daytona Rollercoaster

July 3, 2011

Nascar

Marcos Ambrose endured a rollercoaster ride at the Daytona International Speedway throughout the Coke Zero 400 today, claiming an eventual 17th place finish.

Running in tandem with his Richard Petty Motorsports team mate A.J. Allmendinger during the race, the duo lost a lap on the race leaders late in the event when Allmendinger ran out of fuel on the final scheduled pit stop.

Late race cautions however saw Ambrose charge back towards the top-ten, until a last lap pile up destroyed any chance of a big points haul.

“It’s such a shame for the DEWALT crew that the race had to end like that,” Ambrose said.

“All weekend long we showed that we had a strong car, and I was working very well with A.J. throughout the race.

“We played the waiting game, but it all came undone at the end.

“These restrictor plate races are a lottery, and our number didn’t come up tonight.”

After topping the time sheets in Thursday practice, Ambrose qualified in 15th position, with the aim to latch onto Allmendinger at the start, which was achieved before the first caution on lap five of 160 when Trevor Bayne hit the wall.

A further 19 laps into the race, the caution lights flashed on again for the spun car of Carl Edwards.

The entire field took this opportunity to head to the pits for the first service of the race, with Ambrose taking on two-right hand side tyres and fuel.

Unfortunately the fuel can was left attached to the car after the stop, resulting in a penalty, which was lessened by a second stop to top off fuel before racing resumed.

Within only a handful of laps, Ambrose and Allmendinger forged their way back inside the top-20, with the pair having more than enough pace to run with the lead pack.

The third caution appeared on lap 49 when Dave Blaney hit the wall, with the Richard Petty Motorsports duo once again taking the opportunity to pit twice, ensuring another full tank of fuel.

Ambrose and Allmendinger then used their discretion to stay clear of the jostling pack at the front during the subsequent stint, making their third stop under green flag conditions.

The race remained clear throughout the next seqment, with Ambrose making it as high as eighth prior to the final stop.

Unfortunately for the pair, Allmendinger’s car ran out of fuel coming into the pits, with the duo losing a lap on the leaders while Allmendinger came back up to pace.

A late race slide by Jeff Gordon gifted Allmendinger a free pass back onto the lead lap, with Ambrose having to wait until the first attempt of a green-white-chequered flag finish, when a 15 car pile up allowed the Australian to rejoin at the end of the lead-lap.

Lining up from 22nd position with two laps remaining, Ambrose managed to hook up with Allmendinger one more time before charging towards the top-ten.

The race had one more cruel twist in store for Ambrose, when he was turned around in front of the pack by Landon Cassill at the final turn, badly damaging his car.

Ambrose managed to limp past another last lap pile to record a 17th place finish.

The race was won by David Ragan over Matt Kenseth in a Ford one-two finish.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next week continues with the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway, a new venue for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Daytona International Speedway / Coke Zero 400

Race Results

1. David Ragan (Ford)

2. Matt Kenseth (Ford)

3. Joey Logano (Toyota)

4. Kasey Kahne (Toyota)

5. Kyle Busch (Toyota)

6. Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet)

7. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)

8. Paul Menard (Chevrolet)

9. Juan Pablo Montoya (Chevrolet)

10. A.J. Allmendinger (Ford)

17. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Standings (After race 17 of 36)

1. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)- 586 points

2. Carl Edwards (Ford)- 581

3. Kyle Busch (Toyota)- 576

4. Kurt Busch (Dodge)- 570

5. Matt Kenseth (Ford)- 564

6. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)- 564

7. Dale Earnhardt Jnr (Chevrolet)- 534

8. Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet)- 519

9. Clint Bowyer (Chevrolet)- 505

10. Ryan Newman (Chevrolet)- 498

21. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)- 435

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