Nascar – Ambrose Digs Deep in Kentucky‏

July 10, 2011


Marcos Ambrose survived a topsy-turvy Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway, finishing the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the venue in 20th position.
Getting out of step with the leader’s fuel strategy early cost the Australian two-laps, but he dug deep to finish back on the lead lap.
“At times it was a difficult night, but we hung in there and managed to get a result from the evening,” Ambrose said.
“It was great to have Porter Cable on the car this weekend, and all of the guys on the crew stuck by me throughout the race, I’m proud of their efforts here.
“Kentucky is a difficult track to get a handle on with all of the bumps out there, but next weekend we’re back to a known quantity at Loudon.”
With qualifying raining out, the starting grid was determined by final practice times, with Ambrose lining up from 11th position.
From the initial green flag, the handling of the car wasn’t to Ambrose’s liking, with the Ford Fusion falling back to 20th position after seven laps, prior to recovering to 19th ahead of the competition caution on lap 31.
With a swift two-tyre change strategy utilised, Ambrose returned to competition in 15th position, however the car did not receive its full compliment of fuel.
This forced Ambrose well off sequence with the race leaders, with the number nine heading back to the pits for service on lap 63.
A prolonged run of green flag racing and another round of pit stops saw Ambrose fall two laps behind the race leaders, however, the Australian fought back onto the lead lap prior to the second caution on lap 140.
Another caution quickly followed on lap 152, with the Richard Petty Motorsports crew taking the opportunity to top up fuel and make adjustments.
A further long run of clear running followed, with Ambrose climbing as high as sixth, with his next stop coinciding with a caution when Jamie McMurray blew his engine.
The timing of the stop saw Ambrose sent to 24th position for the restart, the last car on the lead lap.
With the handling of the car coming on strong during the later stages of the long runs, Ambrose and his crew elected to only take on fuel during the final stop, which happened immediately before Dale Earnhardt Jnr blew a tyre, bringing out the fifth caution.
This pinned Ambrose a lap down on the leaders, but he was able to take a wave-around back onto the lead lap, where he lined up from 22nd with eight laps to go.
The drama didn’t end there, with Clint Bowyer crashing just after the restart, with Ambrose running over the tyre caucus left behind by the stricken vehicle, momentarily causing some consternation back in the pits.
The race ended with an exciting green-white-chequered flag finish, with Ambrose flashing across the line in 20th.
Kyle Busch won the race from David Reutimann and Jimmie Johnson.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next week returns to the one-mile long oval in New Hampshire, with the Lennox Industrial Tools 301.


Kentucky Speedway / Quaker State 400
Race Results

1. Kyle Busch (Toyota)

2. David Reutimann (Toyota)

3. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)

4. Ryan Newman (Chevrolet)

5. Carl Edwards (Ford)

6. Matt Kenseth (Ford)

7. Brad Keselowski (Dodge)

8. David Ragan (Ford)

9. Kurt Busch (Dodge)

10. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)

20. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Standings (After race 18 of 36)

1. Kyle Busch (Toyota)- 624 points

2. Carl Edwards (Ford)- 620

3. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)- 614

4. Kurt Busch (Dodge)- 606

5. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)- 605

6. Matt Kenseth (Ford)- 602

7. Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet)- 553

8. Dale Earnhardt Jnr (Chevrolet)- 548

9. Ryan Newman (Chevrolet)- 538

10. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)- 529

22. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)- 459

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