Nascar – Marcos Ambrose Title Chase Changes With 10th Place Finish

August 28, 2011


Marcos Ambrose survived one of the toughest events on the NASCAR Sprint Cup calendar, the Bristol Night Race, to record his eighth top-ten of the season with a tenth place finish, in the process moving himself into title calculations.

With 12 races left in the season, Ambrose’s result aboard the Stanley Ford Fusion betters his previous best season tally of top-ten finishes, seven, which he scored in 2009.

The result also changed the complexion of the line up for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which is decided in two event’s time at Richmond International Speedway.

With race winner Brad Keselowski inching closer to a top-ten finish and a guaranteed spot in the Chase, Ambrose moved to within four points of overhauling Paul Menard and David Ragan to possibly secure the final wildcard spot.

In a new format for 2011, the Chase will consist of the top-ten drivers in points after 26 races, with two other places going to the drivers with the most race wins between positions 11 through 20.

“We finished tenth, and I am pretty proud of our efforts tonight,” Ambrose said.

“The car wasn’t perfect, but we stayed on the lead lap and kept digging on the top groove.

“The tyre was very challenging for the teams to set up for; it made the car very loose.

“I am pleased with our result.”

After qualifying 11th, Ambrose settled in 15th position after the opening exchanges, with the first caution appearing on lap 32 of 500 with debris on the race track.

With several cars not taking on a full compliment of four tyres, Ambrose resumed combat in 18th position, but soon set sail up the leader board, successfully passing race favourite Kyle Busch for 12th position on lap 98.

The second caution for debris flashed on lap 103, with the race restarting seven laps later with Ambrose in 11th.

Ambrose dropped a spot before the third caution on lap 129 when Travis Kvapil suffered a flat tyre, with the Richard Petty Motorsports crew electing not to pit.

The number nine Ford continued its charge forward when the green flag flew, passing Denny Hamlin to make the top-ten on lap 148.

A long clean run led to green flag stops just after the halfway mark, with another solid stop seeing Ambrose resume in eighth.

The amber lights flashed once again on lap 297 when David Reutimann was turned around on the back stretch, with Ambrose holding down tenth position throughout the subsequent round of pit stops.

The Australian aced the restart, leaping up into eighth place, with a wreck involving Mark Martin slowing the field once again on lap 360, with the crew fitting four new Goodyear Tyres during the caution.

The final yellow for the night was on lap 413 when Kyle Busch struck Terry Labonte, which allowed the team to fit one final set of tyres and top up the fuel, with Ambrose taking in the green flag from ninth.

Ambrose was then engaged in an epic battle with Denny Hamlin, with the pair glued together for many laps, with the Ford driver having to settle for tenth at the chequered flag.

Next week, Ambrose will continue his quest to secure a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, with the AdvoCare 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway.

By virtue of his recent win at Watkins Glen International, Ambrose will also be in the running for the Sprint Summer Showdown, with a victory in Atlanta providing a one million dollar bonus for his team, another million dollars for a fan, and a million dollars for his chosen charity.

Bristol Night Race Review

Race Results

1. Brad Keselowski (Dodge)

2. Martin Truex Jnr (Toyota)

3. Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet)

4. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)

5. Jamie McMurray (Chevrolet)

6. Matt Kenseth (Ford)

7. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)

8. Ryan Newman (Chevrolet)

9. Carl Edwards (Ford)

10. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Standings (After race 24 of 36)

1. Kyle Busch (Toyota)- 830 points (4 wins)

2. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)- 830 (1 win)

3. Matt Kenseth (Ford)- 798 (2 wins)

4. Carl Edwards (Ford)- 795 (1 win)

5. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)- 782 (3 wins)

6. Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet)- 782 (2 wins)

7. Ryan Newman (Chevrolet)- 762 (1 win)

8. Kurt Busch (Dodge)- 749 (1 win)

9. Dale Earnhardt Jnr (Chevrolet)- 728

10. Tony Stewart (Chevrolet)- 710

11. Brad Kesekowski (Dodge)- 689 (3 wins)

12. Clint Bowyer (Chevrolet)- 688

13. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)- 672 (1 win)

14. A.J. Allmendinger (Ford)- 664

15. Kasey Kahne (Toyota)- 656

16. Greg Biffle (Ford)- 649

17. Martin Truex Jnr (Toyota)- 645

18. Joey Logano (Toyota)- 642

19. Mark Martin (Chevrolet)- 633

20. Paul Menard (Chevrolet)- 631 (1 win)

21. David Ragan (Ford)- 628 (1 win)

22. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)- 627 (1 win)

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