27 March 2011
Marcos Ambrose had a tough day at the office today in California, with a 28th place finish in the latest round of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
Fighting the handling of the car all day long, Ambrose and his crew chipped away at car set-up throughout the 400 mile long event, steering clear of trouble to pick up some valuable championship points.
"We didn't have a great day out there," Marcos Ambrose said.
"The car was better at the end of the stints, but we never really got a break with the cautions.
"Martinsville next weekend will be a totally different challenge, I really enjoy racing there.
"I can't wait to bounce back for Richard Petty Motorsports."
After starting from 13th position, the handling of the DeWALT Ford Fusion wasn't to Ambrose's liking, and he fell down the running order early.
With the car understeering on the entry of corners and oversteering through the middle, Ambrose made his first pit stop under green flag conditions on lap 33 of 200 from 29th position.
Ambrose continued to run within the top-30, with the car getting quicker as the fuel load lightened, in fact the Australian ran quicker laps than the leaders coming into the second round of stops.
With a record run of green flag racing from the start, Ambrose went a lap down and found himself racing Bobby Labonte for the Lucky Dog free-pass onto the lead lap after the first caution for debris on lap 75.
Denny Hamlin received the Lucky Dog at the next caution on lap 103 when David Gilliland smacked the wall.
Hamlin however promptly retired from the race with engine woes.
After passing Labonte, Ambrose got into a battle with Trevor Bayne before pitting on lap 140 for four tyres and more adjustments.
Ambrose lost another lap on the leaders in the long run up to the final pit stops, which preceded the third caution for a spinning Andy Lally.
Caution number four flashed on when Ambrose's old ride, now piloted by Labonte, had a flat tyre and hit the wall directly ahead of the number nine Ford Fusion.
The caution allowed Ambrose to change onto new tyres, setting up a nine lap sprint to the chequered flag.
In a grand stand finish, Kevin Harvick only led one lap all day long in taking victory over Jimmie Johnson, with Ambrose taking out the 28th finishing position after battling hard with Casey Mears and Bayne to the finish.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series returns to short track competition next weekend with the running of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 from Martinsville Speedway.
Marcos Ambrose Motorsport Update
Mother Nature conspired against George Miedecke and his JELD-WEN backed Marcos Ambrose Motorsport squad on Saturday night, as wet weather forced the postponement of the second round of the UARA Stars Series at Concord Speedway.
Miedecke earlier in the weekend posted the second fastest time in practice, and was looking to better his second place finish from the opening round of the series.
The team is now gearing up for its next outing on April 9 at Kingsport Speedway.
Voting Now Open for Sprint All-Star Race
Marcos Ambrose's next big challenge is to gain a starting spot in the Sprint All-Star Race, which is scheduled for the 21st of May at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The non-points paying race with a one million dollar prize purse for the winner is an invitation only event, closed to Sprint Cup race winners from the 2010-11 season, former series champions and All-Star Race winners from the past 10 years.
Ambrose can gain a start in the race by either winning one of the six regular season races before the All-Star Race, finish in the top-two in the qualifying Sprint Shootout race, or win the popular fan vote, which is now open at www.nascar.com/promos/allstar/2011/vote/.