04 April 2011
Marcos Ambrose endured a frustrating day in the office in today's NASCAR Sprint Series Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, with an early accident curtailing any chance of a strong result in the series' sixth outing for the season.
Ambrose's race unraveled on lap 125 of 500 when Michael McDowell sent the DeWALT Ford Fusion spinning backwards into the outside wall.
Unhurt in the incident, Ambrose marched on valiantly to finish in 29th, picking up several valuable championship points.
"It was a disappointing day, I think the contact was uncalled for," Marcos Ambrose said.
"We had a strong car but we never had a chance to really see what it could do.
"The guys never gave up, and kept at it all day long.
"It's a bump in the road, we'll keep our chins up be ready to go next week."
After starting from the 19th position, Ambrose made a good getaway to jump up as high as 11th place in the opening exchanges.
As the first stint wore on, Ambrose became trapped in the slower high line around the race track, and lost positions until the first caution, which appeared on lap 52 when David Gilliland suffered a flat tyre.
Following a pit stop for new tyres and car adjustments, Ambrose restarted in position 22 on lap 61.
By lap 100, Ambrose was hot on the tail of his Richard Petty Motorsports team mate AJ Allmendinger, with the pair running in 15th and 16th, before the second caution flashed on seven laps later when Hermie Sadler hit the wall.
After taking on fuel and tyres, Ambrose took the green flag from 16th, but nine laps later the Australian was hit from behind by Michael McDowell, sending the car heavily into the unyielding Safer Barrier.
With the crew working diligently in the pits, the car returned to action nearly two laps down on the race leader, with the machine able to hold its own in clear air.
A subsequent caution for Dave Blaney allowed Ambrose to head back to the pits for further repairs, with special attention paid to the damaged fuel filler, which dropped the car six further laps down on the leaders.
Ambrose was able to pick up two positions when a stuck throttle on Martin Truex's machine took Kasey Kahne hard into the wall, with the subsequent fence repairs causing a significant delay to proceedings.
From there until the conclusion of the race, Ambrose was racing against the attrition affecting the remainder of the field.
Despite the damage to the car, on its own on the race track, the number nine machine continued to display strong form, although the damage to the fuel filler proved costly on all of the remaining pit stops.
Kevin Harvick won a thrilling race, edging out Dale Earnhardt Jnr and Kyle Busch in the fight to the finish, claiming back to back race wins.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series continues next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway with the Samsung Mobile 500, with Marcos Ambrose back behind the wheel of the Stanley Ford Fusion.
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 five 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/.
Fans are allowed to vote once an hour until polling closes.
Goody's Fast Relief 500 Martinsville Speedway
1. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)
2. Dale Earnhardt Jnr (Chevrolet)
3. Kyle Busch (Toyota)
4. Juan Pablo Montoya (Chevrolet)
5. Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet)
6. Matt Kenseth (Ford)
7. Jamie McMurray (Chevrolet)
8. David Ragan (Ford)
9. Clint Bowyer (Chevrolet)
10. Mark Martin (Chevrolet)
29. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Standings (After race 6 of 36)
1. Kyle Busch- 219 points
2. Carl Edwards (Ford)- 214
3. Jimmie Johnson- 207
4. Kurt Busch (Dodge)- 205
5. Kevin Harvick- 204
6. Ryan Newman (Chevrolet)- 203
7. Juan Pablo Montoya- 201
8. Dale Earnhardt Jnr- 199
9. Matt Kenseth- 195
10. Mark Martin- 181
22. Marcos Ambrose- 136
Australian NASCAR TV Guide
All times in Australian Eastern Standard Time, check local guides for details
Monday April 4th
12:30pm- Goody's Fast Relief 500, SPEED + SPEED HD
7:00pm- Goody's Fast Relief 500, SPEED + SPEED HD
Wednesday April 6th
11:00pm- Goody's Fast Relief 500, SPEED + SPEED HD
Thursday April 7th
6:00am- Goody's Fast Relief 500, SPEED + SPEED HD
11:30am- Goody's Fast Relief 500, ONE HD
1:30pm- Goody's Fast Relief 500, SPEED + SPEED HD
Saturday April 9th
1:00pm- Samsung Mobil 500 Qualifying, SPEED + SPEED HD
9:30pm- Samsung Mobil 500 Qualifying, SPEED + SPEED HD
Sunday April 10th
8:00am- Samsung Mobile 500 Happy Hour, SPEED + SPEED HD
9:00am- Samsung Mobile 500 LIVE, SPEED + SPEED HD
Samsung Mobile 500 Texas Motor Speedway Preview
Texas Motor Speedway
Track Distance: 1.5 miles/ 2.41 kilometres
Track Type: Intermediate Quad Oval
Crowd Capacity: 159,585
Marcos Ambrose Results at Texas Motor Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
2010 (2): 12th
2010 (1): 17th
2009 (2): 15th
2009 (1): 41st (mechanical)
2008 (2): 21st
NASCAR Nationwide Series
2008 (2): 9th
2008 (1): 18th
2007 (2): 30th
2007 (1): 31st
NASCAR Truck Series
2006 (2): 27th
2006 (1): 10th