Phoenix International Raceway
Monday, March 5, 2012
Heartbreak for Ambrose in Phoenix
Marcos Ambrose Racing
Ambrose was set for a third place finish.
The second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event for the season ended in heartbreak for Australian Marcos Ambrose, with a near certain third place finish going by the wayside when mechanical gremlins struck down the Stanley Ford Fusion.
Ambrose had worked his way into a top-three position after the last caution of the race with a combination of forceful driving and shrewd pit strategy, only to be struck down with 17 laps remaining of the 312 lap race.
"I'm absolutely gutted, to come so close to picking up a big result this early in the year and trip over at the final hurdle like that is very frustrating," Ambrose said.
"The Stanley Ford Fusion was great today; we had track position, and we were good to go through to the finish.
"We've proven that our speed from Daytona was no fluke, we'll bounce back from this."
After starting in 14th position, Ambrose sat around that portion of the leader board in the early running, before the first caution saw the Stanley Ford Fusion come in for two right hand side tyres.
In the next stretch to a caution on lap 60, Ambrose climbed back up to 17th, and held station when Casey Mears smacked the wall, which was followed shortly afterwards by an incident involving Paul Menard, AJ Allmendinger and Jamie McMurray.
Pitting for two tyres under the caution, Ambrose passed Kurt Busch on the restart to run in 16th, before making his move forward.
Ambrose charged to the outside of the top 10 on the track, and climbed as high as third as the field came to the pits under green flag conditions.
Running lap times as fast as the leader, Ambrose then drove his way up to ninth, with the team electing to pit for fuel when the caution lights flashed on lap 229 of 312.
Staying out under the next caution with 66 laps remaining, Ambrose lined up for the restart from position four, which was fifth when the seventh caution appeared with 52 laps remaining.
From this restart, Ambrose made some demon moves to get past and hold off Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Greg Biffle, seeing the car sit once again in third position.
In sight of the chequered flag, and now good to make it to the finish on fuel, the unthinkable happened, and the car limped to the pits with a mechanical problem.
Denny Hamlin went on to take the win from Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle, with Ambrose classified 32nd in the final rundown.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series continues next weekend in Las Vegas, with Ambrose slated to make his first appearance for the season in the DeWalt Ford Fusion.
Subway Fresh Fit 500 Results
1. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)
2. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)
3. Greg Biffle (Ford)
4. Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)
5. Brad Keselowski (Dodge)
6. Kyle Busch (Toyota)
7. Martin Truex Jnr (Toyota)
8. Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet)
9. Mark Martin (Toyota)
10. Joey Logano (Toyota)
32. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings (after 2 of 36 races)
1. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)- 89 pts
2. Greg Biffle (Ford)- 83
3. Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet)- 81
4. Matt Kenseth (Ford)- 79
5. Dale Earnhardt Jnr (Chevrolet)- 72
6. Martin Truex Jnr (Toyota)- 71
7. Mark Martin (Toyota)- 71
8. Joey Logano (Toyota)- 70
9. Kyle Busch (Toyota)- 66
10. Carl Edwards (Ford)- 63
21. Marcos Ambrose (Ford)- 43
Australian TV Guide
Times in AEDST, check local guides for details.
Monday March 5th
7:30pm Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500, SPEED + SPEED HD
Tuesday March 6th
2:30am Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500, ONE HD
3:00am Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500, SPEED + SPEED HD
Thursday March 8th
4:30pm Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500, SPEED + SPEED HD
11:30pm Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500, ONE HD
Friday March 9th
12:30am Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500, SPEED + SPEED HD
11:00am Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500, ONE HD
Saturday March 10th
1:30pm Las Vegas 400 Qualifying, SPEED + SPEED HD
8:00pm Las Vegas 400 Qualifying, SPEED + SPEED HD
Sunday March 11th
11:30am Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500, ONE HD
12:30pm Las Vegas 400 Final Practice, SPEED + SPEED HD
12:30pm Las Vegas 400 Qualifying, ONE HD
7:30pm Las Vegas 400 Qualifying, SPEED + SPEED HD
Monday March 12th
3:00am Las Vegas 400 Qualifying, SPEED + SPEED HD
4:30am Las Vegas 400 Final Practice, SPEED + SPEED HD
5:30am Las Vegas 400 LIVE, ONE HD, SPEED + SPEED HD
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Track Distance: 1.5 miles/ 2.41km
Track Type: Intermediate D-Shaped Oval
Crowd Capacity: 137,000
Marcos Ambrose Results at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
2011: 4th (led 1 lap)
NASCAR Nationwide Series
2007: 10th (led 1 lap)
NASCAR Truck Series
2006: 7th (led 12 laps)