Stakes high for road-course master Ambrose
August 07, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com
He has won two of the last three races at the seven-turn track nestled in Central New York's Finger Lakes region and has only missed the top three once - after a tire went down last year.
"Obviously I'm very comfortable at a road course, and I just love Watkins Glen," Ambrose said. "I love the area, the track and going to Victory Lane there."
Ambrose enters the race as one of the prohibitive favorites, but more is at stake than a win for the driver who has never claimed victory at a Sprint Cup event outside the Glen. Under the current championship format, he can all but assure himself of a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the first time with a victory.
"The pressure, it's really not any heavier, it's just part of the business, said Ambrose on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive." "You go to certain tracks where you know you have a chance more than others and it's just one of those weekends where you just want to make the most of it."
Some may point to Ambrose's 31st-place finish at Watkins Glen last year to dampen his victory hopes, but the finish doesn't tell the whole story. Ambrose led 51 of the first 61 laps, until an inopportune caution forced him back to 12th on a restart. He wrecked with five laps remaining.
The former V8 Supercar champion's success at The Glen extends past the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ambrose captured the checkered flag in three consecutive Nationwide races from 2008-10. In fact, he will participate in Saturday's Zippo 200 at The Glen to prepare for Sunday's start.
"I am really thankful to STANLEY for allowing me the opportunity to race in the Nationwide Series and giving me another opportunity to win there," Ambrose said. "We have had a good record in this race and at this track. I'd love to win again. It will also give me and my pit crew more time on the track as we hope to sweep the weekend."