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Ambrose's Dover success could help Chase hopes

May 28, 2013, Kenny Bruce,

On heels of a solid Charlotte run, Ambrose looks to insert himself into Chase picture

Of the eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in which Marcos Ambrose has finished third or better, six have come on road courses.

Both career victories for the native of Tasmania came on the wickedly fast seven-turn Watkins Glen International layout.

He holds the track qualifying record (95.262 mph) at Sonoma Raceway, where speeds are slower but the layout no less forgiving.

But when the series arrives in Dover, Del., for this weekend’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks, Ambrose will feel equally good about his team’s chances. And with good reason.

Concrete-surfaced tracks have been kind to driver of the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 9 Ford. Particularly Dover, a 1-mile layout whose high-banked turns generate high speeds while providing little room for error.

Ambrose had put together three consecutive top-10 finishes at Dover before ending up 18th last fall. He also has three career top-10 finishes at Bristol, a track that is a bit smaller at 0.533 mile but certainly every bit as demanding.

"We expect (Dover) to be good for me this weekend."

-- Marcos Ambrose

“A bit of a mystery, but I'll take it,” Ambrose said of his Dover results. “It's been a good track for me in the past. We expect it to be good for me this weekend.”

“My mindset when I go to Dover, I expect a high‑intensity race, up on the wheel, being aggressive all day. That being said, concrete race tracks, both Bristol and Dover, have really been good to me as far as results go. I've run well pretty much every Bristol race and I've certainly run well at Dover the last couple years.

“I don't have a good reason why that's the case. Perhaps I get a different feel behind the wheel or I'm able to adjust the car a little better for these concrete tracks than others.”

As part of the Racing For a Miracle program, RPM sponsors Stanley, DeWalt and Ace Hardware will donate $1 million to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals if Ambrose wins Sunday’s race.

Although he is 22nd in the points standings, Ambrose, 36, is coming off a 10th place finish this past weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The team squeezed out the impressive finish run even though its car was badly damaged when Ambrose ran over a TV cable that had fallen across the track.

“I've certainly run into things that I didn't expect,” said Ambrose, who said he had once hit a kangaroo. “This was unusual because it pretty much impacted the entire field. I mean we're going 200 plus miles an hour into Turn 1. I heard and felt like a big whack on the front window. The window net was pulsing. I knew something happened. It left a big mark on the windshield.

“I could see something coming out the back of Mark Martin's car. It was on my hood, making a lot of noise, a lot of racket.”

Ambrose said it wasn’t until officials threw the caution flag that he realized the extent of the damage to his car.

“It ripped the brake line off the back of the car,” he said. “It was still flapping. I could feel it and hear it. It really wasn't until a lap of caution that I was able to work it all out when I saw the left‑over piece of rope sitting on the side of the track.

“It all came at me pretty fast, but it was certainly unusual just because of the fact that it didn't impact one car, it was pretty much the entire field went over that wire.”


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