Marcos Ambrose: ‘We all know what is at stake’
Photo by Benjamin Palmer/TheRacingExperts.com
Marcos Ambrose turns laps at Phoenix International Raceway. Ambrose’s two career wins have come at road racing.
By Dominic Aragon
June 20, 2014
If Marcos Ambrose can win Sunday, he knows the victory will lock his team into this year’s playoffs.
But the rewards for a win Sunday might go beyond 2014. Not only could Ambrose have a career-best season, but a possible win could help the driver in his contract negotiations.
“[A Chase berth] certainly would make our year,” said Ambrose, who addressed the media Wednesday. “We know our year is not complete if you can't make the Chase. It's like you haven't qualified for the finals.”
In his sixth full-time season at NASCAR’s top level, the Australian-born driver has notched two victories, both at Watkins Glen International, the seires’ other road course event.
Ambrose has scored two fifth place finishes this year, and has led 25 green flag laps, yet he has dropped seven spots in five races, and is mired to 23rd in points.
The likelihood for Ambrose making the Chase on points is dwindling every week. He’s currently 39 points out of 15th place Greg Biffle, yet he said he feels his team can make the Chase under the new win-and-you’re-in system.
“This format will give us our best chance to [make the Chase], if we can win a race at either Watkins Glen or Sonoma,” Ambrose said. “We know that. It would really make our year, no doubt about it. It would certainly make our sponsors and Richard Petty very happy.”
Ambrose’s record at road racing speaks for itself at Sonoma. The driver has never started outside the top-ten in wine country, and has scored five straight top-ten runs at the track.
“My natural skill set obviously is road racing,” Ambrose said. “I'm quite confident on the ovals but haven't had the same success I've had on the road courses. Really, it's just the years of training. It's my niche.”
But just because he has historically run well and contended for wins at the road course events, anyone can win at these races, according to Ambrose.
“The talent level in the Sprint Cup garage on a road course is no joke,” Ambrose said. “These guys know what they're doing anyway. Certainly for me it's the toughest road racing I've ever been a part of. Cars are really gnarly and the talent from the drivers is exceptional. There's 20, 25 drivers that can win the race on the weekend.