Aussie vows to continue his US campaign, writes Paul Gover
MARCOS Ambrose proved he still has the right stuff for Nascar success with a win and a third in two road-course starts at Watkins Glen last weekend.
Despite the uncertainty about his future — most likely tied to Ford with Nascar in the US from next year — the speed and commitment he showed at Watkins Glen were top-drawer stuff.
His victory in the second-tier Nationwide series event was his hat-trick at the course and class and it took former F1 ace Juan Montoya to beat him in the Sprint Cup headline event.
Ambrose probably would have been a stronger contender in the sprint event with a better car and crew. He was 11th in qualifying and his Toyota Camry was far from perfect on the final run to the flag.
‘‘I really drove the car into the ground today. Every lap was like a qualifying lap. It’s so intense at the front of the field, and it was a lot of fun dicing with Juan in the middle of the race,’’ Ambrose says.
‘‘After the last round of pit stops, the handling of the car really went away, but it’s still a good result.’’
Ambrose knew he had the pace after the Nationwide win and admits his third win is a highlight of his time in the US, saying: ‘‘It was without doubt the most satisfying win of my career. We’ve had a really tough year, and the results we’ve had this weekend really put the disappointing aspects of the season behind us.’’
He was always the pacemaker in the Nationwide race after qualifying in pole position.
He led 60 of the 82 laps and beat young gun Joey Logano, a regular oval-track winner in Nationwide.
‘‘To win three in a row here is pretty sweet. It’s a huge result for the team,’’ Ambrose says. ‘‘I’m saying goodbye to JTG Daugherty Racing at the end of the year, so it’s nice to score a win for them.’’
But even after a first and a third, Ambrose is looking ahead.
‘‘We’re back to Michigan next weekend. It’s a track I really like competing on, and I hope the momentum we’ve gained this weekend can roll on.’’
Despite rumours he may come home to resume V8 Supercar racing, Ambrose says: ‘‘The Nascar Sprint Cup is the most competitive form of motorsport in the world. It’s a very hard deal to win races here, but that’s what I’m here for, and we’re going to keep at it.’’
Fired up: Marcos Ambrose has had a big win in the US and pledges to keep driving in Nascar events, despite rumours he may come home soon.