Stoner leads the charge
WITH the 2009 racing season heating up overseas, MotoGP rider Casey Stoner is leading the Aussie charge after winning round one for the Ducati team at Qatar.
He finished fourth in Japan and third in Spain last weekend. After his victory in Spain Valentino Rossi ( Yamaha) leads the championship 11 points ahead of Stoner. Fellow Aussie Chris Vermuelen (Suzuki) is inside the top 10 in ninth place.
Following a less than satisfactory result in front of his home crowd in the first round of the World Formula 1 Championship where he finished 12th, Mark Webber bounced back in Malaysia finishing sixth.
Team Red Bull Renault had its best ever result with Sebastian Vettell winning in a wet Chinese GP in Shanghai ahead of teammate Webber. After qualifying second in Bahrain, Vettell looked set to carry on his winning way. However when on his fast qualifying lap Webber was deliberately blocked by Adrian Sirtil to take out 19th on the starting grid.
Vettell finished in second place with Webber battling gamely to finish 11th. Vettell is now second in the standings, with Webber sixth going into tomorrow’s fifth round, the Spanish GP at Catalunya.
AMBROSE CLAWS BACK
ON the other side of the pond, former V8 Supercar Champion Marcus Ambrose is making his presence felt in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup division. After finishing the opening round, the Daytona 500, in the top 20 in 17th place, he had some ordinary results at Fontana, Las Vegas and Atlanta before finally getting “the oval monkey” off his back when he finished 10th at the very tight onekilometre Bristol Speedway.
He finished outside the top 10 at Martinsville and Phoenix in 14th place, but relegated to 41st in Texas following an engine failure.
On one of the fastest Super speedways of them all at Talladega, where cars reach speeds of 320km/h, Ambrose stayed well within the top 20 as he dodged numerous high speed crashes, including one on the last lap where are car somersaulted into the catch fence just ahead of him. Ambrose went on to finish a career best fourth.
Last weekend at Richmond after being spun with less than 100 of 400 laps remaining, he recovered from 23rd to finish 11th. After 10 of 36 rounds Ambrose is now the inside the top 20 in the standings in 19th only one spot behind second generation legendary NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt Jr.
MUM GIVES THE WORD
THIS weekend, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart are atop the leader board as NASCAR races the Southern 500 on another high speed Superspeedway in Darlington.
The 2km egg shaped oval, known as “the track that’s too hard to tame” is celebrating its 60th anniversary on this traditional Mother’s Day weekend where a driver’s mother will give the order; “Gentlemen start your engines”.
COSTLY PITSTOP ERROR
V8 Supercar driver Jamie Whincup’s winning streak came to an end at Winton Raceway in Victoria last Sunday when his 888 team mate Craig Lowndes won race two following Whincup’s victory in race one. A pitstop error cost Whincup dearly, when both 888 Falcons pitted at the same time, with Whincup having to wait for Lowndes to vacate the pit box.
However he still leads the championship 104 points ahead of HRT driver Will Davison with Queensland’s Steven Johnson in third place in his DJR Falcon.
In a spin: Marcos Ambrose in the No. 47 Bush’s Best Baked Beans/Kingsford/Clorox Toyota crashes at Richmond Speedway, Virginia, but recovers to finish 11th.