By admin | March 29, 2009
By Richard Allen
For the second week in a row Australian Marcos Ambrose scored a solid finish and gained respect in NASCARâ€™s top division.
Ambrose brought his Toyota home in the 14th position in the Goodyâ€™s Fast Pain Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. It was the second Top 15 finish in a row for the likable driver and his JTG-Daugherty Motorsports team.
Ambrose gained three places in the Sprint Cup standings as a result of his Martinsville finish which puts him in the 21st position overall.
Last week in Bristol, Ambrose managed his first Top 10 of 2009 despite having an ailing engine over the course of the later laps on the high banks.
Ambroseâ€™s recent finishes are important in that they prove the driver can compete on tracks other than road courses, which he has been most known for in his short time in NASCAR racing.
The fact that this team can turn in solid finishes on oval tracks bodes well for their future. This is especially true considering that Ambrose is, for all intents and purposes, a rookie. Last year he competed in only 11 races but that is too many to be eligible for Rookie of the Year awards the following season. However, 11 races is hardly enough to call any driver, especially one coming from a non-NASCAR background, a seasoned veteran.
Whether Ambrose will compete for any victories on oval tracks in 2009 remains to be seen. However, by running so well on these type tracks, he may be readying his team for the times this year when he will go into road course races as one of the favorites.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
* Click below to check out my short animated film “Racing Re-Cap: Martinsville”. Hopefully it will be good for a laugh.
None of the characters represent real people.
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