Get the latest Marcos Ambrose news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Get the latest Marcos Ambrose news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Pair of non-Chasers lead the way; Kurt Busch damages No. 41 Chevy RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize MORE: Practice 3 results " Race lineup Kyle Larson was again fast in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, on Saturday. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver topped the leaderboard in the last practice session of the weekend after placing fourth and third in the first two, respectively. Larson's best speed of 190.295 mph was enough to top pole-winner and defending race-winner Kevin Harvick 's lap of 189.607 mph. Harvick was trailed by a trio of fellow Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers in Kasey Kahne (189.215 mph), Ryan Newman (189.102 mph) and Kyle Busch (189.069 mph). Jeff Gordon (188.818 mph) and Joey Logano (188.805 mph) were the only other Chase drivers in the top 10, at eighth and ninth, respectively. Jimmie Johnson (188.081 mph), who will start Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) 32nd after spinning during qualifying, and Matt Kenseth (187.806 mph) were the lowest-running Chase drivers at 21st and 25th, respectively. With just less than 40 minutes remaining in practice, the session was red-flagged when Kurt Busch spun off Turn 1 and ended up in the infield grass. He placed 31st in the session with a best speed of 186.419 mph in five laps and will go to a backup car for the race. MORE: Practice 2 results Marcos Ambrose topped Saturday's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Kansas Speedway . Ambrose , the Richard Petty Motorsports driver who recently announced plans to return to his native Australia following the conclusion of the season, led the way in the early session with a best speed of 191.652. The driver of he No. 9 was followed by a pair of Chip Ganassi Racing drivers in Jamie McMurray (191.584) and Kyle Larson (191.096), both of whom have enjoyed a successful start to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, despite both of them not having qualified for it. Carl Edwards was the first Chase driver on the board at fourth overall, with a best speed of 191.076 mph. His Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr . followed in fifth with a speed of 190.914 mph. The only Chase driver other than Edwards in the top 10 was Ryan Newman (190.235 mph), at eighth overall. Spots 11 through 17 saw six Chasers, in Kyle Busch (190.007, 11th), Joey Logano (189.980, 12th), pole-winner Kevin Harvick (189.947), Kasey Kahne (189.840, 14th), the most recent winner in Jeff Gordon (189.667, 16th) and defending series champion Jimmie Johnson (189.500, 17th). Johnson's Kansas weekend struggles continued slightly, as he piloted the No. 48 Chevrolet to an uncharacteristic 17th-place on the speed charts after spending most of the penultimate practice in the lower third of the charts. He spun during qualifying on Friday and will start 32nd on Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN). Denny Hamlin was the Chase driver with the slowest practice speed, clocking in at 188.653 mph, 28th overall. Final Kansas practice begins Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, with coverage on FOX Sports 2. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
After thought, driver concluded 'timing was right' to make move RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Marcos Ambrose readily concedes it was an offer too good to pass up: The enviable opportunity to return his young family home to Australia combined with the chance to drive for Roger Penske. Explaining that he had made the decision this summer to return home -- in large part to raise his 8- and 6-year-old children -- Ambrose , 38, acknowledged this week that the stars aligned from both a personal and professional perspective. Team Penske announced this week the former two-time Australian V8 Supercar champ Ambrose will return to the series in 2015 with a Penske-led Dick Johnson Racing Team Penske entry. After a winning nine-year NASCAR career in the states Ambrose was ready for a change in scenery. And the timing has proven impeccable. In a teleconference with the international media this week, Ambrose again stressed that his motive has primarily been family-based. He will base the family in his native Tasmania -- near immediate family close to the very neighborhoods he and his wife were raised. "I had come to that conclusion leading into the summer that the timing was right for me personally to return to Australia at the end of this season for personal reasons,'' Ambrose said. "My kids are 6 and 8. I want them to enjoy and experience Australian life as well, so when they grow up they can make their own choices in life where they want to be. "I have one American that was born here and I have an Australian, Tabitha, who's 8 who has an Australian passport. I think the timing for me personally was right." And having earned a pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories along with five NASCAR Nationwide Series wins, Ambrose conceded it felt like his tenure in NASCAR had reached its natural conclusion. "My career in NASCAR has flattened off, and I always said that when I felt like I wasn't going to be able to either keep progressing or wasn't going to be able to achieve what I came here to do, which was to win a championship, then I needed to look at my options, and that's exactly what I've done," Ambrose said. "I've achieved a lot in NASCAR. Getting an opportunity to drive in the Sprint Cup Series for Richard Petty is incredible, but I felt like my opportunities were getting narrower, and certainly my results had flattened off. I mean, it's just a fact of life. "I felt like it's a good time for me to return the family to Australia. I've certainly scratched the itch of NASCAR, and I'm really proud of what I've achieved, but I'm happy to return to Australia and go to the next chapter in my racing career." Ambrose will work with at least two other team leaders with NASCAR experience. Jeff Swartwout, who worked with Penske's Nationwide Series program, will serve as team manager and Nick Hughes, who served as technical director on Michael Waltrip Racing teams, will work in the technical department. And with Penske's broad reach in motorsports, there was immediate talk about crossover between the series. Asked if one of his other drivers might do a one-off V8 Supercar race, Penske joked, "I told Marcos maybe we'd get (Juan Pablo) Montoya who said he likes to run on road courses to come down and join him, but that was only a joke. Please don't print that. That's just a joke." Penske Racing President Tim Cindric added with a laugh, "We'll have a long line out the door with Helio (Castroneves) and Will Power and the rest of them asking why they didn't get to go. There's a long list." In converse, Penske didn't close the door on whether Ambrose might make a return to NASCAR either. "I think that if there were reasons that we wanted to run Marcos , whether it's an oval or a NASCAR road race, we would have to look at the schedule and to be sure we had the proper funding to do it,'' Penske said. "I think as far as he's concerned, he's made the decision to come with us in Australia, and I think those opportunities he'd have to really look at one at a time." In the meantime, Ambrose said he is committed to seeking another title in the V8 Supercar championship. "It will be a challenge for me personally, there's no doubt about that. It's been nearly 10 years since I've driven a V8 Supercar. I don't take that challenge lightly,'' Ambrose said. "I know it's going to take some time to get integrated back into the series with the way they like to race, with the rules they have in place, and also the technical aspect of these cars, but I know what I've done in the past, and I know what I'm capable of, and it's not like I've been sitting around a beach. "I've been racing 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup races every season. I've had plenty of racing miles under my belt. I'm looking forward to the change. I'm looking forward to bringing my family back to Australia, and just can't wait to get started." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
See the full entry list for the 33rd race of the Sprint Cup Series season RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 1 Jamie McMurray Felix Sabates Keith Rodden 14 Chevrolet McDonald's 2 2 Brad Keselowski Roger Penske Paul Wolfe 14 Ford Alliance Truck Parts 3 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Gil Martin 14 Chevrolet Dow 4 4 Kevin Harvick Tony Stewart Rodney Childers 14 Chevrolet Outback Steakhouse 5 5 Kasey Kahne Linda Hendrick Kenny Francis 14 Chevrolet Great Clips 6 7 Michael Annett Tommy Baldwin Kevin Manion 14 Chevrolet Allstate Peterbuilt Group 7 9 Marcos Ambrose Richard Petty Drew Blickensderfer 14 Ford STANLEY 8 10 Danica Patrick Tony Stewart Tony Gibson 14 Chevrolet GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness 9 11 Denny Hamlin J D Gibbs Darian Grubb 14 Toyota FedEx Freight 10 13 Casey Mears Bob Germain Bootie Barker III 14 Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 11 14 Tony Stewart Margaret Haas Chad Johnston 14 Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 12 15 Clint Bowyer Rob Kauffman Brian Pattie 14 Toyota AAA Insurance 13 16 Greg Biffle Jack Roush Matt Puccia 14 Ford 3M 14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr John Henry Michael Kelley 14 Ford Roush Fenway Racing 'Pit for a Pair' Fusion 15 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Dave Rogers 14 Toyota M&M's Halloween 16 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Jason Ratcliff 14 Toyota Dollar General 17 22 Joey Logano Walter Czarnecki Todd Gordon 14 Ford Shell Pennzoil 18 23 Alex Bowman Ron Devine Dave Winston 14 Toyota Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry 19 24 Jeff Gordon Rick Hendrick Alan Gustafson 14 Chevrolet Drive To End Hunger 20 26 Cole Whitt Anthony Marlowe Randy Cox 14 Toyota Bad Boy Mowers Toyota Camry 21 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Justin Alexander 14 Chevrolet Richmond / Menards 22 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Luke Lambert 14 Chevrolet Quicken Loans 23 32 Kyle Fowler(i) Frank Stoddard Jr Clinton Cram 14 Ford corvetteparts.net 24 33 Travis Kvapil Joe Falk Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet 25 34 David Ragan Bob Jenkins Derrick Finley 14 Ford WENDELL SCOTT HOF TRIBUTE 26 36 Reed Sorenson Allan Heinke Todd Parrott 14 Chevrolet Zing Zang Chevrolet 27 38 David Gilliland Brad Jenkins Jay Guy 14 Ford A&W ALL AMERICAN FOOD 28 40 Landon Cassill(i) Michael Hillman Mark Hillman 14 Chevrolet Newtown Building Supplies 29 41 Kurt Busch Gene Haas Daniel Knost 14 Chevrolet Haas Automation 30 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Chris Heroy 14 Chevrolet Target 31 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Trent Owens 14 Ford Smithfield 32 144 Timmy Hill John Cohen Peter Sospenzo 14 Chevrolet Phoenix Warehouse 33 47 A J Allmendinger Tad Geschickter Brian Burns 14 Chevrolet Clorox 34 48 Jimmie Johnson Jeff Gordon Chad Knaus 14 Chevrolet Lowe's 35 51 Justin Allgaier Harry Scott Jr Steve Addington 14 Chevrolet Auto-Owners Insurance 36 55 Brian Vickers Michael Waltrip Billy Scott 14 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 37 66 Mike Wallace(i) Jay Robinson Scott Eggleston 14 Toyota Royal Teak Collection.com 38 78 Martin Truex Jr Barney Visser Todd Berrier 14 Chevrolet Furniture Row 39 83 TBA Ron Devine Joe Williams 14 Toyota Burger King Toyota Camry 40 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Rick Hendrick Steve Letarte 14 Chevrolet National Guard 41 93 TBA Wayne Press Doug Richert 14 Toyota TBA 42 98 Josh Wise Mike Curb Gene Nead 14 Chevrolet Phil Parsons Racing 43 99 Carl Edwards Jack Roush James Fennig 14 Ford Ford Ecoboost Fusion MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Salutes former team as he continues quest to make the Chase RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Third-place finisher Kurt Busch had a front-row seat as AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose beat and banged for a victory on Sunday at Watkins Glen International and a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. When asked what strategy Ambrose should have employed in the final laps of the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen, Busch said, "He should have wrecked Allmendinger." Sounding like "The Intimidator from Down Under," Ambrose said, "I tried to rattle his cage and couldn't shake him. We raced fair and square to the end there. It was a tough couple laps but it was fair. We were both giving it to each other pretty hard. No harm, no foul. We just came up a little short." Ambrose had too much respect for his competitor, the No. 47 team and racing in general to spin and win. The Australian driver spent two full seasons with Allmendinger's JTG Daugherty Racing before moving to his current team, Richard Petty Motorsports , in 2011. "They are good friends over there," Ambrose said. "I drove for those guys a long time, and I was never able to seal the deal with a win for them. I am pleased that they were able to get a win, and I am thrilled for AJ too, that is a big win." Ambrose led 19 circuits from Lap 33 through Lap 51 and never fell below second place over the final 20 laps, running side-by-side with Allmendinger down the stretch. With four laps to go, Ambrose and Allmendinger were within .003 seconds of each other at the start/finish line. The turning point for Ambrose came on the sixth and final yellow flag at Lap 88 when Denny Hamlin spun into the barrels at the entrance to pit road. The race to the field being frozen under caution was on and Allmendinger won it. "I can't remember much of it, but I know there was a lot of door banging going on and a lot of corners where we were side by side," Ambrose said. "I got my tires really hot during that and slid coming off Turn 11 after I got the lead and he got it back before the caution dropped. "That was probably the difference between winning and losing. If I could have had the lead when the caution came out I probably would have had the advantage on the restart and probably would have been able to fend him off. That is just racing. That is what it is all about. You try to take a couple chances, and I am just pleased we got through the esses side by side without wrecking the whole field. It could have easily happened." On Saturday, Ambrose earned his fourth NASCAR Nationwide Series win at Watkins Glen with a Richard Petty Motorsports research and development team. On Sunday, he liked his chances of completing the first weekend sweep at the facility with his full-time No. 9 Sprint Cup team, which used a precious test at the Glen to get a win and join the No. 43 team and Aric Almirola in the Chase. "I am just really proud of my Stanley team," Ambrose said. "We put a lot of effort into this race and really tried to win it. We won yesterday and came up one short today." With four races to go until the Chase, his focus remains on winning his way into NASCAR's playoffs, but he's also aware of his points situation heading into Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond. "Man, I just finished the closest race of my life," Ambrose said. "I haven't thought about points or anything. I will look at it Monday. "We are decent in the championship position. I think we are 16th or something. We need to score points, but we really need to focus on winning." Ambrose is indeed 16th in points, 50 markers behind Clint Bowyer, who holds the last provisional spot on points. But the win was the thing for Ambrose , who enjoyed rubbing and racing with Allmendinger, just not as much as he did when he and Brad Keselowski slam-danced their way to the start/finish line in 2012. Was Sunday's run was as exciting as that epic dash to the checkered flag two years ago? "Not for me personally," Ambrose said. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Ambrose picks up new associate sponsor for 2014
Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose spin early battling for position at Watkins Glen International.
Team Penske driver holds off hard-charging Newman for sixth win of season MORE: Full race results " Updated series standings RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize TALLADEGA, Ala.-- In a must-win situation at Talladega Superspeedway , Brad Keselowski did exactly that, preserving his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship hopes with a victory in Sunday’s GEICO 500 . With the right side of his car damaged in the wreck that brought out the first caution flag of the afternoon, Keselowski persevered, taking the lead during the first attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish and winning the race in the second overtime—after a wreck that ended the title run of Keselowski's former boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr . "I can't believe it," Keselowski said in Victory Lane. "Talladega is such a wild card, and to be able to win here you have to catch breaks and make your own breaks-a little of both. "I can't believe we won at Talladega. This race is the scariest of the three in the (Contender Round) bracket. To be able to win here is really a privilege. It really is." Keselowski won his series-leading sixth race of the season, his third at Talladega and the 16th of his career. That alone propelled him into the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on a day that saw three of the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers—Earnhardt, Kasey Kahne and six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson —fall by the wayside. On the first lap of the first overtime, Keselowski's Team Penske teammate gave the No. 2 Ford the push that enabled him to clear Ryan Newman and take the lead. "We just persevered," Keselowski said. "We didn't give up. I got a lot of help from my teammate Joey Logano and, wow, this is just special. Everything about today is special. I want to say 'Thank you' to everyone that supports our team." A week after losing his cool on the race track and on pit road at Charlotte, Keselowski was the very model of professional poise at Talladega. Coincidentally, the driver with whom Keselowski had the most significant altercation at Charlotte— Matt Kenseth --was behind him on the final restart at Talladega, and at the finish line. And, coincidentally, both Keselowski and Kenseth, the race runner-up, started the race at the rear of the field, Keselowski after breaking an alternator and Kenseth after changing an engine. Kenseth, Newman (fifth Sunday), Denny Hamlin (18th), Jeff Gordon (26th) and Carl Edwards (21st) joined Contender Round winners Logano, Kevin Harvick and Keselowski in the Eliminator Round, which opens next Sunday at Martinsville, (Va.) Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) with points for all the Chase drivers reset to 4,000. Newman was later found to have failed post-race inspection due to his car being too low in the rear onboth sides. The No. 31 Chevrolet will be taken to NASCAR's R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina for further review. Kyle Busch , victim of an early wreck, joined Earnhardt, Johnson and Kahne as drivers knocked out of the Chase. Johnson, who led a race-high 84 laps, was shuffled back after a restart on Lap 188, the first attempt at a green-white-checkered following a debris caution on Lap 184. In the second overtime, which took the race six circuits past its scheduled 188 laps, he fell back to 24th at the finish. But Johnson's finishing position was of little consequence, once victory was out of the question. Like Keselowski and Earnhardt, Johnson came to Talladega needing a win to move forward in the Chase. After a wild shuffling of positions in the two overtimes, Clint Bowyer finished third, followed by Landon Cassill (first career top five in 147 starts) and Newman. Travis Kvapil , Kurt Busch , Marcos Ambrose and Kevin Harvick completed the top 10. At Talladega, there are always victims, and Kyle Busch was the first. On the backstretch on Lap 103, Aric Almirola tapped the back bumper of J.J. Yeley's Toyota and turned the car sideways into the outside wall, igniting a 10-car chain-reaction wreck. Riding 28th near the rear of the field, Busch checked up and appeared poised to avoid the melee, only to be launched into the inside wall by Austin Dillon 's Chevrolet. With the frame of the No. 18 Toyota bent like a pretzel and suspension parts askew on both ends, Busch brought the car to the garage and dropped to 43rd on the scoring monitor as his team frantically tried to restore the Camry to running condition. "We were just all starting to shuffle around there and getting ready to pit, and I think it was the 83 (Yeley) in front of me, and I think he might have been trying to check up to get to the bottom," Almirola said of the incident that started the wreck. "I just barely started to push him and it hooked his car—and we all wrecked." Earnhardt's run at a first championship came to a sudden end on the backstretch on Lap 188, when contact from Greg Biffle 's Ford spun the No. 88 Chevy, which had spent 31 laps in the lead, but restarted 16th on the first green-white-checkered attempt. With the car damaged in the wreck, Earnhardt finished 31st, a far cry from the victory he needed to advance to the next round of the Chase. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Ambrose has won two of the last three races at the seven-turn track