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Nov 19, 2012 - 06:28 AM
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Season Of Highs For Ambrose In NASCAR
Posted by: newsla on Nov 19, 2012 - 06:26 AM
Season Of Highs For Ambrose In NASCAR

The 2012 season saw Marcos Ambrose consolidate his place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, with several major highlights key to the Australian's seventh year of racing in North America.


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Finishing 18th in the final Sprint Cup Series point score equalled his previous high, which was backed up with a career best average starting position (14.3) and average finishing position (17.9).

A highlight of the season was Ambrose's second consecutive Sprint Cup Series victory at New York's Watkins Glen International.

In what has become regarded as one of the best finishes of all time, Ambrose started the last lap in third position behind Kyle Busch and eventual series champion Brad Keselowski.

With oil being dropped onto the track by another competitor, Ambrose was forced off the circuit on no less than five occasions, before trading the lead with Keselowski and gaining the upper hand exiting the final corner.

The victory was Ambrose's fifth at the venue in the past five seasons, including his three-peat in the Nationwide Series dating back to 2008.

Apart from Watkins Glen, Ambrose led laps at Texas, Charlotte (both races), Michigan, Sonoma, Bristol, Talladega, and the season finale at Homestead.

The month of June was a standout for Ambrose, with the Australian claiming his first ever Sprint Cup pole position, which was backed up with a second one the following week.

Making the feat all the more remarkable is that both poles set new lap records, with the Michigan International Speedway pole on the fastest track in NASCAR, while the second was set on the slowest course in stock car racing, Sonoma Raceway. The consecutive maiden Sprint Cup poles were only the third time a driver has achieved the feat in the history of NASCAR.

Ambrose's average pole lap speed of 203.241mph (327.085 kmph) at Michigan was the quickest qualifying lap in all of NASCAR for 25 years, and third on the all-time list behind Bill Elliot and Cale Yarborough.

The speed was also notable for being the only post-200mph NASCAR pole to ever be set on an oval outside of Daytona and Talladega.

Previous to this season, Ambrose has scored four career Nationwide Series poles (Memphis 2007, Montreal 2009, Watkins Glen & Montreal 2010) and a truck series pole at Kentucky in 2006.

The most successful portion of the season for the number nine outfit was the stretch from Pocono, where a tenth place result led to the Watkins Glen victory, then a pair of fifth place results at Michigan and Bristol.

Despite rising as high as 15th in the point standings, the team fell just short of making the cut off for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Away from Sprint Cup duties, Ambrose excelled himself, with a string of top-ten finishes.

The Bud Shootout at Daytona International Speedway saw Ambrose claim a third place finish, which was replicated with another third in the first Gatorade Duel at the same venue five days later.

The Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May once again saw Ambrose run at the pointy end of the field, before settling for seventh at the chequered flag.

By virtue of his victory and pole positions this season, Ambrose has secured himself a starting berth in both the Daytona Shootout and Charlotte All-Star races in 2013.

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