Ford's Marcos Ambrose Wins First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race

Marcos Ambrose passed Brad Keselowski after a green-white-checker restart to win Monday's rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International. The win was the first for Ambrose, an Australian native, in NASCAR's top division.

Ford's Marcos Ambrose Wins First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race

Ford's Marcos Ambrose Wins First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race

·         Marcos Ambrose registered the first win of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with today’s win.
·         Today’s win is the sixth of the season for Ford Racing.
·         Ambrose is the 77th different driver to win a Cup race with Ford Racing, and the third this season joining Trevor Bayne and David Ragan.
 
Ford Finishing Order:
1st – Marcos Ambrose
8th – AJ Allmendinger
12th – Carl Edwards
14th – Matt Kenseth
21st – Andy Lally
28th – David Ragan
31st – Greg Biffle
33rd – David Gilliland
34th – Terry Labonte
35th – Andrew Ranger
39th – Scott Speed
42nd – J.J. Yeley
 
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – TV VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW: “I’ve sacrificed so much to get here and to finally win and be here in Victory Lane in the Cup Series is a dream come true. I flew the kids home yesterday. It was the little one’s first day at school. I was desperate to be there for her and this kind of makes up for it. I’ve just got to thank the Richard Petty Motorsports team, Stanley, DeWalt, everybody involved. Mrs. Petty is not doing so well at home. We wish her the best. This win is for her and the whole Petty family. Richard and everyone else who gave me the chance, thank you very much. Winning in the Cup Series for Stanley is just an incredible feeling and I’m very, very proud.” YOU QUALIFY FOR THE $3 MILLION SPRINT BONUS AT ATLANTA NOW. “I’ll win a million bucks for anyone. I don’t care. I just want to get to Victory Lane again. It just feels great right now. It’s just a dream come true. The fans out there who have supported Richard Petty and this whole team through the turmoil last year, I can’t thank them enough. We’re gonna go onward and upward from here. It’s a proud day. No one realizes how much everybody puts in to try to get to Victory Lane and when it actually happens it’s almost a surreal moment.” RADIO VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW: “It’s a dream come true. For me to drive for Richard Petty in the first place is an unbelievable opportunity and to get into Victory Lane is just incredible. Mrs. Petty is not doing so well at home. She’s having a tough time of it right now. This win is for her and the whole family. To Stanley, DeWalt, thank you so much for giving me the chance. They plucked me out of obscurity almost. I was just trying hard to win races and to get to Victory Lane with my Stanley boys behind me, what a dream come true.” WHAT ABOUT THE FINAL RESTART. WHAT HAPPENED? “I was trying to pass the 18 before the caution came out and really used my stuff up, so I was happy when the caution came out. I didn’t want to start on the outside, so I actually gave up the start trying to get to the inside, but when I realized that wasn’t gonna work, I just turned up into turn one and tried to make something happen. I spoke to Brad Keselowski last night. We had a chat for about a half-hour just shooting the breeze and talking about how hard it is to get to Victory Lane and there I was racing him for the win. I’m pleased we did it clean, but I was gonna get to Victory Lane. I wasn’t gonna let that 2 beat me to the checkered flag.” WHERE DID YOU HAVE THOSE GUYS BEAT?  “We just had a really good combination of balance. We didn’t have any exceptional spots on the race track, we just had even balance across the whole circuit. I was able to look after the rear tires, but it’s tough out there, it really is. It’s a real fight to the death and I’m just so proud to be here in Victory Lane with my Stanley team. I’ve sacrificed so much to be here. My little daughter started school today, so I didn’t get to take her to school. I might be able to pick her up with a big check.”
 
AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion – “It’s great to see Marcos in Victory Lane and it’s great for the team. I’m happy for those guys.” THE INCIDENT WITH KURT RUINED YOUR DAY DIDN’T IT? “Yeah. He was a lap down. I know what he’s trying to do, trying to get back on the lead lap, but I’m just proud of my guys and proud of the way we fought back all day. We had great pit stops. The car was fast. I love working with Greg, and I’m happy we got a win for the team.”
 
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Scotts Ortho Ford Fusion – “I didn’t get to see all of the finish. I saw some of it on the big screen when I was pulling in. I hope everybody is all right. There was a little bit of rain coming, a green-white-checker at a place like this, you knew it was gonna be dramatic so I hope everybody is all right. We didn’t have the day we were looking for, but we’ll go to Michigan, the home of Ford, and we’ll take our Aflac/Ortho Fusion there and hopefully have a run like we usually have at Michigan and get another win. That would be huge.” HOW WAS IT OUT THERE? “That was wild. We just hung on all day. It’s not the day we wanted, but it could have been a lot worse. Our Ortho Fusion was OK. There were spots on the track it was bad, but Marcos did a great job. I’m happy for him for getting a win in a Ford. Now we’ll go back to Michigan and hopefully get that points lead back, but, really, we need wins so maybe this will be a little kick in the behind for us to go out there and get some wins. That’s what we need.”
 
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion -- "It's just a product of close quarters racing at the end. Our UPS team had done a good job. We were going to salvage a top-20 finish I think after running out of fuel earlier in the race. I felt like I had a good run; I felt like I had Boris (Said) clear and I think he got a little better run that we did and he just hooked us. He certainly could have given a little more of a break and we all could have gotten through there and not torn up anything. But he was aggressive and we were all aggressive. He hooked me and I hit hard." ARE YOU OKAY? "Yeah, I'm okay, I'm sore. That was a hard hit. I looked down at my feet and my pedals and my leg rests were all pushed over. It's a shame that a race track we go to in 2011 doesn't have a better wall design all the way around the race track, so hopefully they'll look at that. I've been to some dirt tracks that have better walls than that. It was a hard hit, but our cars are safe. Thanks to everyone back at home that builds us safe race cars."
 
MARCOS AMBROSE PRESS CONFERENCE
 
TODD PARROTT, Crew Chief – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – “It was just an incredible day. From the time we unloaded this race car off the truck on Friday it was fast. We were the fastest car in the first practice and elected to work on our race stuff, work on the balance of our race car, and not really worry that much about setting a fast time for qualifying, but knowing that Marcos was good here and that he would be able to have a pretty good time, we weren’t really worried about it, so we really focused on the race. We worked on some more race stuff to start the second practice and then switched over to qualifying and had a great car. Then today it was crazy because you have a rain delay and you have rain coming, and you have all these scenarios and all these things that go through my head for two days. You can’t sleep from worrying if it’s gonna rain at halfway. Do we do this? Do we do that? But we had a plan coming here after we saw what our fuel mileage and that kind of stuff was on Friday, and we stuck with our guns. The rest of it, we made our pit stops, the cautions fell and everything worked out today. The big guy upstairs was looking out after us and it all worked out. I’m just happy to get the No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion team back in Victory Lane. It’s been a while for me – 2005 with Dale Jarrett – so to get Marcos his first win in the Cup Series is something very special for me that I’ll remember for a long time. For Richard Petty Motorsports and what they went through in 2010, and to come back with people who didn’t give up. We had two of the main owners here today, Doug Bergeron and Andy Murstein were here sitting on the pit box with us. I told those guys earlier in the here to just hang in there and that win would come and today we finally got it done. I’m just happy to be a part of the Richard Petty Motorsports and Ford Racing team and everything that went on today at Watkins Glen. I remember being a kid here with Rusty Wallace back in the day in that Victory Lane when it was the Bud at the Glen, so it’s a special day for me. It’s a place that I’ve never won at, so I can add this to my bucket list.”
 
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion – “It’s just a dream day. The sacrifices you make, we all make to get here – Todd and all the team, the Petty family, my family to get here – to be a contender in the Cup Series, to finally get to finally get to Victory Lane is a dream come true for me. I’ve traveled halfway around the world and dragged my kids and my wife with me. I kept telling them I was good, but until you can win in the Cup Series you can’t really put that stamp on it. I’ve tried for two-and-a-half years to get to Victory Lane and I just have to thank Todd for giving me the chance. We’re getting on great as a team. We’re all blending well. We understand each other. We’re good friend and have respect for each other and it’s very important when you get days like this because I can rely on Todd to make good judgment calls on the box and he can rely on me to go out there and do the job. It’s an awesome day. We dedicate it to Mrs. Petty. She’s having a tough time back home, but we wish her the best. We dedicate this win to her. At this time last year I didn’t know what I was gonna be doing. I didn’t know if I was gonna be in the Cup Series. I took some chances and was on the rollercoaster with the whole Petty team when it went through the changes last year, and to get them to Victory Lane is just a dream come true. On behalf of Ford, Stanley, DeWalt and all the other partners that make this 9 team run, I have to thank them. Hopefully, we can get back to Victory Lane again soon. I think this might open the box for me to get a few more. I’ve felt a lot of weight of expectation and pressure to win and sometimes that clouds judgment. I know I’ve tripped over myself once or twice trying to get to Victory Lane here in the Cup Series. It’s not that I was worried, but the word ‘choke’ was starting to creep into the back of my mind. We survived today. We fought our way back to the front. We had a late-race restart. We fought and gouged our way to the front and got the win. It’s just a dream day and I’m very thankful for the opportunity that I’ve got to be here and that I made the most of it today.”
 
RPM SAVED YOU AND YOU SAVE RPM. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? “There was a time I was sitting around the boardroom table and I was the only one there. Who knew what was gonna happen, it was completely out of my hands. Richard Petty and his team around him and with the help of Doug Bergeron and others, Andy Murstein, helped save this team. To see it pare down from four to two, get rebuilt, I think it’s helped us. I think it’s helped all of us who have been through it to have the glue. We know what we went through. We’re thankful for what we’ve got and we’re now helping rebuilt Richard Petty Motorsports back to where they want to be. There were days and weeks where I was very anxious, but you’ve got to roll the dice sometimes and be patient and turn the phone off, play golf for a while and it all worked out.” 
 
CARL EDWARDS SAID YOU COULD WIN AN F1 TITLE. ARE YOU THAT GOOD? “I’ve got no idea, but it feels pretty good to be in Victory Lane, and for Carl to say that I appreciate it. I tried to get to Formula One and didn’t make it, so if I have a chance to do it again, I might be too old. I love racing. I’m a hobby racer. I do it because I love it and I’m lucky enough to get paid. I’m a historian and I love old school racing. I love knowing about the old style race cars and the drivers from back in the day and I have a passion for the sport. I think it helps me on the race track. I’m a good student. I watch others around me and try to do better. We now need to win on the ovals. I’ve won on the road course in the Sprint Cup Series, it’s awesome, but for me now the next big challenge is Michigan coming up next week, and Bristol the week after that because I want to win badly on those. I’m trying hard to work out the missing link between myself and guys like Carl who can win on those ovals consistently. Who knows? I’m gonna keep trying. I’m totally dedicated to NASCAR. It’s what I want to do and where I want to be. It’s the best sport in the world and I’m very lucky to be doing what I’m doing. So to answer your question, I have no idea how good I am.” TODD PARROTT INTERJECTS: “He’s great.” 
 
MARCOS AMBROSE CONTINUED – BEFORE THE LAST CAUTION KYLE HAD A GAP ON YOU. WHAT DID YOU THINK? “No, I had a run at him and had a couple chances and he locked up a tire and I missed a shift and locked up my tires and got all frazzled, so I was cooling everything back down to have one more shot at him. I knew the laps were winding down, but he was struggling. He was fighting his car. I could see that he was really loose up over the esses. I was gonna have another shot at him. If I was within three or four lengths coming into the last brake zone, I was gonna go through him to try to win. When the caution came out I was actually pretty happy about it letting everything cool down and have another shot at him. On the restart, I tried to actually blend in behind him because I knew I was never gonna outbrake the 18. He was gonna just saddle up in there trying to win the race and that’s exactly what he did, but I couldn’t find a hole, so I kind of got stuck into turn one and just saddled off in there and tried to make a hole, which worked out for me. With Brad, I got through the bus stop really good and just forced the issue on him. I never touched him, I don’t think, but I got him aero-free and I was able to slide past. It was only yesterday in the motorhome lot I was talking to Brad about how hard the Cup Series is to win and he said, ‘Yeah, when you get a fifth-place car or a third-place car, you’ve got to be able to win with those days,’ and there we were, the two of us, duking it out for the victory. He’s an up-and-coming superstar and a great talent. All of those guys in the front today drove superbly and you’ve just got to take chances and today it worked out for us.”
 
YOU’RE IN THE WILD CARD HUNT NOW. ANY SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT DOING THE NATIONWIDE RACE IN MONTREAL NEXT WEEK? “We’re gonna go to Montreal to win that one too and we’re gonna go to Michigan on Sunday and try to win it. I don’t know about points, I really don’t give a hoot about it, I’ve just got to win races and today we won. It’s a new day tomorrow. It’s a new chapter for us as a team. We’ve gotten to Victory Lane. I think we’re all gonna get a bit of mojo, a bit of confidence about us and keep fighting, keep trying and you never know. We’re not out of the Chase, that’s for certain, but looking at points aren’t gonna help you. You’ve just got to go out there and try to win races.” 
 
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT NOT RUNINNG THE NNS RACE THIS WEEKEND? “Yeah, it definitely made for an anxious couple of days. I would have loved to have done the Nationwide race, but the first thing was we had to really stay dedicated to our Cup program. When we couldn’t do it right over at Richard Petty Motorsports with the Nationwide car, it was the right thing to do not to attempt the Nationwide win. It would be great to win four in a row, but it’s even better to be in Victory Lane today, and we couldn’t take away from what our ultimate objective is and that’s the Sprint Cup Series and it’s worked out. Next year, though, I want to do the Nationwide race. Whoever is listening out there, I want to do it and win two on the weekend.” 
 
WAS THIS A TYPICAL WATKINS GLEN RACE OR HAS THE INTENSITY LEVEL RISEN WITH THE WILD CARD SCENARIO? “There was some stuff going on today that created a lot of aggressive driving. I drove pretty much 100 percent the whole day and it’s not often you need to do that around this place. It’s normally the middle part of the event where you can just cool the brakes down, look after your stuff and the pace sort of settles down, but with the rain imminent and the fog imminent, the strategy all messed up with fuel strategies, you never knew who was gonna be in the lead, you had to go the whole time. About lap 45 I was struggling with brakes and we had to come into the pits and pull some tape off and that helped us, and we had to drive hard all day. Yeah, it was frantic. It was tough all day. It seemed everytime I looked in my mirror there was someone there all day, and I think it’s just the nature of this track and the weather conditions and the Chase format. Everybody is just going at it with this new point system. You know the top 10s reward you well for points and top 20s don’t get it done, so I think it’s a combination of all those things.” 
 
DO YOU SEE THAT CONTINUING? “Yeah, it’s gonna get to a frenzy here before the end I’m sure.” 
 
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE WILD CARD NOW? “The win is what you needed, no doubt. We’ve got to try and win two now. I don’t even really know the point system that well to talk about the wild card. I just know that I have to go win races and finish well in the top 10 from here to the end and that’s what I’m gonna try and do.”
 
TODD PARROTT CONTINUED – WHAT DID YOU SAY TO MARCOS WHEN EVERYTHING WAS GOING ON LATE LAST YEAR? “When we first started talking about it last year, when Elliott made his decision that he was gonna leave and where they were gonna put me and what was gonna happen, and Marcos was coming aboard, we started talking and developed a relationship toward the end of last year. Then over the winter doing some road course testing and stuff we got to spend a lot of time together and I gave him my background of where I came from. I knew what his background was and the talent that he was and just to be patient. That’s the thing about this sport, if you’re patient and you keep working hard, sooner or later you’ll be able to celebrate with all the fruits and the excitement and the good things that happen in it. He’s kept his head down and worked hard, just like our whole team has, and it’s just a pleasure to work with a guy like that.   Like you said, we get along great and I think each week the communication gets better and I’m just really looking forward to the end of the season. Hopefully, we can go out and win a couple of races. We’ve been good on the ovals. We’ve had some great runs this year and chances to win at a couple of race tracks, but I think, like Marcos said, getting this win and getting all the load off of his shoulders is gonna help him, I think, mentally, and it’ll help us as a team knowing that we can win, that we can go out here with the Kyle Buschs, and the Juan Pablo Montoyas and the Jimmie Johnsons and all the great drivers that are out here in this sport and we can win.”
 
MARCOS AMBROSE CONTINUED – ANY THOUGHTS OF GOING BACK TO AUSTRALIA LAST YEAR? “There was a period of time, I needed a change. Tad Geschekter and the Geschekter family – Jody – were great to me. There’s a lot of security over there, a good little program, but I felt stale. I’d been with them since I came to NASCAR in 2006. I just felt like I needed a change, so I took my chances and left JTG a year early on the contract and tried to make something happen with Gillett and RPMP at the time. I knew that I was in for some troubles, but I didn’t anticipate how much trouble I was gonna go through, but at that point in time too I was actually happy with any outcome. I’d stuck my neck out, as you need to do sometimes, to take a chance and if it had worked out to where I was back in Australia I was content that I tried my best and I had made the best choices that I thought I could at the time. And it’s all worked out because here I am in the Cup Series driving for the King. We’ve got a fantastic sponsor in Stanley and DeWalt and we’ve got Ford on our side as well, and we’re in Victory Lane. It’s a huge turnaround from 12 months ago and I’m very thankful. Eventually, I’m gonna get spat out of the sport. You can’t drive forever, unless your Mark Martin (laughing). I’m happy with what I’ve done. I’ve gotten to Victory Lane. I can go home knowing that I’ve won in the Sprint Cup Series and it’s a proud day for myself and my family. We make sacrifices every day to do what we do and today is my little girl’s first day at school and I wanted to take her to school, and here we are racing at Watkins Glen on a Monday. She’s probably still cranky at me, but I think it’s a good compromise to be here in Victory Lane. Families – Todd and his family and all the team – we all sacrifice to live the dream and here we are. We’re the best on the day and we’re gonna enjoy it.”
 
TODD PARROTT CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF THIS ORGANIZATION? “I think the evolution has just been the people having faith in the company. It’s a strong team. That’s a tricky question, but being there at the start when I left Robert’s and went there in 2008 and worked with Travis, and then last year working with Elliott. I was Kenseth’s crew chief the first half of the season last year and then they moved me to Elliott and I was really happy about that because I’d worked with Elliott before, and I thought that we could win, but as things went away I kind of wondered where I was gonna fit in when all of this shook out. They told me I had done a good job and they were planning on putting me with Marcos.   I knew what his history was and followed up and did a little research on him and I think he’s a great talent. To me, a guy that can run like he does on a road course with finesse that it takes is the type of driver that it takes to drive everywhere. Short tracks, intermediates, he’s got the feel for a race car like no other and he can do this everywhere he goes, so I have total faith in him and I hope he feels the same way about me. I just think the relationship and our cars and all that stuff is just gonna get better as a team – Richard Petty Motorsports. AJ had a great car today, leading the race, and ran through the grass. If he had not had his issues, I think you would have saw two of our cars up front today. I think that speaks leaps and bounds from where this company was a year ago.”
 
MARCOS AMBROSE CONTINUED – ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THE GUARD RAILS AND SAFETY STUFF AT THIS TRACK? THERE WERE SOME BIG WRECKS TODAY. “I saw the 11. I saw a flash in the mirror and was like, ‘What’s that?’ And then I looked in the right-hand mirror coming off of turn one and I saw him saddling towards the fence. That’s a brake issue. We’ve got these cars fast, big and heavy and they have to stop. The tire that Goodyear brought here was so good that it put extra stress on brake components, so I think part of it is maybe that. The track itself is a first-class facility. It’s a great race track. I think they’ve done an awesome job in some of the safety features they’ve already implemented around this place. I don’t drive around this place looking at any one spot saying, ‘Ooooh, that looks nasty to me.’ I think they’ve done great with what they’ve got. If you don’t have a guard rail off of turn two, you end up going down a bank, so that’s not good either.  I think the track itself is fine, I think we just have to keep working on safety. All of the drivers walked away. I have no complaints about this place. I think it’s a safe race track. We’re just driving these cars flat-out and it creates problems. I think all the accidents today were mechanical issues, mostly, apart from maybe the last one. I didn’t see any of them, so I’ll have to look at the TV when I go back, but cut tires and failing brakes, that’s pretty much what started it. But I think the track is a classic road racing circuit. You don’t want to make it too sterile. You’ve got to have bumps and lumps and change of camber and roughness and all that kind of stuff that makes it what it is.” 
 
WHAT IS IT ABOUT BORIS SAID AND THE WAY HE DRIVES THAT SEEMS TO AGGRAVATE PEOPLE? “Boris is a great driver, no doubt, and he does great in any car he drives, but he’s coming in once a year and we’re running a season. It’s intense racing. We’re all running on the edge and we’re fine-tuned, and you get another character in and you don’t quite know how to predict what he’s gonna do or what move he’s gonna make. I haven’t seen anything wrong with his driving, you’re just adding an extra element to the day. It’s nothing against Boris, I think it’s just the nature of this sport. We race every week against each other – the regulars – and when you get somebody that you throw in the middle of all that, it can cause friction. I wouldn’t say that Boris is a nasty driver or a dirty driver at all. He’s an aggressive driver and he’s a talented driver and he’s running in the Cup Series with everybody that’s doing it for a living. He should be commended for that. I don’t think it’s fair to pass judgment on him. I haven’t had any problems with him.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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