Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ambrose finishes 14th in first Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream

ROSSBURG, Ohio (September 10, 2009) – Marcos Ambrose finished 14th out of 23 drivers that raced in the fifth annual Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream Dirt Late Model Wednesday night at the half-mile Eldora Speedway. The Australian driver started 19th in his No. 47 Kingsford® Charcoal entry and completed 30 laps to earn a top-15 finish in front of more than 23,000 fans.

Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and Eldora Speedway owner Tony Stewart won the event, which marked his third time in four years. Stewart passed Kenny Wallace on lap 13 of the 30-lap to lead the final 18 laps. Clint Bowyer finished second, Kyle Busch was third, Ryan Newman was fourth and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five. Ambrose’s teammate David Reutimann finished seventh in the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine after starting 18th.

“It was amazing to see how many fans Tony Stewart packed into Eldora and I had a blast racing in my first Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream,” Ambrose said. “All the drivers take it really seriously and everyone wants to try and do well there. You get a lot of people who tune in and buy HBO’s Pay-Per-View for the race. It raises over US$1 million for Tony's charities and this year it was supporting the army-themed charities, so it was for a great cause and I was really excited to be included in it. I hope Tony let’s me come back next year. It was just incredible. I can see why he loves the place. It's pretty select territory and you've got to get invited by one of the best drivers in the Sprint Cup Series, so it was just great to be part of it.”
Before the start of the 30-lap feature, Ambrose was able to make a few hot laps prior to lining up for his heat race. There were three heats leading up to the feature and his group included Jimmie Johnson, Robby Gordon, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Kenny Schrader, Kevin Harvick and Red Farmer.
“I got into the fence in Turn 3 there in the heat race and just damaged the lower control arm so we had to fix that and start at the back for the feature,” said Ambrose.
Once the fifth annual Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream kicked off, there were two leaders. Kenny Wallace led laps 1-12 and Stewart led the rest. There were four cautions and on Lap 13, Ambrose made a great move to save his car from a big accident ahead in Turn 3. He threw his Kingsford® Charcoal car sideways and was able to stop it from sliding into Kenny Schrader, Robby Gordon, Casey Mears and Joey Logano that crashed right in front of him.
“I just stayed out of trouble and learned a lot and had a lot of fun,” Ambrose said.

As the race continued, Ambrose began to get a good feel for racing on dirt. “By the end of the race I started to feel a lot more comfortable running up against the fence around the outside and gained a lot of speed,” Ambrose said. “It went great and I can't complain.”“It's a tough field and a lot of these guys have grown up doing this kind of racing. I felt pretty vulnerable out there in the heats and in qualifying and just didn't know where I should and shouldn't be on the race track and what I should be doing,” continued Ambrose. “By the end I was feeling pretty good about it and I'm looking forward to getting the chance to do it again.”
Ambrose went on to finish 14th and learned a great deal about his first dirt race in a Late Model.
“Well, you've pretty much got to turn right to go left and you use the throttle to steer it and the brake to turn it into the corner,” Ambrose said. “It's just a very foreign world and the more the car moves around the more in control you are. I guess it's a bit like a driving a rally car; you've got to run them sideways to really have control. So it was a blast. The cars are not easy to drive. They have over 850 horsepower and they're pretty light. It keeps you busy for the entire race.”
The 33-year-old will be just as busy Saturday night for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway. Live coverage from Richmond International Raceway begins on Saturday, September 12th on ABC at 7 p.m. ET and MRN Radio.

Results Wednesday of the Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream Dirt Late Model event September 9 at the half-mile Eldora Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (6) Tony Stewart, 30
2. (1) Clint Bowyer, 30
3. (3) Kyle Busch, 30
4. (4) Ryan Newman, 30
5. (11) Matt Kenseth, 30
6. (15) Cruz Pedregon, 30
7. (18) David Reutimann, 30
8. (9) Aric Almirola, 30
9. (8) Kasey Kahne, 30
10. (10) Jimmie Johnson, 30
11. (17) Kevin Harvick, 30
12. (12) Brian Vickers, 30
13. (23) Ron Capps, 30
14. (19) Marcos Ambrose, 30
15. (20) Casey Mears, 29
16. (22) Red Farmer, 27
17. (2) Kenny Wallace, 20, Mechanical
18. (7) Robby Gordon, 12, Accident T3
19. (14) Ken Schrader, 12, Accident T3
20. (13) Joey Logano, 12, Accident T3
21. (21) Ray Evernham, 2, Accident T1
22. (16) A.J. Allmendinger, 0, Accident T3
23. (5) Denny Hamlin, DNS, Mechanical
Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 38.978 mph
Time of race: 23:05.405
Margin of victory: 3.358 seconds
Cautions: 4 (Lap 1: Allmendinger, Accident T3; Lap 3: Evernham, Accident T1; Lap 13: Schrader, Gordon, Mears, Logano and Ambrose, Accident T3; Lap 20: Mears, Spin T2)
Lead changes: 2 among 2 drivers
Lap leaders: Wallace 1-12, Stewart 13-30
Attendance: More than 23,000
Broadcast: HBO Pay-Per-View

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