Australian Marcos Ambrose has enjoyed his strongest finish of the Chase with 11th place in the Checkers O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 in Phoenix this morning.
Ambrose was chasing down Jeff Gordon for ninth place in the final third of the race, but his enthusiasm saw him wear his rear tyres and allow friend and MWR stable-mate David Reutimann to pass for 10th place in the closing stages.
It’s the best finish for Ambrose since he ran third at Bristol in August and another strong pointer to 2010, where Little Debbie recently recommitted to title sponsorship for Ambrose and JTG Daugherty Racing for nine races next season.
“Not bad,” said Ambrose in reference to his finish.
“There’s nothing worse than finishing 11th because we had a good car and we just burnt the right rear off there on the last run trying to stay in front of Jeff Gordon.
“It was just a strong day …. we ran great at Texas and we ran well today, so we’re really excited for our future.
“We had a strong day, just not quite enough there at the end. I’m really proud of my guys and really proud of where we’re going and I’m excited. I think 2010 is going to be a great year.”
Ambrose has his sights set firmly on the 2010 season after a strong first season at Sprint Cup level.
“Our team is learning, we’re growing and we’re getting better and better. We’re going to be a contender next year and that’s really exciting for us.”
The Aussie also admitted that he is tiring as he nears the end of the 2009 schedule, which concludes at next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Ambrose will run in his 36th and final Sprint Cup points race of the season in the Ford 400 in Florida this weekend, having also run in two Nationwide races, two non-points Cup races and an ill-fated attempt on the Grand-Am race in Montreal in 2009.
“I’m looking forward to the break,” said Ambrose.
“You need time to reflect on the season and get your body and your head back in shape for the following year and I need it.
“I’m getting really tired. My family is back in Australia right now, so I’m excited to see them and hopefully I’ve only got seven or eight days until I get to see them.”
Ambrose continues to be the highest placed first year driver in the Sprint Cup Series, 67 points ahead of Joey Logano entering the Homestead finale.