Marcos Ambrose’s Richard Petty Motorsports Ford will return to Black and Decker corporate hues as the Australian’s quest to qualify for the Chase continues at Michigan this weekend.
Ambrose moved into 16th in the points following his fighting second behind former team-mate AJ Allmendinger at Watkins Glen last weekend.
Missing out on the win at the road course was, however, a major blow to his hopes of making the Chase.
While 16 Chase places will be awarded this year, victories are for the first time being prioritised over the points standings.
With Ambrose’s tally of 584 points some 50 shy of the lowest placed driver current poised to make the field on championship position, the Australian’s only realistic chance of a Chase berth remains a race win.
This weekend’s event at Michigan is the fourth last round before the NASCAR playoffs begin at Chicagoland on September 14.
In 12 previous attempts at the Michigan super speedway, Ambrose has one top five finish and three top 10 results, while he also scored pole at the venue in 2012.
“We still need to win to get into ‘The Chase’ and that’s our approach,” Ambrose said ahead of Michigan.
“The points will fall into place if we run well, but we can’t really depend on that.
“We gave it everything we had at Watkins Glen, came really close but just came up a bit short. Now, we go into these next four races and do everything we can to win.
“Michigan is the next race to win, and we’re putting our focus there. We have been working to get better at the bigger tracks.
“We left Pocono with a lot better result, and I think it gives us some confidence.
“This race has always been a fuel mileage race, a track position race too. So, there are a lot of ways that we can get to the front. We have a good team, and we all want to get that win.”
Following Michigan the run to the Chase sees NASCAR move to Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond.
Statistically, Bristol stands as Ambrose’s best remaining chance at victory after establishing six top 10 finishes and three top fives at the world’s fastest half mile oval.
The below table shows Ambrose’s results at the four remaining tracks over the last five years, which pinpoints Bristol as his best chance of stealing a victory
Note: Atlanta has only been used once per season since 2011.
The current Chase line-up after AJ Allmendinger’s win at Watkins Glen