NASCAR »

Blown engine sends Ambrose to rear of field

Saturday practices are supposed to give teams opportunities to fine-tune their cars for Sunday's race, but for Marcos Ambrose, the first session at Infineon Raceway brought an unwelcome calamity.

Ambrose, who qualified third Friday, was leading practice and working on enhancements to his car's handling when the engine in his #47 Toyota exploded 25 minutes into the session. Forced to change engines, Ambrose must start from the rear of the field in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350.

"It blew up pretty good," Ambrose said ruefully.

Though Ambrose knows that starting from the back will substantially diminish his chances of winning his first Sprint Cup race, he was philosophical.

"I came from dead last at Watkins Glen (last year) to finish third, so it can be done," Ambrose said. "We'll have to make some gambles on fuel strategy to get up there.

"There was no warning - the motor just blew. Everything was fine and then it just blew up. It was perfect up until then. We had good horsepower, and we have been dominant all weekend. This puts us in the back, but we have a never-give-up attitude. We'll have to have a different strategy and setup for Sunday.

"We know we still have a great chance to win. We may have to put a fender to some to get there, but you have to pick your moments.

"Everyone you run into, you have to expect them to get you back."

Ambrose's words proved to be prophetic - on Saturday. After his team changed the engine, the Australian driver returned to the track for two laps in final practice and got into the back of Jimmie Johnson's #48 Chevrolet entering turn eleven on the second of his two laps. The cars made contact twice, tearing the bumper cover of Johnson's car from the junction with the left rear quarter panel.

"It was my fault - the second lap on the track and I'm just trying to get a lap time on the board to see what we could do," Ambrose said. "I outbraked myself a little bit, bumped Jimmie and he just aborted the lap and couldn't get going. I just thought that he was going to move on, and I ran into him again.

"You know, I don't want to knock into Jimmie Johnson. He's a three-time champion. He's owns the racetrack - I'm just borrowing it off him from time to time. I'll go and talk to him this afternoon, make sure things are all right, make sure he knows that I didn't mean to bump into him."

The damage to Johnson's Chevy was superficial and will not force him to a backup car. Johnson attended a team debriefing session after practice and was not available for comment.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Marcos Ambrose [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 as Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage (L) and John Godwin of Duck Commander (R) look on at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.