AUSTRALIAN MARCOS AMBROSE stormed through the field to secure a strong sixth place finish in the Pocono 500 round of the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Starting from 20th on the grid after qualifying was washed out, the 32-year old quickly adapted to the tri-cornered nature of the Pennsylvania-based circuit, keeping pace with the front runners despite his relative inexperience at the circuit.
Ambrose seemed headed for seventh place, but was able to sneak past reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson on the last lap.
The result marks Ambrose?s third top 10 finish of the season, and one of the best performances of his short Sprint Cup career, catapulting him into the top 20 in the driver standings.
The former V8 Supercar champion was thrilled to finish among NASCAR?s elite, saying the Pocono circuit proved a stern test of his ability.
?I was a little daunted coming here. I?m just pleased to leave here with a top 10 and we?ve helped ourselves in the points,? he said.
?It turned into a fuel mileage race in the end and that being said we had a good car all day anyway so we deserved our result today.
?I?m proud of my team and I?m really proud to get a result like that at a place like Pocono.?
Ambrose struggled in practice in the lead-up to the event, setting the 32nd and 36th fastest laps around the track, but he was able to bounce back on race day after his team adjusted the car?s set-up.
?I was actually really bad in practice and we did a lot of really hard work overnight to try and make the car better. It was just an experience fighting out there with everybody else racing side by side,? he said.
?I quickly learned where to put my car and what I should do. I?m just really proud that I adapted so fast and I?m pleased with my team. We?ve had a tough couple of weeks so it?s good to bounce back with another solid top 10 and get ourselves back in the points chase. I?m really excited about our future.?