Ambrose OK With No Road Course In Chase
MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Marcos Ambrose is happy with NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup just as it is.
What Ambrose doesn’t like, however, is the fact he’s never qualified for NASCAR’s 10-race playoff. Since he started racing full-time in Sprint Cup in 2009, the Australian hasn’t finished higher than 18th in points.
A win in Sunday’s Toyota SaveMart 350 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway would be the third of Ambrose’s career and his first at Sonoma. It would likely punch his ticket to the win-and-you’re-in Chase.
Ambrose, one of NASCAR’s top road-course talents, said Wednesday that he’s not upset that NASCAR has no road-course race in the Chase.
“I’m not going to second guess what NASCAR are doing,” Ambrose said. “They’ve got a Chase format. They’ve built this sport up to what it is today. The idea of the Chase is to find the best driver and team for the year, and allow them to race for the championship.”
He sees it from both sides, though. Ambrose, if he made the Chase, would instantly have a better shot at the title if a road-course were added. He’s never won an oval race since making his NASCAR debut in 2006.
“There is an argument to say if you want to be the complete package, you have to be good on road courses as well,” he said. “But I’m happy with the schedule.
“Would I like to see more road races? I think the fans need to be asked that question, not the drivers. Really, our sport is about the fans and what they like to see.”
NASCAR is making a push to improve its television ratings, which have been down throughout the season compared to last year.
Weather hasn’t helped matters. The Daytona 500 in February had a record six-hour rain delay, but finished the day it began. The Food City 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March also had a lengthy delay, which caused the race – like Daytona, scheduled to finish during the day – to wrap up at night.
Delays aren’t good for ratings, but exciting finishes are. Sprint Cup’s two road courses, Sonoma and Watkins Glen Int’l in New York, have had some of the sport’s closest last-lap battles in recent years. Ambrose sped to his second career win at Watkins Glen in 2012 after out-dueling Brad Keselowski on the final lap.
It’s not out of the question to believe NASCAR could add a road course to the Chase. However, the Chase’s qualifying format and its driver field has undergone significantly greater changes than the schedule itself.
Ambrose doesn’t mind, but there is something else to consider.
“There’s always a huge crowd at Sonoma and Watkins Glen,” Ambrose said. ” They seem to get good ratings on television. There is an argument there you could have more road races in the schedule. But certainly, I’m not the one promoting that. I’ll just let NASCAR make their choices.”