Looking for a “wild card” tonight at Bristol? Try Marcos Ambrose

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When Marcos Ambrose narrowly lost out to A.J. Allmendinger earlier this month at Watkins Glen, it appeared that he had also lost out on his best opportunity to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

But the Australian, 44 points behind 16th on the Chase Grid, may be in line for a second chance tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway.

He’ll be starting 10th tonight in the Irwin Tools Night Race, and while Ambrose has never won on NASCAR’s most infamous half-mile, Bristol is still the road racing ace’s best oval track.

He’s claimed more Top-5 finishes there than at any other Cup track outside of the Glen, where he’s won twice in his Cup career.

In 11 Bristol starts, he’s picked up three Top-5s, the most recent of which came in March with a fifth-place finish. His six Top-10s there also equal the amount of Top-10s he’s gotten at both the Glen and Sonoma, the only two road courses on the Cup calendar.

“It’s a track and race that really proves how much mettle you have as a driver,” Ambrose said of Bristol going into this weekend. “That’s played into my hands. I can really muscle the car and race with it. I just enjoy this track, the challenge and am looking forward to Saturday night.

“I feel we have a good chance. This team gave me a good car in March, and we had good strategy. We know what we need to do. Our cars have been good here. We have had decent finishes, a few Top-Five results and now just looking to get that win. If you are in it in the final 100 laps, you have a chance to win.”

Additionally, he and Richard Petty Motorsports teammate Aric Almirola – who clinched his spot in the Chase by winning a rain-shortened Coke Zero 400 in July at Daytona – have both shown strength on short tracks overall this year.

Almirola finished third in the spring at Bristol, and then later this past March at Martinsville, Ambrose earned another fifth while Almirola came home eighth.

It may take a little luck over the course of 500 laps, but Ambrose can certainly provide one more Chase surprise with three races left in the regular season. Keep an eye on him this evening.

Indy Lights: Kyle Kirkwood joins Andretti Autosport

Road to Indy
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One of the Road to Indy’s most talented young drivers will climb another step up the development system ladder this season.

Kyle Kirkwood, the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 champion, has signed a contract to race for Andretti Autosport in the 2020 Indy Lights season. Kirkwood will drive the No. 28 car for the reigning championship team.

A native of Jupiter, Florida, 21-year-old Kirkwood has been incredibly successful in junior formulas over the last few years. He won the F4 US Championship 2017 and won both the F3 Americas and USF2000 titles in 2018.

Driving for RP Motorsport Racing, Kirkwood won 9 of 16 races in his maiden Indy Pro 2000 season last year, allowing him to win his fourth championship in three years and earn the Road to Indy scholarship.

“We are very excited about the addition of Kyle to our Indy Lights program,” Andretti Autosport CEO and Chairman Michael Andretti said. “We’ve followed Kyle’s career from when he started in 2018 with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and have been impressed with his success in every race that led to his Indy Pro 2000 Championship last year. As a championship-caliber team, Kyle displays the desire and talent that we look for in our drivers and are excited to see him hit the track for the 2020 Indy Lights season.”

Kirkwood previously drove for Andretti in a two-day test session at Sebring International Raceway in December. He will make his official debut for the team in the season-opening doubleheader at St. Petersburg on March 14-15.

“I am ecstatic that I can now say I am competing in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport this season,” Kirkwood said. “They have established a winning program in Indy Lights and we plan on carrying that reputation throughout 2020.

“We are a fantastic match for each other and our Sebring test in December proved that.”

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