On to business then. As the season is now 50% done, Ambrose has the following stats; 2 top fives, 5 top tens, 18th in the points and still ahead of past race winners McMurray, Harvick, Truex Jr and Earnhardt Jr...not bad for a bloke who is a rookie in all but the Raybestos eyes. Had things gone differently at Infineon, Marcos may very well have walked away with the win and had his team decided to 'do a Rueti' and gamble more, he may have even pipped Joey Logano to the line a week later at Loudon.
But neither happened. Ambrose had to make his way from the back at the first road course of the year and opted for the safety of a fuel stop at Loudon so his win column still remains blank...but for how much longer?
The Australian has been the surprise of the year, surpassing his semi-teammate, David Reutimann, as he continues to punch well above his weight, particularly on the tracks I fully expected him to struggle at. His top tens include places like Bristol, Daytona and Talladega...he never showed that kind of performance in the Trucks or Nationwide series but it seems he was either bluffing or the Cup car suits his driving style. I think the latter given the resemblence between the 2009 Cup car and the 2005 V8 Supercar (his last year before heading Stateside).
After Richmond, his crew chief believed Marcos could win on an oval before a road course. Now I had my doubts about that, even after his 4th place at Talladega at that time, but now I just don't know. The only tracks he seems to be struggling with are the 2 mile ones but I am having a tough time thinking of many left in the season (Fontana has one as does Michigan but is that it?) so that leaves him a good dozen places in which to spring a...well, it probably wouldn't be a surprise anymore as Marcos has shown he does belong in the highest level of the sport. Even his pitcrew have picked up their performance as was evidenced at Pocono, Sonoma and Daytona.
For what's it's worth, I still believe Watkins Glen will provide him his best shot at a win but Pocono is before that and who knows what can happen at that track...but overall, I'd rate JTG Daugherty's first half of 2009 a solid B+, pushing into an A- at times.