I reckon every driver must have that nightmare; to have thoroughly dominated a race, only to have to taken away in the blink of an eye. It happened to Denny Hamlin at Richmond last year, it happened to Felipe Massa at Hungary last year, it happened to Juan Montoya at Indy a few weeks ago...it's a never-ending list for sure.
But I'm not as sure if it's happened to one driver at one track for three straight years...until yesterday at any rate.
It's safe to say that Montreal and Marcos Ambrose have a somewhat love-hate relationship as the track appears to fit Ambrose's driving style like a glove. When the, then Busch series, came to play in F1's sandbox in 2007, it was the rookie who looked set to take the win. When the, now Nationwide series, made history by racing in the rain for the first time, it was the sophomore who looked set to take the win. And just when it looked like Marcos would finally get redemption, we saw that lightning doesn't just strike twice, it does it three times.
It started so well with Marcos scoring his second career Nationwide pole.
I don't think anyone can say that Carl Edwards didn't deserve to win yesterday. For sure, he was close enough to make Marcos protect the inside line and that could only happen if he was close enough to make him do that in the first place (ahh, good old circular reasoning...have to love it at times *laugh*). However, I also don't think that anyone would say Marcos Ambrose deserved to not win yesterday.
He was sublime in the wet qualifying session on Saturday, being over a second faster than Carl who started alongside him for this race. He was equally good on every single restart, whether he was the guy who had to pick when to nail the throttle pedal or when he was making his way up the field after pitstops. And he was incredible to watch during the green flag laps, regardless if they were dry or wet, often leaping out to a lead that very few were able to reel back in.
I must say that seeing Carl closing on Ambrose in the final two laps, I was concerned. As good as Marcos is on any road course, he seems to be slower than most drivers at the apex of turns when you have to brake heavily. Once beyond that point though, there are very few areas where anyone can touch him...but, as any driver can attest to, it only takes a tiny slip on corner exit to lose momentum down a straight, and Marcos did appear to lose out a liitle most of the day off the hairpin. Not that it mattered as he had built up a comfortable enough lead through the rest of the lap to keep everyone behind him.
Until lap 76 anyway.
I don't confess to being a race technician so I don't know exactly how much work the #47 team did in comparison to the #60 team when changing over to a wet setup, but I do know that the more a car is changed for the rain, the worse it is to drive when it isn't raining. So maybe Carl had the benefit of a slightly better car in the conditions we had at race's end? Whatever the case, he managed to force Ambrose to make his one and only mistake all day and, yet again, a win at Montreal slipped through those Tasmanian fingers.
Unfortunately for Ambrose, this wasn't the order they finished in.Marcos summed it up like this: “I'm jinxed around this joint, I'll tell you now. I mean, we had 15,000 restarts and got away with them all. I feel pretty devastated because I’ve let my boys down and we came here to win and anything less than that was a disappointment.”
While that could be considered a little harsh given the clinic he put on all race, you can't argue the devastation he was feeling. But isn't that why we watch the theatre that is motorsport, to see how the story plays out? Sometimes the guy with the best car wins, other times he doesn't.
That is a part of racing...it always has been and it always will be.
So, kudos to Carl Edwards for doing what so many must have thought was the impossible yesterday; snatching victory from the jaws of defeat...he better have bought Marcos a Molson last night. Although, given how stunned and numb I was, maybe the Aussie wouldn't have felt it anyway.