NATIONWIDE Zippo 200Final
Ambrose wins Zippo 200 at Watkins GlenAug 10, 2008 - 5:08 AM WATKINS GLEN, New York (Ticker) -- Marcos Ambrose does not believe in the sophomore jinx.
In his second year on the circuit, Ambrose posted the first win of his career Saturday, capturing the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International.
The runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award last season, Ambrose became the third first-time series winner in 2008. In a Ford, the Tasmanian finished 4.335 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch, circling the 2.45-mile track at an average speed of 113.531 miles per hour.
"It just feels so good to get it off my back," Ambrose said of his initial victory. "We've come so close many times. Today was just our day.
"We finished second in Mexico and third in Montreal. I feel like I've been trying so hard to win, I've been tripping over myself. ... It's a huge load off my shoulders."
Ambrose, who was making his 24th start this season and 59th career, led just five of the race's 82 laps. He was in third place with 12 laps remaining, but both Jeff Burton and Jimmie Johnson were forced to make late pit stops for fuel, allowing Ambrose to cruise into the lead.
"We didn't luck out," said Ambrose, who started 12th. "We deserved this win. This is a big relief for everyone in this room. ... We're a team that's been moving forward, but we needed this win to justify it."
With the victory, Ambrose climbed into 10th place in the points standings.
Burton finished 14th in a Chevrolet after leading 25 laps, while Johnson - who led the pack for 17 laps - was 29th in a Chevy.
Matt Kenseth was third in a Ford, recording his third top-five finish of the season. Kevin Harvick, last year's champion, was fourth in a Chevrolet, while pole-sitter Dario Franchitti rounded out the top five in a Dodge.
Points leader Clint Bowyer finished 23rd in a Chevy.