Big bucks on the line

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Friday, Apr 25 1216

If Marcos Ambrose wins Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond, his primary sponsor, Stanley Tools, will donate $1 million to the Children’s Miracle Network through the Ace Hardware Foundation.

A second-place finish is worth $500,000 to the charity, and a third-place result will generate a $250,000 contribution. No matter where Ambrose finishes, however, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will benefit from a $100,000 pledge from Stanley and the Ace Hardware Foundation.

If you think Ambrose doesn’t have a chance to pull off the win in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series short-track race, think again. With fifth-place finishes at Bristol and Martinsville this season, the road course ace has scored more championship points at tracks shorter than a mile (79) than any other driver in the series this year.

But that, says Ambrose, doesn’t guarantee success at Richmond.

“This track races differently, because (at .75 miles) it has an aerodynamic effect to it,” he said. “We’re hoping our short-track program will cross over to here, but we know it will be slightly different, with the configuration of the track.

“We have a lot of reasons to win this weekend. We have (team owner) Richard Petty back, and it’s great to have him back at the track. We have a chance to win a million bucks for the sick kids at the Children’s Hospitals, and we have a chance to make the Chase and a chance to win my first oval race. I guess it’s all stacked up to be a lot of reasons to win, and we know it.”

Ambrose has two career Sprint Cup victories, both at the Watkins Glen International road course.