A little over three months ago, as many were prepping up for the beginning of a fresh start once again at Daytona, not many would have tipped Marcos Ambrose to be comfortably be in the top 35 at this stage of the season.
Three-and-a-half months ahead, the affable Aussie from Launceston Tasmainia has proven many of his critics wrong and in stark contrast could be battling for a position in the chase instead.
Fresh off a string of solid results, including a top five recently at Talladega, the best result on an oval for the two time V8 Supercar champion, Ambrose lies 19th in the standings, just behind seasoned regular Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ambrose driving for JTG Daugherety Racing with a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing could possibly believe he has surprised himself most more then anyone else.
The scoreboard doesn't lie, however in this case it hasn't shown the full details, engine troubles have plagued Ambrose and the No. 47 team all season long. Two engine failures, along with niggling issues throughout many races this season have frustrated both Ambrose and his team.
Ford man at blood, Ambrose joined the Toyota contingent in 2009, ending his long relationship with Ford. With performances thus far, his decision looks to have paid off.
Along with his MWR teammate David Reutimann, both drivers are in the fresh footsteps of those in contention for the chase.
Fellow teammate and team owner Michael Waltrip however, possibly in the twilight of his career has shown glimpses of brilliance, but has been unable to deliver on the scoreboard in comparison to teammates Ambrose and Reutimann.
What could surprise some most about Ambrose is that he had never even driven on an oval until he arrived in the US not much more then three-and-a-half years ago. In that short amount of time, Ambrose has formed a strong relationship with his team owner Tad Geschickter, who initially took him on with no experience on an oval.
Starting off from scratch in the Truck Series in 2006, unlike many converts. Ambrose steadily progressed his way through the ranks of NASCAR via the Trucks Series and the Nationwide Series, to eventually race full time at the highest level this year.
2009 has been a breakthrough year for the Aussie, many have talked him up for a win in one of the seasons two road courses, however with current performances anything is achievable for the Aussie.
With strong consistent performances and possibly a win thrown in along the way, Ambrose could possibly have a position in the chase on the cards for 2009.