Ambrose pleased and surprised by fast Busch start

Marcos Ambrose thought he could do well in his Busch Series rookie season. In the top five after four races, he's beating his expectations, writes Rupen Fofaria.

Updated: March 15, 2007, 2:24 PM ET
By Rupen Fofaria | Special to ESPN.com

Marcos Ambrose has exploded onto the Busch scene, so he's not afraid to admit that getting off to his hot start was a goal -- but not an expectation.

On the strength of two top-10s in four races, though, the rookie from Australia is fifth in the standings.

"To be in top 10 in the points at this stage was something for us to aim for at the start of the season, so to be in the top 10 is a great effort by this team and everyone involved," he said. "To be in the top five is incredible."

Ambrose has no trouble pinpointing the reason for the team's success. Hard work, smart racing and a little luck.

"We're finishing races and getting to the end of these races with a good race car," he said. "That's the key because to have a chance at getting a good result you've got to be there at the end."

Edwards unsated
Carl Edwards leads the points standings, but as the Cup regular heads to Atlanta with the Busch Series he's looking to step up his game. Edwards has a strong connection to Atlanta, having won his first Busch and Nextel Cup races there.

"We have posted a couple great points days, but it's time to step it up," he said. "I feel like Atlanta is the place."

Wood preparing for next step
Jon Wood, heir to the Wood Brothers Racing ride, is working his way up the ranks in the Busch Series. He views this Saturday as a test to monitor his improvement. The qualifying field includes 25 Nextel Cup regulars.

"There's been a lot said about the number of Cup drivers racing in the Busch Series," Wood said. "To me, it's a way to learn. If you can run with the best and beat them, it makes you and your entire race team better. If you approach it as a challenge the way our Armor All team does, I believe you benefit from the experience."

Busted
Mike Boerschinger, crew chief of the No. 87 Chevrolet driven by Joe Nemechek and Shane Wilson, crew chief of the No. 21 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, were each fined $1,000 for having jacking bolts which were not made of solid magnetic steel last weekend at Las Vegas.

In Parsons' honor
Benny Parsons was scheduled to serve as grand marshal for Saturday's race. As the sport continues to cope with his passing, the Parsons family has been named grand marshal. Parsons' brother, Phil Parsons, will represent the family at the race serving as grand marshal.

Rupen Fofaria has covered NASCAR for ESPN.com since 2002. He can be reached at rupenisracin@yahoo.com.