Former two-time V8 Supercar Champion, Tasmania’s Marcos Ambrose, has scored a significant personal win for himself to kick off the 2012 season. He’s finished third in the Budweiser Shootout at the famous Daytona Speedway.Ambrose is starting his fourth full-time season in the top level NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving a Ford for the famous Richard Petty Motorsports team. He’s been known for his circuit racing skills, constantly being at or near the front at the circuit events, including winning the New York State Watkins Glenn race three times in a row in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and once in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. It’s been the oval racing where Ambrose has struggled though.

He began to find some form on ovals last year and emerged as a some-time front runner on the killer bends, but his start to the 2012 season is sure to build confidence. Starting 21st out of 25 after the grid was set by a random draw, Ambrose clawed his way to the front and avoided three big smashes (despite being somewhat involved in one but able to continue), to finish in third place. The shootout is only a precursor to the proper Daytona 500 and doesn’t count towards the Championship, but it’s a good sign for the Australian to be running so far up the front on ovals at such an early stage of the season. Controversial star Kyle Busch won the race.

The Daytona 500 kicks off on February 26.