After overachieving in his first full season in the Cup Series, Ambrose experienced the dreaded sophomore slump in 2010. Bad luck played a factor, but eight DNFs prevented him from finding any sort of a rhythm. Ambrose finished the year with just five top-10 finishes and a 22.6 average finish. He fell from 18th in points in 2009 to 26th last year.
Fortunately for Ambrose, there are plenty of reasons to expect a turnaround in 2011. For one, the odds of him posting eight DNFs again are extremely low. More importantly, after two seasons with JTG Daugherty Racing, Ambrose will join Richard Petty Motorsports and drive the No. 9 car this season. The move will put Ambrose behind the wheel of the best equipment he has had since joining the Cup Series.
Joining RPM could be just what Ambrose needs to get to the next level. His biggest weakness has continued to be the larger intermediate ovals. Coincidentally, RPM drivers have excelled at these types of tracks. If this success translates to Ambrose, he should crack the top 20 in the points standings in 2011.
At worst, Ambrose is an excellent piece to any fantasy team because of his versatility. He is an elite road course option, and he has been a top-15 driver at short tracks. Although it is safer to keep expectations at a minimum, he has the potential to be a steal in fantasy drafts if the move to RPM has an immediate impact. Either way, Ambrose has fantasy value in any format, and he should be in for a bounce-back year.
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