A MULTI-CAR pile-up on the final lap has cost Launceston's Marcos Ambrose a chance of victory at the Talladega 500 NASCAR race in Alabama.
After leading during the middle portion of the 188-lap race, Ambrose was well placed to vie for a podium finish as drivers jostled for position in the closing stages.
However, in a frantic finish, the 36-year-old Ford Fusion pilot became entangled with a number of other cars after Chevrolet driver Tony Stewart slid off the track.
NASCAR officials eventually awarded Ambrose with a finish in 27th position after only three of the 43 cars were able to drive cleanly over the finish line.
Fellow Ford driver Matt Kenseth was credited with the race victory, while Ambrose retained 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
``We were there at the end,'' said Ambrose, who was forced to re-fuel with five laps to go after another crash caused by Jamie McMurray.
``We had a strong day. We decided we were going to run aggressive all day and try to stay up at the front, and we did that.
``We had ourselves in position to get a top-five and just got tagged there at the end.
``I thought I missed the wreck, but looking back at these kind of races at least I didn't cause it.