Charlotte: Marcos Ambrose qualifying report

AMBROSE TO START 23RD FOR 965 KILOMETRE NIGHT IN CHARLOTTE-- Marcos Ambrose will start 23rd for his Sprint Cup debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway after a satisfactory performance for the Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, North Carolina today. Ambrose, who...

AMBROSE TO START 23RD FOR 965 KILOMETRE NIGHT IN CHARLOTTE--

Marcos Ambrose will start 23rd for his Sprint Cup debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway after a satisfactory performance for the Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, North Carolina today.

Ambrose, who lives just 15 minutes from the 1.5-mile speedway in nearby Kannapolis, steered his Kingsford entry to a midfield starting position for the Sunday night (Monday morning Australian time) race, the longest on the NASCAR schedule.

Ryan Newman won the pole position ahead of Kyle Busch and Jeff Burton.

Earlier in the day it was Mark Martin who topped first practice, with Ambrose's #47 JTG Daughtery Racing entry in a respectable 22nd position in the 47-car field.

POINTS AGAIN ON THE LINE IN CHARLOTTE --

After last week's non-points event at Lowe's Motor Speedway, 2009 Sprint Cup Series points are again on the line in the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend.

Ambrose has shown some fine form in his first full season at Sprint Cup level this year, currently sitting 20th in the points standings.

The Australian is keen to post a solid finish in Sunday's night's marathon to improve his points position.

A race of almost 1000 kilometres is not foreign to Ambrose, who competed in five Bathurst 1000 events while racing in the V8 Supercar Championship Series in his native Australia.

But one key difference -- that race sees two drivers per car. At Lowe's this weekend, the driver from Launceston, Tasmania is all on his own aboard the #47 ...

BUSY RACE WEEK IN THE HOME OF NASCAR --

Any event at Lowe's Motor Speedway always means a busy schedule for drivers and teams as the NASCAR community enjoys one of three events at the venue right in the heart of NASCAR country -- Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ambrose joined Michael Waltrip, David Reutimann, Michael McDowell and Scott Speed in signing autographs and meeting fans at the Michael Waltrip Racing headquarters in Cornelius, North Carolina mid-week, as well as making time to race his crew chief Frank Kerr at zMax Dragway adjacent to Lowe's Motor Speedway for SPEED TV's Pass Time program.

You will have to wait until September to watch SPEED and see who won ... but remember, 'Frankie' is a former Sprintcar legend, so it was certainly no mismatch!

WHAT MARCOS HAS TO SAY:

On Qualifying ...

"It's really tough and we had a tough practice," said Ambrose.

"We picked up a lot of speed between practice and qualifying - and we have to be happy with that.

"We got a bad (qualifying) draw, but that's just the way it goes. We've got a great car and really looking forward to the race and we'll start in the front half.

"I'll be working on trying to find a good balance. We're pleased with it. It was decent. That's all that we can ask for.

"We've been up and down, a bit. It's hard to really pinpoint it, but I think these tyres are very susceptible to heat on the track and this track is very heat sensitive anyway. It's going to be a tough weekend."

On the race ...

"I've never driven in a race this long without sharing driving responsibilities," said Ambrose.

"I'm looking forward to racing into the night there.

"The Showdown last weekend was a good practice session for us and we learned some things that will help us in the Coca-Cola 600.

"We're actually bringing a different Kingsford car with a different setup for this race. It's the car we raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season.

"Lowe's Motor Speedway really suits my style. It's just a great place to race and I learned a lot last weekend. I feel like we made some progress. We've just got to get into a groove there."

AND A WORD FROM #47 CREW CHIEF FRANK KERR:

"We figured we wouldn't bring that car back from the Showdown without some damage so we planned to run a different car for the Coca-Cola 600," said Kerr.

"We missed the set-up a little in the Showdown, but we feel like we're dialled in with this car that we're bringing."

-credit: ma/bam

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Michael Waltrip , Ryan Newman , Marcos Ambrose , Scott Speed , David Reutimann , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing