Chicagoland: JTG Racing, Ambrose preview

AMBROSE TAKING IT ALL IN AS NASCAR HEADS TO CHICAGOLAND Sometimes we are all too busy to take a moment to look around, smell the flowers and notice that the sun still rises and sets especially when traveling every week on the NASCAR Sprint Cup...

AMBROSE TAKING IT ALL IN AS NASCAR HEADS TO CHICAGOLAND

Sometimes we are all too busy to take a moment to look around, smell the flowers and notice that the sun still rises and sets especially when traveling every week on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit. There's one thing for certain, Marcos Ambrose takes the time to take it all in and remember the finer things in life like spending time with his family.

On Sunday, Marcos Ambrose departed Daytona International Speedway with a strong sixth-place finish and headed up the Eastern seaboard to explore Hilton Head Island (S.C.) with his wife Sonja and his two daughters Tabitha and Adelaide. A little down time before racing at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend is just what the Australian ordered after all the fireworks Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway in the Coke Zero 400.

"I had the family in Hilton Head for a day and a half just to enjoy the sun and beach," Ambrose said. "We left Daytona on Sunday and drove up to the area because it's halfway between Daytona Beach and Charlotte. It was my first visit and it was just great. We had the girls with us. I have athree and a halfanda one-year-old. It was nice to just relax after a crazy night Saturday at Daytona.

"I had the benefit of being behind Matt Kenseth in the Kingsford Charcoal Toyota that evening so I really couldn't see what was going on with Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart," continued Ambrose. "There was a lot of smoke. I turned left to get out of there and kept the hammer down to get to the finish line. The last few restrictor races, the finishes have been crazy. Everyone is pushing to the limit and we are all bump drafting. We are all aggressive at the end of those races and we are all taking chances. I'm just thankful Kyle was okay because he took a few nasty hits. Fortunately, we were able to come away unharmed and have a great finish. Now, we're really looking forward to Chicagoland this weekend and keeping our momentum going."

Entering Chicagoland Speedway, Ambrose has two top-five and five top-10 finishes and he currently sits 18th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points standings after 18 starts this season with JTG-Daugherty Racing. Ambrose is 218 points out of 12th-place with eight races remaining in the Race to the Chase that began at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"We're 18th in points and we've closed some of the gap on the top-12 in the championship standings," Ambrose said. "We're really not focused on it, but at the same time I think it's in the back of all of our minds. If we have some great runs during the Race to the Chase, you never know. We are still in some contention for it. We're in pretty high-esteemed company and we don't expect to be in the top-12, but at the same time we don't want to blow any opportunities that come our way."

Soon, the driver with the yellow stripe on his No. 47 Kingsford Charcoal Toyota bumper will be returning to tracks for a second time. Essentially, all the tracks remaining that make up The Race to the Chase, Ambrose has Cup experience, except Chicagoland. Some examples include Pocono Raceway where he finished sixth in June and then there's Watkins Glen International where he finished third last year. Then at Bristol Motor Speedway in March, he kept the leader in sight as he was a mainstay in the top-five until mechanical problems caused him to slip to 10th-place. Also, Ambrose finished 11th in March at Richmond International Raceway where The Chase for the Cup will be determined.

"I don't know yet about Chicagoland, but we will find out," Ambrose said. "I haven't got many memories of it to be honest. I know the back straight is a bit funny it seems to have a curve all the way around. I'm just thrilled about how we are running. We haven't raced at a 1.5-mile track for a while. We're looking forward to being competitive because we feel like we missed our chance at CharlottehLowe's Motor Speedway) to show what we really have. I feel confident we have learned a lot and we may surprise some people. The guys back at the shop have done a great job in preparing the cars and giving the feedback we need to have a better program on the 1.5-mile tracks."

Live coverage of the LifeLock.com 400 on TNT will air live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Sirius XM Satellite and MRN Radio will also carry the event.

-credit: JTG-Daugherty Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Marcos Ambrose , Kyle Busch