Daytona 500: JTG-Daugherty Racing, Ambrose preview

Ambrose Counts Down To First Daytona 500 with No. 47 Little Debbie® JTG-Daugherty Racing Team DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 7, 2009) - Marcos Ambrose is counting down the days until the 51st running of the Daytona 500. It's the first time in ...

Ambrose Counts Down To First Daytona 500 with No. 47 Little Debbie® JTG-Daugherty Racing Team

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 7, 2009) - Marcos Ambrose is counting down the days until the 51st running of the Daytona 500. It's the first time in his career that he will be running the prestigious race behind the wheel of the No. 47 Little Debbie® Toyota for JTG-Daugherty Racing.

To be the first Australian driver to ever compete in the 200-lap event is quite an honor for the 32-year-old from Launceston, Tasmania and he is savoring every moment.

"I have to pinch myself every day because it is the biggest race there is," Ambrose said. "I'm really looking forward to my first Daytona 500 because it is huge for me personally to be able to experience firsthand. For years, I have read about the race in magazines while living in Australia and it intrigued me. I want to be able to finish it and finish well for Little Debbie® and all of our sponsors. I'm proud to have them on board for my first Daytona 500."

Ambrose admits that he never thought he would have the opportunity to be a competitor in The Great American Race.

"I'm just lucky to be here and I have always respected the Series, drivers and the teams," Ambrose said. "I never thought I'd be a driver or be talking about the Daytona 500 with my background and where I'm from. I just loved racing growing up and had a passion for it and I was just very competitive in general. I never dreamed that I would be racing, or coming into NASCAR. I'm grateful to Little Debbie®, Kingsford® Charcoal, Clorox® Bleach and Cleaning Products, Bush's Best® Baked Beans, and JTG-Daugherty for making it possible."

As luck would have it, Ambrose and his JTG-Daugherty Racing team is one of 35 teams locked into the race thanks in part to forming a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing in October.

"JTG-Daugherty is still new to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level and we are very fortunate to be a guaranteed starter," Ambrose said. "Being locked into the first five races is really going to really help set the stage for us. Luckily, things fell into place thanks to receiving help from Michael Waltrip Racing.

"At the end of last season, we were outside the top-35 by only 13 points, but with the merger of two teams and that organization not fielding as many cars, it moved us up," Ambrose continued. "Now, we are definitely going to start the first five races and that changes things up completely. I wouldn't give that feeling of trying to qualify a car to my worst enemy."

The Daytona 500 - first hosted by Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 1959 - intrigued Ambrose while he made a racing career for himself in Australia. Then in 2006, the two-time V8 Supercar Champion (2003 and 2004) traveled around the globe to join the NASCAR ranks. His experience in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series has led him to the most prestigious race in the world to vie for the coveted Harley J. Earl trophy.

"Daytona International Speedway has so much history and you can feel it when you drive into that place," Ambrose said. "I had no idea what it was all about until I had experienced it and seen the place first hand. Years ago, I didn't know what this style of racing was all about and how great it really is and how this place really does have something special about it. I mean, when you turn up here and you look at the banking, it is a special place."

Ambrose competed in 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in 2008 earning his career-best finish of third-place at Watkins Glen International. That same weekend, Ambrose won his first NASCAR race in the Nationwide Series event for JTG-Daugherty Racing. Now, the Australian driver is focused on winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race as he competes full-time this season in the No. 47 Toyota Camry with support from Little Debbie®, Kingsford® Charcoal, Clorox® Bleach and Cleaning Products, and Bush's Best® Baked Beans.

-credit: mwr/jtg

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Marcos Ambrose
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing