Daytona II: JTG Racing, Ambrose preview

Ambrose Prepared to Take Chances in Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Marcos Ambrose made history at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener when he became the first Australian driver to compete in Daytona...

Ambrose Prepared to Take Chances in Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

Marcos Ambrose made history at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener when he became the first Australian driver to compete in Daytona 500.

Now, the 32-year-old returns to the 2.5-mile tri-oval in the No. 47 Kingsford Charcoal Toyota well-versed looking to supersede his fourth-place finish in his latest superspeedway experience at Talladega Superspeedway.

"It was just a dream to compete in the Daytona 500 and now we're returning with some Cup experience for the Coke Zero 400," Ambrose said. "This is why my family moved here from Australia - to be a competitor at this level. Luckily, it has been an easy transition and we've been welcomed by NASCAR and fans. It's just a dream come true for us."

The 32-year-old went on to earn a respectable 17th-place finish in his first superspeedway experience behind the wheel of the No. 47 Toyota at Daytona.

"We had a respectable finish," Ambrose said. "You really want to excel at Daytona because the place has a special feel and a lot of prestige. This weekend with our Kingsford Charcoal Toyota, we will focus on handling because it is going to be a handling race. A good handling car will win this race.

"Daytona is random and it is going to be difficult for the drivers," Ambrose continued."It's going to be hot, the track is going to be slick and the speeds are going to be high. The cars are not going to handle well. The night races make it a bit crazy anyway. There is going to be a lot of fireworks."

Ambrose has been counting down the days until Daytona's Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola that takes place on the Fourth of July.

"You look at the calendar and you know Daytona is coming up," Ambrose said. "You just don't know what you are going to get because you may have an awesome day or your day may end on Lap 3," Ambrose said. "I would say I'm excited about going back, but maybe apprehensive. We hope we can make it to the finish."

To record a respectable finish, Ambrose knows he will have to take chances. Fortunately, the JTG-Daugherty Racing driver, can turn to two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip if he needs a bit of advice. In addition to Waltrip winning The Great American Race in 2003 and 2001, he won the July event in 2002.

"I know that I'm going to have to be more aggressive and take more chances," Ambrose said. "Luckily, Michael is very good on these restrictor plate races. The funny thing is that I can't keep up with him. We were hanging out in the back for the Daytona 500 and I said to myself when he goes in, I'm going to follow him and off he went. All of the sudden, I look up and he was 15 spots ahead of me. I can't do that. There's no way I can follow him in there like that. Near the end, I was starting to get the hang of it. Some guys just have a feel for the race car that others don't have. The way Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives through the pack and gets to the front is beautiful to watch. It's a unique style of racing and not everybody likes it. Hopefully, the dramas of plate racing will go in my favor this weekend."

-credit: jtgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Michael Waltrip , Marcos Ambrose