AMBROSE MOVES UP TO TOP DIVISION OF NASCAR FOR 12 RACES IN LITTLE DEBBIE FORD Marcos Ambrose has today been confirmed as the driver of the Little Debbie Ford Fusion for 12 races in next year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the top division of ...
AMBROSE MOVES UP TO TOP DIVISION OF NASCAR FOR 12 RACES IN LITTLE DEBBIE FORD
Marcos Ambrose has today been confirmed as the driver of the Little Debbie Ford Fusion for 12 races in next year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the top division of NASCAR.
The Australian will also become the new pitchman for all of the Little Debbie® snack cake brands as well as appearing in all 'point of sale' materials and related items.
Ambrose, 31, is scheduled to make his first NASCAR Sprint Cup (formerly NASCAR Nextel Cup) appearance at the Infineon Raceway road course in Sonoma, California on June 22.
The announcement coincides with Wood Brothers Racing and JTG Racing re-signing with McKee Foods and its Little Debbie Snack Cakes brand as a primary sponsor for the next two years, extending on the relationship of the past two seasons.
Little Debbie will serve as the primary sponsor for 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup events in the 2008 season and again in the 2009 season. Additional driver line-ups for the remaining six Little Debbie events will be announced at a later date, as will other sponsor/driver combinations for 2008.
Ambrose will continue to drive the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series (formerly NASCAR Busch Series), meaning it will be a busy 2008 schedule for the former two-time Australian V8 Supercar champion, with a full 35-race program in the second-tier Nationwide Series and a current schedule of 12 races in the top-flight Sprint Cup, with the potential for more Cup appearances.
Ambrose will also become a highly visible driver as the face of Little Debbie. Since McKee Foods and its Little Debbie brand joined the NASCAR ranks as a team sponsor, the company has rolled out over 120 national and regional sales programs related to its participation with the Wood Brothers Racing and JTG Racing.
Ambrose made his NASCAR debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the 2006 season and was summarily promoted into the NASCAR Busch Series in 2007. This season Ambrose finished second in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings and eighth in the overall standings, the first non-North American driver to finish in the top 10 overall in a NASCAR championship and the first non-US driver since Canadian Earl Ross in 1974.
INTERVIEW WITH MARCOS AMBROSE
Q: IT MUST BE A GREAT FEELING TO HAVE 12 CUP RACES ON YOUR SCHEDULE FOR NEXT YEAR JUST ONE WEEK AFTER THE 2007 SEASON FINISHED IN FLORIDA?
"This Cup deal with Little Debbie is really exciting. Little Debbie is a fantastic sponsor, the sort of company that really promotes NASCAR. I've already been getting to know the McKee family and the people at Little Debbie and they're great people and I'm looking forward to representing them next season."
Q: HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GET THE CALL-UP TO CUP?
"For me to get the chance to drive in Cup is huge. I am going to give it everything I've got and do our team and all our great sponsors proud. It's just a fantastic opportunity for me. I'm not taking it for granted, I'm going to make every effort to reward the team's faith in me."
Q: YOU WILL ALSO BE HEAVILY INVOLVED IN THE MARKETING AND PROMOTION OF LITTLE DEBBIE.
"I'm looking forward to that, and I think my young daughters will enjoy that part of it as well. We already have Little Debbie cakes in our kitchen. Maybe we can produce an Australian snack cake for Little Debbie, one with Vegemite in it.
"Little Debbie is a brand that really gets behind NASCAR and it's driver and team and that sort of support and confidence really gives you a boost, it really does. When our team is putting in the long hours and we are doing everything we can to get a good result, we know that we've got a great sponsor behind us and good people as well. It's a privilege to be representing them next year."
Q: NASCAR SPRINT CUP IS AN INCREDIBLY TOUGH FIELD. WHAT IS THE INITIAL APPROACH GOING TO BE FOR YOUR FIRST FEW RACES?
"I said after Homestead on the weekend that the Busch Series is tough. Cup is another level again. But we've achieved a lot as a team this year and the work going on behind the scenes is great. I'm confident we can achieve some good things in these races.
"Yes, it's a big challenge to run against the biggest names in the sport in my third year over here, but it's what I'm here to do. I've always said that I enjoyed running in Busch races when there were a lot of Cup guys running as well because you had a benchmark and you could compare yourself to them.
"Now I've got my chance to run some races in the big league and I am going to try my very best, see how we go and learn every step of the way."
Q: WHAT DO YOU EXPECT IT IS GOING TO BE LIKE RACING AGAINST ALL THE TOP GUYS IN CUP? YOU HAVE RUN WITH A LOT OF THEM IN THE BUSCH SERIES THIS SEASON BUT NOW YOU WILL GET THE CHANCE TO RUN IN THE TOP LEVEL.
"You can't underestimate those guys that run at the front in Cup week in, week out. They set the bar very high and when you come into it you have to learn the ropes and keep your head down and work hard.
"I enjoyed racing against the Cup guys in Busch and a lot of times this year I was in a position where I could race them hard, very hard but clean, and it was great experience."
MARCOS AMBROSE -- COMMENT ON 2008 NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES
"It's full steam ahead for us for next season with the #59 Kingsford car in the Nationwide Series," said Ambrose.
"This year was our rookie year, we learned a lot and grew as a team. I'm proud of all the work our guys put in this year and they all deserve to be pleased.
"Kingsford and all of our sponsors on the 59 have been great this year and next year is set to be even better.
"We have worked hard and have big plans for next season. This year we developed as a group and now we are putting things in place to take the next step and be in a position to win races and continue to improve."
FURTHER QUOTES ON LITTLE DEBBIE ANNOUNCEMENT
Marcos Ambrose -- Driver, Little Debbie Ford Fusion
"It's a great day for Wood Brothers Racing and JTG Racing as a whole," said Ambrose.
"Any time you can continue to market a successful relationship going forward, we're doing something beneficial.
"For me to have a part in all of this in 2008 and realise my goal to get to the top level of North American motorsports is nothing short of a dream come true. 2008 will be my third straight year of competition and I've been fortunate enough to get the promotions to the top level.
"I want nothing more than to make their relationship with us stronger, both on the race track with our results and in the stores with their increased sales. I have no doubt that we'll continue to elevate their stature in the partnership game that is NASCAR."
Chris McKee -- Vice-President of Sales & Marketing of McKee Foods
"At McKee Foods, we've seen over the last two seasons that sponsoring a Nextel Cup car works for our brand and our customers," said McKee.
"We look forward to working with Marcos Ambrose as he takes over the wheel of the Little Debbie car."
Eddie Wood -- Wood Brothers Racing Team Owner
"We're very proud that we've been able to not only re-sign McKee Food's Little Debbie brand on our No. 21 car, but that this represents the first multi-year deal of the relationship with these fine folks," said Wood.
"We believe that our family values background matches very well with theirs and we approach our goals for success in a similar fashion. It now falls on our shoulders to put the best effort going forward to represent one of the most famous brand names in America today. And we intend to do it to the utmost of our abilities."
-credit: team australia