Phoenix: JTG Racing, Ambrose preview

AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 16, 2009) -- Marcos Ambrose said if his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career ended today and he was sent home to Australia, at least he has grown as a person and as a driver. His time with NASCAR has been a once-in-a-lifetime ...

AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 16, 2009) -- Marcos Ambrose said if his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career ended today and he was sent home to Australia, at least he has grown as a person and as a driver. His time with NASCAR has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From the looks of things, he's not heading home any time soon as he keeps continuing to impress his owners each week in the No. 47 Toyota Camry. This weekend, it will boast Clorox as his primary sponsor.

"Marcos has run in the top five and top 10 for the last three weeks and you have got to feel positive," said Tad Geschickter, who owns JTG-Daugherty Racing along with wife Jodi and Brad Daugherty. "When someone like my mentor Richard Childress says, 'We are really happy for you guys,' that means something because he's someone I have always looked up to. We have been fortunate and Marcos has done an amazing job. He's worked so hard at this craft and so it is fun for us to see him do well. He has become a part of the family. We have formed a great friendship."

Approaching race eight at Phoenix International Raceway, Ambrose has recorded one top-10 and four top-20 finishes. His results are notable and he is looking forward togetting back on the trackthis week.

"We have had fast cars each week and have been able to pass guys like Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, we just haven't finished the races as well as we would have liked," Ambrose said.

Even though Ambrose has endured problems in five of seven events, he has been impressive in his first full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with JTG-Daugherty Racing. His best finish in seven starts this year is 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"We have been running so well, but we have to remember that we are still brand new," Ambrose said. "We have had a little time to reflect on the reliability issues and we are getting a handle on everything. It's just been unfortunate because we had a top five run going at Bristol and dropped a cylinder or two and ended up 10th. We had to finish Martinsville with no brakes. Our engine blew up at both at Atlanta (Motor Speedway) and at Texas (Motor Speedway). It was nice to be able to have an off weekend to reflect and put everything behind us. Now, we are ready for Phoenix (International Raceway) and aim to put the No. 47 Clorox Toyota up front."

Ambrose started and finished 18th in the fall event in one of the four races he drove for Michael Waltrip Racing at the uniquely-shaped, one-mile tri-oval in 2008.

"We had a top-20 finish there last year," Ambrose said. "Phoenix International Raceway is a track on the schedule that I really like. It's what I call a small, big track. It is an old surface and unique in its design. It's a track where it's hard to set a car up for. You can't set the car up perfectly for either end of the track. It's always about compromise. If you are beating the guy in Turns 1 and 2, you know he's going to have an advantage in Turns 3 and 4. We're hoping to have a solid finish this weekend for Clorox, Little Debbie, Kingsford Charcoal and Bush's Best Baked Beans."

-credit: jtgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Michael Waltrip , Jimmie Johnson , Marcos Ambrose
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing