Sears Point: JTG Racing, Ambrose preview

DON'T CALL AMBROSE A ROAD-COURSE RINGER Road racing is Marcos Ambrose's forte even though he prefers not to be referred to as a road-course ringer. The Australian driver has made a strong case to be taken seriously as a NASCAR Sprint Cup ...

DON'T CALL AMBROSE A ROAD-COURSE RINGER

Road racing is Marcos Ambrose's forte even though he prefers not to be referred to as a road-course ringer. The Australian driver has made a strong case to be taken seriously as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor. His tenth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway, fourth-place at Talladega Superspeedway and sixth-place at Pocono Raceway help transform his persona.

This weekend Ambrose is putting all of his energy into the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway because he feels his No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota has a genuine shot at a strong finish on Sunday. As a matter of fact his career-best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish occurred at a road course last season. In only his third start, he finished third at Watkins Glen International. He also won his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series event at the winding track the day before.

"We're looking for gold on track this weekend at Infineon Raceway," Ambrose said. "We have a lot of confidence heading into Sonoma. I've had some success on road courses and we've put a lot of work into this race. We've tested for it a couple of times and we feel like we've got a genuine shot at this one."

In preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 the JTG-Daugherty Racing team tested twice with Ambrose at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). While at VIR the first time, Ambrose helped his teammate David Reutimann with road course racing techniques in a two-seater car supplied by Richard Petty Driving Experience.

"It's all about technique," Ambrose said. "I drove David around and showed him a few tricks that dealt with things like hand positioning and heel-and-toe downshift. He's been working hard at it. He'll be good to go this weekend. All three teams are hoping to have solid results. Patrick Carpentier will be subbing for Michael Waltrip in the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. We feel good about this weekend."

Last season, Ambrose raced the No. 21 car for Little Debbie at the 1.99-mile road course with 12 turns. The 32-year-old started seventh and finished 42nd due to a transmission problem.

"Infineon Raceway is a tough place to get around," Ambrose said. "You have to use your fenders a lot and they get bent and so do egos. Usually, there are a lot of mad people by the end of the race."

Ambrose thinks the race will heat up with double file restarts.

"The double file restarts will be really interesting and will play a factor in the outcome because it's a one groove type of track," Ambrose said. "Some cars will have advantages and some will have disadvantages. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out."

Before heading to Sonoma, Ambrose will visit The Clorox Company headquarters while his No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota Camry team head to TRD in Costa Mesa.

"Tad, Jodi (Geschickter) and I are really looking forward to visiting Clorox's headquarters in Oakland," Ambrose said. "In 1913, five California entrepreneurs invested $100 each to set up the first commercial-scale liquid bleach factory in America located on the east side of San Francisco Bay. Since then they have grown into a worldwide manufacturer. We're proud to have them as our sponsor and look forward to seeing everyone this week. At the same time, my crew chief Frank Kerr and the No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota team are stopping by TRD for a luncheon as a sign of appreciation for their continued support.

"It's really important for us to put on a good show for all of our sponsors and Toyota at Sonoma," Ambrose continued. "We had a setback at Michigan International Raceway following a breakout race for me at Pocono Raceway. I was able to attack and conquer that track and pull away from good drivers and that helped build inner confidence. Now, we are banking on getting back on track this weekend."

-credit: jtgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Patrick Carpentier , Marcos Ambrose , David Reutimann