Sonoma: JTG Racing/Ambrose preview

An Ounce of Luck is Better than a Pound of Gold for Ambrose at Sonoma SONOMA, Calif. (June 16, 2010) - - Marcos Ambrose's 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has been filled with twists and turns. At Infineon Raceway during the Toyota/Save Mart...

An Ounce of Luck is Better than a Pound of Gold for Ambrose at Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. (June 16, 2010) - - Marcos Ambrose's 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has been filled with twists and turns. At Infineon Raceway during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday, the Australian driver looks to top his career-best finish of second-place he delivered at Watkins Glen International in August. Ambrose finished third at Sonoma last year and if luck falls his way, the No. 47 Clorox Toyota Camry driver hopes to be sitting in Victory Lane on Sunday.

"We feel like we can win any week and I want to get our first win out of the way and I'd like for it to be this weekend at Infineon Raceway," Ambrose said. "We are not putting any extra pressure on ourselves. We are trying to stay cool and calm. We will be trying our best and trying as hard as we can and hope that luck is on our side. We have had some great runs this year. When we were able to finish and not experience a mechanical failure or become involved in a crash, we have easily finished in the top-15. We should be in contention in the end this weekend and that's all I can ask of myself and my team is to give ourselves the best chance."

Last season at Sonoma, you name it, it happened to Ambrose. From a mechanical failure in first practice to making contact with Jimmie Johnson in the last few minutes of final practice, Ambrose could not catch a break. In the end, he persevered and brought home a third-place finish for JTG Daugherty Racing.

"I must not be living my life right," Ambrose laughed. "It was a real cluster last year. We qualified third and lost an engine in practice. We got out there for the last 10 minutes of final practice and ran into Jimmie Johnson. We had to start in the back and pass the entire field on the tightest course. When we got to the end of the race, we were off sequence and on old tires. We really tore our stuff up trying to get through the field. By the end of the race, the gearbox was about done and so were the brakes. We got up front there, but ran out of time. Thankfully, we brought it home. We are looking for a lot smoother practice Saturday and being ready for the race on Sunday."

Ambrose knows there are no guarantees in this business, but the JTG Daugherty Racing team has tested extensively and done their homework for the 1.99-mile road course.

"We feel like we should be a contender, but there are no guarantees," Ambrose said. "We have done a lot of research and development. We are well prepared and we have tested a few times at Virginia International Raceway and more recently we participated in a Goodyear tire test at Watkins Glen."

Ambrose is still talking about the Watkins Glen test where he and Jeff Gordon switched cars for a few laps.

"I've seen Jeff Gordon win more road course races than I've ever competed in on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit," Ambrose said. "I was so tickled to drive his car. Not many people can say they've driven Jeff's car around the track. He jumped out and I had a couple laps, and he had a few laps in my car. He was pretty loose in my seat, and I was pretty tight in his. I got a feel for what he's looking for, and I was very surprised how similar the cars were in their balance and handling. I was also surprised that he was fighting the same battles we are. You always need more brakes, you always need more power, and you always need more grip. It was really great to drive someone's car, who has won so much on road courses in NASCAR. I was very privileged to have done it."

With road course racing engrained in his mind, Ambrose can breathe easier this weekend.

"I will be breathing a little easier because this is my forte," Ambrose said. "I should have a good chance. Fingers crossed, it's going to work out. We have to run at the front and pit where we need to for fuel mileage. We will be going through fuel mileage numbers to get ourselves familiar with our engine. We have to stay on strategy so we don't have to pass them twice to win."

Ambrose not only wants to win for himself and his team, but he wants it for his sponsors.

"We've had a tough go at it this season and it would mean a lot to me to deliver our sponsors a victory," Ambrose said. "Clorox and Kingsford are based in Oakland (California) and have been supporting me since the very beginning - just like Little Debbie and Bush's Baked Beans - in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and then onto the Sprint Cup Series. We're also so fortunate to have wonderful sponsors like Lance and Kleenex that are newer to our program and we hope to build that relationship for years to come.

"The Clorox Company has over 100 guests coming out to the race," continued Ambrose. That's a lot of people and a lot of pressure. You don't want to spin out on lap 1 when you've got that many people cheering for you. I really want to give them their first win in the Sprint Cup Series. I'm almost desperate to give them that victory because it would really showcase them as a premier sponsor in the series and thank them for everything they've done for me. It would be fitting to give them a win on their home track."

-source: jtg racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Marcos Ambrose
Teams JTG Daugherty Racing