Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 59 STP Ford Fusion, posted the fastest time in Happy Hour. Ambrose lapped the track in 103.165 seconds at 94.532 miles per hour. Ambrose participated in a press conference following final practice and talked about his Fusion and race expectations.
TALK ABOUT YOUR PRACTICE LAPS. "The second practice was really a waste of time for us with the oil going done and the session starting late. We actually only got two timed laps, so that was disappointing for us. We blew a gearbox up late in the first session just trying to develop me gearbox. I guess we're lucky that happened today and not tomorrow. But all things considered, I'm really happy with the balance of the car. I think it's better than last year's car I had here. The brakes feel like there a little better. We worked on those in the 12 months that we've had to get ready for this race. So, fingers crossed, it will be okay."
THE TIMES IN GENERAL WILL SLOWER THIS AFTERNOON. "When the sun comes out on the race track, traditionally you see it, you can be anywhere in the world. But when that sun gets on the race track, when that UV's on the race track it does take away the grip from the tires. A guy from a tire company that's not part of NASCAR once told me as soon as that sun hits the race track, it's considerable how much grip comes away from the tire. Even if it doesn't get hotter, just the UV on the race track can really change the way that the tire will grip the surface. So, I'd put it down to that. I felt like the car was on top of the race track there in the second practice session. It wasn't really gripping like I wanted it to. And we put it down to the weather."
IS THERE ANYTHING MISSING TO CLAIM THAT FIRST VICTORY TOMORROW? "Right now, I feel I'm in good shape. There are a lot of unknowns. We didn't quite get enough laps this afternoon to get a good feel on light fuel and old tires to get a good balance on the car. I feel like the brakes are a mystery to us and the competition. I don't quite know how good [Scott] Pruett is. He seems like he's right there with us. You know that he's going to have a good car tomorrow. I just don't quite know how good he's got it and there are 42 other cars to worry about as well, not just Scott. We've got Villeneuve in there and he's going to be spanner in the works, for sure. So the competition is an element that I don't quite know. I feel like our car is good. Could it be better? Yes. Is it better than last year? It definitely is. I just hope we've done enough work."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING IN THE RAIN? "The first thing is, Goodyear has brought some rain tires for us. Although, I think they've been towing them around for about six-and-a-half years. And when I saw them in Mexico at the start of the year, they were already purple. I'm not sure they're going to be the best tires to run on, but if that's what NASCAR chooses to do, then I'll be the first one to jump in my car and get ready to go. I'm used to running in the rain. I feel like I've got an advantage over the NASCAR regular drivers, maybe not these road ringers that we have here. But, in general we're looking pretty good. I think the weather is going to play a part in tomorrow's race, there's no doubt about that. You just have to make good choices. Whatever NASCAR decides to do, whatever the weather decides to do, you've got to be very versatile with the set-up of your car and your driving style."
Boris Said, driver of the No. 25 No Fear/Team Smithfield Ford Fusion, was fifth fastest in Friday's final practice at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Said clocked a time of 103.896 seconds at 94.226 miles per hour around the track. Said participated in this afternoon's press conference and talked about racing in Montreal compared to other road courses.
TALK ABOUT YOUR LAPS TODAY. "The first thing that catches your eye is just how many people are here. I've never been to a track on a Friday where the grandstands are packed. I don't know if Canadians don't work on Fridays or what, but it's really cool. It's a cool atmosphere and there's no other race that we go to that's like that. It's just an awesome track. I love watching Formula One, so when you sit there and think about how I'm going through the same corners as Senna and Michael Schumacher, it's pretty cool. The track suits these cars fine. They're going to put on a great show just like last year. I hope NASCAR comes here for a long time. All the car companies like Ford had a huge thing downtown and it's just a lot of fun to be a part of."
AT INFINEON IN THE SPRINT CUP RACE THE RINGERS DIDN'T DO WELL IN THE RACE, BUT TODAY, THE RINGERS ARE ON TOP OF THE SPEED CHARTS. IS IT BECAUSE THE TRACK IS SO MUCH A ROAD COURSE? "It's different and you don't have all the Sprint Cup guys here. Those guys, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, they're second-to-none, even if they jump in a Formula One car; I saw Jeff Gordon run pretty darn good. That's the biggest reason, plus we had a part failure at Infineon or we probably would have been right up there too. I think this favors, it's really technical on the brakes. With the blind corners being a street course, it favors guys like Max [Papis] and Patrick [Carpentier] that have run here a lot."
MORE. "The COT cars are so difficult to drive and those guys [Cup drivers] are an advantage because they're in them every single week and we come in and drive it once or twice a year. It makes it a lot more difficult. They have a lot more horsepower and they're really early in their development, so they're not the best race cars yet. These Nationwide cars, they're handling really good. And they're really good race cars. For me, they're a lot more fun to drive than a Sprint Cup car. I'm sure down the road, the COT cars are just going to get better and better and better."
-credit: ford racing