Homestead: Marcos Ambrose preview

AMBROSE TO CLOSE CHAPTER ON FIRST SEASON IN NASCAR THIS WEEKEND IN MIAMI Marcos Ambrose will close the first chapter of his NASCAR career this weekend when the Australian races in the Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. The Team...

AMBROSE TO CLOSE CHAPTER ON FIRST SEASON IN NASCAR THIS WEEKEND IN MIAMI

Marcos Ambrose will close the first chapter of his NASCAR career this weekend when the Australian races in the Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.

The Team Australia driver will be out to cap a remarkable debut season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as he chases second place in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings as well as his third top five finish of the year. After a string of solid results, Ambrose now lies just one point behind Chad McCumbee for second place in the rookie standings.

It will be Ambrose's 22nd start in NASCAR and in that short space of time the two-time Australian V8 Supercar champion has risen from a NASCAR novice to knocking on the door of second place in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, having already achieved two third place finishes, four top 10 finishes, one Budweiser Pole award, one Mobil 1 Command Performance award and one WIX Air Filter Lap Leader award.

Despite missing the first three races of the championship the Tasmanian native now lies inside the top 20 in the series standings, placed 19th heading into this weekend's season finale on what has been billed 'the Ford Championship Weekend'.

The last race of the season also comes on a 1-5 mile oval, a style of speedway the Australian has mastered quickly in his rookie season, although his late season form has shown that he now excels on many different varieties of tracks.

Ambrose has undertaken a significant journey to move his family's life to the other side of the world to try and break into the tough NASCAR racing scene. When the chequered flag falls on this weekend's Ford 200, the first chapter will have been successfully completed, and the next already in Ambrose's ambitious sights.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --

Marcos Ambrose -- #20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Ford F-150

"Going into the last race of the season it feels like I've barely started," said Ambrose.

"The year has just flown by and I've really enjoyed racing so often.

"Everything about NASCAR is geared up around racing every weekend, so the Truck Series actually feels a little broken up in comparison, with only 25 races compared to 35 in Busch and Cup.

"The way this year has flown by has been quite amazing and it has been a really fantastic experience running against all these drivers and teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

"It would be nice to say that I finished runner-up in the Rookie of the Year title, so that is something I'll be aiming for. It's not a huge deal because the title is wrapped up and coming second is not really the reason we go racing.

"But I'd like to get the runner-up spot because it has been a very strong year for rookies in the truck series this year, so it would be very good to say you were second in such a strong year.

"Miami is a little flatter than some of the other 1.5-mile ovals but I'm excited about this weekend. I'm looking forward to finishing the final track of the season strongly.

"This is the last race of the season but the work doesn't really end in Miami because we have a Busch program to think about for next season.

"I'd definitely like to win a race for Team Australia in Miami. Craig Gore and everyone involved in the Team Australia program has been great to me and I'd like to repay their efforts with a win.

"It's been a year of good results, but not great. We are still pushing for that first win but we have been running strongly over this last part of the season, so I'm looking forward to this weekend."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia

"It's hard to believe we are the end of the season already," said Gore.

"It has been a big couple of weeks for the Team Australia program with some great success with the Champ Car program in Mexico and Marcos' continued efforts at both Texas and Phoenix.

"Marcos has done an outstanding job this season. I don't really think a lot of people appreciate what he has achieved in one of the toughest motorsport competitions in the world. He had not driven on an oval once in his life before heading into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season.

"He has been totally professional in his approach to all aspects of his new career path and has been a credit to the Team Australia program, Wood Brothers/JTG Racing and his country and fans in general.

"It would be more than fitting that Marcos finished the season with a strong result in Miami before heading to the Busch series next year. We all know he is more than capable of doing just that."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Chad McCumbee