Martinsville II: Marcos Ambrose qualifying notes

AMBROSE QUALIFIES FOURTH AT MARTINSVILLE Marcos Ambrose has qualified a sensational fourth in the Team Australia Ford F-150 for the Kroger 200 in Martinsville, Virginia today. The performance capped a great 24 hours for Team Australia, with...

AMBROSE QUALIFIES FOURTH AT MARTINSVILLE

Marcos Ambrose has qualified a sensational fourth in the Team Australia Ford F-150 for the Kroger 200 in Martinsville, Virginia today.

The performance capped a great 24 hours for Team Australia, with the Aussie Vineyards-backed operation's Champ Car star Will Power securing provisional pole at the team's home race at the Lexmark Indy 300 on Queensland's Gold Coast on Friday.

Ambrose made his NASCAR debut at Martinsville in April this year and his return this weekend marks the first time the Australian will race on a speedway for the second time. The previous experience at the venue proved valuable, with Ambrose the fastest Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender in qualifying.

Ambrose had a consistent day at Martinsville, the final short track on this year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule. The #20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards F-150 was 14th in opening practice, second in rookie practice and 18th in final practice before the superb qualifying effort.

It was a great day for Raybestos Rookie of the Year contenders, with Ambrose fourth and current Raybestos rookie points leader and fellow Ford driver Erik Darnell fifth. Ambrose and Darnell are the only Raybestos Rookie of the Year contenders to score a Budweiser Pole Position this season.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --

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

"That's not too bad at all," said Ambrose.

"As it's cooling off here it's getting pretty slick. We were a little loose but we did OK. I said to myself at the start of the day if I can just qualify on the inside row, wherever I start, I'll be happy. I was third fastest after my lap and then Sprague went fastest right at the end to bump me to fourth and now I will start on the outside row. Now I'm going to have a sleepless night worrying about trying to get to the bottom.

"I'm really, really pleased with my progress this year. Since the first race this year, it's almost full circle for me now. My first oval race ever was Martinsville at the start of the year. I didn't know which way to go and what to do and who to see and who to be. We've come a long way since then.

"I fell much more comfortable inside the garage here and feel more comfortable on the track. I'm just really punching for my guys and Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. They've really supported me on the short track program. I have struggled. I've been the first to admit that I haven't been the greatest on the short tracks so far. I'm just pleased to start to turn that part of our program around a little bit.

"Just coming to a track a second time has really helped me out. Kentucky was the first track that I tested on when I was trying out for this ride and that's a track we got our first pole on and that was the only track that I had some previous experience on.

"I really feel that it's helped me a lot here at Martinsville to run the track a second time. But really it's just laps I think that's giving me the edge compared to last time here, just knowing what I want from the truck in the practice session. Having some clue on what I'm looking for out there in practice sessions to get ready for the race and qualifying. It's just seat time and a great crew, good support around you."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia

"This weekend just keeps getting better and better," said Gore.

"To have Will Power get provisional pole in the Team Australia Champ Car in our home race yesterday and then Marcos qualifies in the top four in Martinsville is simply awesome.

"Martinsville is the first track Marcos has raced on for the second time and he is certainly coming to grips with the shorter ovals.

"I'm proud to be a part of a program where we have two Australian drivers around the top of the order in their chosen categories.

"I think this is something that all Australians can take some ownership of and be proud of the current momentum we have going at the moment."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Will Power , Erik Darnell