Phoenix: Marcos Ambrose preview

Ambrose Faces Unique Challenge for Penultimate Race of Season In Phoenix Marcos Ambrose will face another unique challenge in the penultimate race of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series when the Team Australia driver starts the Casino Arizona 150...

Ambrose Faces Unique Challenge for Penultimate Race of Season In Phoenix

Marcos Ambrose will face another unique challenge in the penultimate race of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series when the Team Australia driver starts the Casino Arizona 150 at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona this weekend.

Ambrose will tackle the Phoenix track for his 21st race in NASCAR, one of the more challenging venues in NASCAR. Phoenix features different banking in the turns at each end of the one mile venue, as well as a 'dog leg' kink in the middle of the back straight.

The track, first built for open-wheel competition before NASCAR debuted at the venue in 1988, also features a spectacular hillside, offering fans a fantastic view of the track, which often produces close racing.

Ambrose comes to Phoenix one week after scoring his fourth top ten finish of the season in the #20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Ford F-150. The two-time Australian V8 Supercar Champion continues to gain consistency and momentum in his rookie NASCAR season and will be out to improve on last weekend's 10th place finish this weekend in Phoenix.

A strong result will see the Australian continue his rise up the standings, the result in Texas rising Ambrose to 19th in the series points and third in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.

Phoenix International Raceway is also a significant venue for the NASACAR Craftsman Truck Series. It was the venue for the first ever points scoring event for the category back in February 1995. That event was won by Mike Skinner, who will be competing with Ambrose this weekend.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --

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

"We really had a good race there in Texas last weekend so I'd like to think we can keep that momentum going through these last two races," said Ambrose.

"Phoenix is certainly a different sort of track. Each turn is different so it will be an interesting challenge and one I am looking forward to.

"I'm feeling good heading into this weekend because I think we have shown that our race package has been getting better and better over the past few races. This track is a new and different challenge but I'm lucky to be with a strong team and we are really growing together.

"I'm really enjoying my racing over here and Phoenix is the next challenge in my journey. A lot of people have mentioned that it is a little bit different to most of the other tracks we run, but Phoenix is also known for great racing.

"This Craftsman Truck Series has turned on great racing all year, so I can't wait for this weekend."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia

"Marcos's finish at Texas last weekend really showed the amount he has matured in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year," said Gore.

"Confidence is everything in this sport and Marcos has just learnt so much this year.

"He now sits third in the rookie points and has a chance of clinching second in the last couple of rounds at Phoenix and Homestead.

"Phoenix will offer challenges he has not experienced at other tracks this season, but he will get on with the job.

"It is great we have an ambassador like Marcos taking the Team Australia and Aussie Vineyards brands into a new and important market like Arizona."

Michael Cooper -- Crew Chief #20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Ford F-150

"It's never easy to make a change in the middle of the season, but we have an advantage," said Cooper.

"Our trucks have always been fast, this Wood Brothers/JTG Racing crew is the best in the business and Marcos has really come on as a driver.

"It won't take Marcos and me long to create a good level of communication. We came a long way during the race at Texas, and it's only going to get better."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Marcos Ambrose , Michael Cooper