AMBROSE AND TEAM AUSTRALIA READY TO TACKLE TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY While Australian motorsport prepares for its biggest event of the year at Bathurst, one eye will be on the United States as Team Australia NASCAR Truck driver Marcos Ambrose ...
AMBROSE AND TEAM AUSTRALIA READY TO TACKLE TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
While Australian motorsport prepares for its biggest event of the year at Bathurst, one eye will be on the United States as Team Australia NASCAR Truck driver Marcos Ambrose embarks on his own 'big race' in October as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series makes its debut at the daunting Talladega Superspeedway with the John Deere 250 in Alabama.
Ambrose has excelled on the fast 1.5-mile speedways in his rookie NASCAR season, but this weekend's race at Talladega will be something different all together. The 2.66-mile Talladega layout is considered one of the biggest challenges in NASCAR and much like Bathurst's Mount Panorama circuit in Australia, is a track that veterans and rookies alike must treat with the upmost respect at all times.
This first event for the trucks at Talladega will be a test for all teams and drivers and an added element of difficulty has been thrown in with the recent resurfacing of the superspeedway, meaning all divisions will be racing the revised surface for the first time.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series does race at the similarly fast and banked Daytona International Speedway. Ambrose however did not race in the season-opening Daytona event, making this weekend's race his first at one of NASCAR's two big superspeedways. Talladega and Daytona are classed as 'restrictor plate' venues in NASCAR, where Cup and Busch cars are slowed with the installation of a restrictor plate on the carburettor. The Trucks, however, instead use a smaller air intake to keep speeds below 200mph on the massive speedways.
In only his 17th NASCAR event the former two-time Australian V8 Supercar Champion knows that he will have a lot to learn this weekend. But as has been the case all season Ambrose and the Team Australia crew from Wood Brothers/JTG Racing led by crew chief Gary Cogswell are fast learners and ready to adapt to new challenges.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
Marcos Ambrose -- Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Ford F-150
"The goal is just to get out of this weekend in one piece," said Ambrose.
"Talladega is a hairy, scary, fast place and the biggest speedway I've ever raced on, so I'm a little apprehensive.
"I know I've just got to get that first one out of the way and learn from it so we are fully prepared the next time I race on a superspeedway. To get out of Talladega with a straight truck is the goal.
"Our teams trucks worked well at Daytona earlier this year and I'm sure we'll be up to the challenge.
"Everybody is going into this weekend thinking that Talladega is a bit of an unknown quantity and no-one knows what's going to happen.
"There are a lot of rookies in the field and I think everyone will tread carefully in the early part of the race. But at the end of the day we are all professionals and we're trying to win.
"If I've got a chance at a good result I'm going to take it, but the first goal for this weekend is to come away from the race with a straight truck.
"From the information I've received from talking to other drivers, driving a lap around this place is not going to be a problem. It's big and fast but I think that a single lap will come easily, but racing in traffic and running in the draft in a pack will be the big challenge."
Craig Gore -- Team Australia
"The newly resurfaced Talladega circuit will be fast, real fast, just the way Marcos likes it," said Gore.
"Marcos has done a terrific job this season and it will be important for him to finish off the last half a dozen races with some consistent results.
"I'm sure a top 10 result this weekend is definitely a possibilty and give Marcos a reason to enjoy a private glass of Aussie Vineyards wine back in his motorhome on Saturday night after the race."
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Friday 5 October 2006
3:10am -- 4:00am ET
Friday 5 October 2006
4:50am -- 5:20am ET
Friday 5 October 2006
5:20am -- 6:20am ET
Saturday 6 October 2006
Race -- 94 laps
Sunday 6 October 2006