AMBROSE RETURNS TO SCENE OF BEST BUSCH SERIES FINISH AT DOVER Ambrose will concentrate solely on Busch Series this weekend despite offer from Robby Gordon Motorsports to run Nextel Cup at Dover Marcos Ambrose returns to the scene of his best...
AMBROSE RETURNS TO SCENE OF BEST BUSCH SERIES FINISH AT DOVER
Ambrose will concentrate solely on Busch Series this weekend despite offer from Robby Gordon Motorsports to run Nextel Cup at Dover
Marcos Ambrose returns to the scene of his best NASCAR Busch Series finish at Dover International Speedway for the RoadLoans.com 200 this weekend.
The Australian will focus his full attention on the 29th event in the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series, despite an offer from Robby Gordon Motorsports to drive a Nextel Cup Ford Fusion in the Dodge Dealers 400 on Sunday September 23.
Ambrose and wife Sonja are expecting their second child any day now, leading Ambrose to kindly decline the offer from Gordon, who attempted to run Ambrose in the Cup event at Watkins Glen on August 12 only for qualifying to be rained out, leaving Ambrose on the sidelines for the race.
Gordon said to Ambrose after the Watkins Glen qualifying rain-out that he would give him another chance to qualify for his debut NASCAR Nextel Cup race later in the season, with Dover slated as that opportunity given Ambrose's sensational performance at the 'Monster Mile' in the NASCAR Busch Series event held at the Delaware oval in June.
But with Ambrose's second child due this Sunday, the same day as the Dover NASCAR Nextel Cup race, as well as the stretch in resources required to field a second car, Ambrose has advised Gordon that it would be best for both that they pass on the opportunity on this occasion.
Both Gordon and Ambrose agree that this decision is best for both parties and gives both the best opportunity of success in their respective full-time operations, Ambrose in the Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Busch Series as part of the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team and Gordon in the #7 Ford Fusion for his own Robby Gordon Motorsports team in the NASCAR Nextel Cup.
Ambrose takes a new package into the Busch Series race at Dover, with front-end suspension and aerodynamic revisions from Wood Brothers/JTG Racing making this weekend's event another test in the team's continuing development as they work their way forwards.
Ambrose had a 'breakout' race at Dover in June, outracing defending series champion Kevin Harvick in the closing stages of the race to finish sixth after qualifying in third. Ambrose collected some impressive statistics over the 200-lap race, running in an average position of 10.9 and spending 174 laps in the top 15 positions.
Ambrose currently sits seventh in the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series standings and is second behind fellow Ford driver David Ragan in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings with seven races remaining in this year's season.
Marcos Ambrose -- Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion
On the NASCAR Busch Series RoadLoans.com 200:
"We are running a brand new package in the Busch Series this weekend and I am really looking forward to coming back to Dover," said Ambrose.
"We ran well there in June but I think this team has really progressed since then and we have really been putting some work into our cars over the past few weeks.
"The guys have been putting in a lot of work and we have some new aero and front end developments that we are going to run for the first time. We are a lot stronger than we were in June so it's going to be interesting to see where we sit this time around.
"I'm very motivated and excited about the last seven races of the season. Dover is a place we ran well at earlier in the year, Kansas is the next race after that and is a track I really like and there are some other places I'm looking forward to as well.
"We will see how we go this weekend and then I'll be straight back to Charlotte to be with Sonja and support her."
On the Nextel Cup offer from Robby Gordon Motorsports:
"The Cup deal would have been great but as much as every driver wants to make it to Nextel Cup, you have to make sure you don't rush into it," said Ambrose.
"Robby is a guy that is true to his word. He was doing everything in his power to make this deal work for me. After we missed Watkins Glen because of the qualifying rain-out he offered me a shot for Dover.
"We even entered the car -- it got that close -- but in the end I told Robby that I really appreciate his offer, but at this stage it is best for all of us if we concentrate on our own deals for this weekend and he agreed.
"I've developed a lot of respect for Robby over the past month or so. We are both proud to be Ford drivers, I respect the way he goes about his racing and his business and we will keep the communication channels open and see what happens down the line.
"It would have been a great opportunity, but in the end I think this is best for everyone."
Q&A INTERVIEW WITH MARCOS AMBROSE
QUESTION: WHAT DID YOU DO ON YOUR WEEKEND OFF?
MA: "Well, I was waiting for my wife, Sonja, to have the baby, which hasn't come yet. She's due this Sunday, but all the early reports were that the baby was going come a little early. But it hasn't proved to be the case.
"I'll run the gauntlet this weekend. We've got a plan on standby and we'll be fairly unlucky for the baby to come at a time when I can't get back, if we have to. Otherwise, she should go full term, which is Sunday anyway, so we've got our fingers crossed.
"Sonja wants to go full term if she can, and that's her decision to make. I'll just do whatever I can to be there if at all possible. I've got plenty of bad jokes to slow her down, but she doesn't take well to that."
Q: AT THE JUNE DOVER RACE, YOU QUALIFIED THIRD AND FINISHED SIXTH. TALK ABOUT GOING BACK TO A TRACK WHERE YOU'VE HAD A SOLID PERFORMANCE.
MA: "Last time we had a good weekend there. It all worked out great for us but the team is moving forward. In our case, we've got a brand-new package to take there. We're not running the same set-up we ran last time. We've got a different front-end suspension set-up on the car. We've got a different body on the car, a different car completely.
"I think we know what we are trying to find and what we are trying to do. Whether we actually execute it on the weekend is a big question. Last time we finished sixth and we felt that we had a solid top 10 run, but we weren't good enough to do any better than that. So we've made some changes and we're trying to improve our situation.
"I'm really excited about every race from here to the rest of the year because we've got some great stuff going on. We've got a lot of confidence with our direction that we are heading down, as far as car handling. My learning progress has improved as well, so there's a lot of good stuff going on."
Q: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SINCE THE LAST RACE IN DOVER?
MA: "I think it's just time and confidence behind the wheel. Knowing that I can run the car a little looser than what I'm comfortable doing, which is what you need to do if you get into the corners. It's a lot of little things that you learn you gain confidence with the machine and the people around you as well.
"There's no secret to this thing, it's about experience, and it's about confidence. I feel like I'm getting more confident in knowing what I want behind the wheel, in the practice sessions, to help set the car up and know what to do on the race track when the race starts. When cars are moving around everywhere, I feel more confident in my abilities to stay out of trouble and make the right decision on the race track."
Q: YOU'RE ONE OF THE TOP BUSCH-ONLY DRIVERS IN THE POINT STANDINGS. IS THAT TITLE YOU'D LIKE TO WIN?
MA: "It would be great to say we are focused on that, but we're really not. We're thrilled to be in the top 10 in points. I feel like we've left a lot of points out there with various things that have gone on throughout the season, like everyone can say.
"But in general, we've had a great season. We're fighting for the rookie deal against (David) Ragan, which is still a pretty heavy focus for us. We're fighting to get our car number in the top 20 in points, which we're at 18th owner points right now. I'm focused on staying in the top 10 in driver points, too.
"There's a lot going on, forgetting about the best of the rest. I just want to be solid in the top 10 in points, myself, and keep the team in the solid top 15 in owner points and also see if we can snatch that rookie title away from David Ragan."
Q: DO YOU THINK THE BUSCH SERIES WOULD BENEFIT FROM A CHASE FORMAT?
MA: "I'm not sure about that. I think the Chase is fantastic; it's really exciting. When I was learning about the sport, the Chase came in. It was a great way to finish the season. It added a lot of interest in the last 10 races of the season.
The Busch Series is a little different. You haven't got 43 fulltime drivers in the series. Drivers come and go. I'm not here to comment or criticize or add advice to NASCAR; they've done a great job for decades and I'm sure they'll come up with a good solution to the current issues that face the Busch Series, which is a lot of regular Cup guys, and Busch guys, we struggle to get attention and we struggle to get top 10s just because of the depth of the field."
-credit: team australia