Darlington: Marcos Ambrose preview

AMBROSE ENJOYS UNTAMABLE DARLINGTON Marcos Ambrose says that he genuinely enjoys the challenge of Darlington Raceway -- the track known as 'Too Tough To Tame' -- ahead of the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 in Darlington, South Carolina this ...

AMBROSE ENJOYS UNTAMABLE DARLINGTON

Marcos Ambrose says that he genuinely enjoys the challenge of Darlington Raceway -- the track known as 'Too Tough To Tame' -- ahead of the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 in Darlington, South Carolina this weekend.

Ambrose, who is now in his third season in NASCAR competition and his second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has one previous start at Darlington and counts it as one of the most memorable races in his career to date.

Last season Ambrose qualified fourth and finished 19th at the rough and fast speedway. But this year's Darlington challenge will be completely different.

Darlington has undergone a repaving project over the off-season, with a smooth new surface expected to bring even higher speeds at the egg-shaped speedway.

With a sense of the unknown for all drivers as they enter this first race on the new surface, Ambrose will be looking to have a similarly strong run in the #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion as he seeks to claim a spot in the top 10 in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series standings, currently sitting just 67 points behind 10th place.

Q&A with Marcos Ambrose - #59 Kingsford Hickory Ford Fusion

Q: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN DARLINGTON?

MA: "I look forward to every race. But I'm really looking forward to going to Darlington because it's been repaved and there are a lot of unknowns. No one really knows what to expect. We're going to be the first race on the new surface and it should be very exciting just because it's so different."

Q: HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A TRACK WITH SO MANY UNKNOWNS?

MA: "From my experience, you just can't think about it. You've just got to go out there and go as fast as you can. If you think about it, you'll probably talk yourself out of doing what you should.

"For me, I just try to jump in and go as quick as I can when I get there. That's how it's worked for me in the past with some degree of success, so I think I'll just stick to that. The more you think about it, normally the slower you will go."

Q: THE PREFERRED GROOVE AT DARLINGTON IS THE TOP LINE, WILL THAT STILL APPLY WITH THE NEW SURFACE?

MA: "They say that the testing that they've done there with the Cup car and the truck series, they were using a similar line than before, although; they could use any line they really wanted to.

"I think it's just the nature of going to the wall. The two ends are so different. In turns one and two, you're going to be up near the top and in turns three and four, you're just going to work it out. You'll probably be more on the bottom than you were before. Just the shape of the track really sends you up there [top of the track] anyway, so I don't think the new surface is going to change the line that much."

Q: HOW DO YOU SET YOUR CAR FOR A TRACK THAT HAS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CORNERS?

MA: "We're going to go with a conventional one-and-a-half mile set-up and see how that plays out. When you've got a lot of grip on a race track you tend to want to pin the car down and use that grip with the aero and the tires that normally hold on to the track pretty good.

"I think you've got to try and peel the front off the best you can and treat it like a mile-and-a-half set-up. That's what we're going to do. I don't know if it's the right or wrong thing to do, but that's what we're going to go for."

Q: AT SOME TRACKS DRIVERS SAY THE CAR YOU PULL OFF THE TRUCK IS WHAT YOU HAVE FOR THE RACE. IS THIS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN MAKE ADJUSTMENTS AND IMPROVEMENTS TO THE CAR?

MA: "Yeah, I think definitely this time more than most tracks because it's brand new and even the super teams haven't really had a lot of running there. It might spice up the action a little bit. It might change the order somewhat; who knows. Depending on what teams get it right and what teams get it wrong."

Q: HOW ARE YOU GOING WORKING WITH NEW CREW CHIEF GARY COGSWELL?

MA: "Gary is going great. We're going really good. We're only a few races in and he's made a lot of changes. He's working out great and we're really excited about what's coming up."

-credit: jtgr/bam

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Marcos Ambrose