Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose is looking to consolidate his position at the top of the V8 Supercar Championship adjusted points table at Oran Park on Sunday -- just a day before heads to the US on a NASCAR "excursion'.
Ambrose leads the series on adjusted points in his Pirtek Falcon and was ninth quickest in a 90-minute practice session this afternoon with a time of one minute and 10.0828 seconds.
His SBR teammate Russell Ingall was 13th fastest in his Caltex Havoline Falcon with a time of 1:10.3531.
Both SBR drivers battled through the session on older rubber and set about finding a suitable balance for tomorrow's qualifying sessions.
Ambrose heads to the US on Monday morning and will be attending NASCAR Truck, Busch and Winston Cup night races in Bristol later this week.
He will also be doing several workshop tours before driving a NASCAR at the Richard Petty School at Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte.
"I am just hopeful of getting through this weekend with a reasonable amount of points, before heading off the US for a bit of a mid-season "re-fresh"," said Ambrose.
"NASCAR is enormous in the US, bigger than Formula 1, and it will be great to get amongst it and see what the show is all about."
And what about heading to NASCAR in the future for a full-time ride?
"Do I ever want to drive in NASCAR? -- well, you never say never, but I have to say that driving around in circles does not interest me that much, but my whole attitude might change once I have been over there and experienced a bit of it," said Ambrose.
"The fact those guys race 39 weekends of the year is also something that would take a hell of a lot of getting used to. I hate being away from home now and we only have 13 actual race weekends.
"A move to the US would mean three times the racing and I am sure the corporate and sponsor commitments are greater as well. I love V8 Supercar racing and living back in Australia, so it would have to be something outstanding to encourage me to leave and live in the US."
Ingall, is on a high after his win in the last round at Queensland Raceway, and is keen to maintain his title aspirations with another big result this weekend.
"It was a little tough out there on the rubber we had up our sleeves today, but I am sure we will be right tomorrow," said Ingall.
"We got a taste again in the last round and we want that to continue this weekend."
PRACTICE TIMES -- TOP 15
1: Paul Morris (Holden) 1:09.2394
2: Rick Kelly (Holden) 1:09.7574
3: Mark Skaife (Holden) 1:09.7616
4: Steve Richards (Holden) 1:09.7715
5: Jason Bright (Holden) 1:09.8689
6: Glenn Seton (Ford) 1:09.9519
7: John Bowe (Ford) 1:10.0005
8: Paul Weel (Holden) 1:10.0163
9: Marcos Ambrose (Ford) 1:10.0828
10: Brad Jones (Ford) 1:10.2671
11: Garth Tander (Holden) 1:10.3391
12: Steve Ellery (Ford) 1:10.3401
13: Russell Ingall (Ford) 1:10.3531
14: Mark Noske (Ford) 1:10.4702
15: Steve Johnson (Ford) 1:10.5042
TRACK FACTS -- ORAN PARK RACEWAY
Venue: Oran Park Raceway, Sydney, NSW
2003 Race format: Qualifying and Top 10 Shootout (Saturday); 111-lap Race (compulsory tyre and fuel stops) - Sunday
Circuit Length: 2.7km
Circuit Direction: unti-Clockwise
Maximum Speed: 245 km/h (Front Straight)
Qualifying Record: Mark Skaife (1999) 1:07.4806s
Lap Record: Craig Lowndes (1999) 1:08.0631s
V8 SUPERCARS (All times Eastern Standard)
9.35am-10.10am -- Practice session
2.05pm-2.25pm - Qualifying (Lower 50%)
2.30pm-2.50pm - Qualifying (Upper 50%)
3.50pm-4.20pm - Top Ten Shootout
10.10am-10.30am -- Warm-up
1.00pm-3.25pm -- Race (111 Laps)
TV TELECAST -- NETWORK TEN
Sunday -- August 17, 2003 (Eastern Standard Time)
2.30pm-5pm -- Round 8 V8 Supercar Championship Series