NASCAR Teleconference Transcript - Marcos Ambrose August 3, 2010 An Interview With: MARCOS AMBROSE THE MODERATOR: So we are going to swing the call over to Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 47 Clorox Kleenex Toyota in the Sprint Cup ...
NASCAR Teleconference Transcript - Marcos Ambrose
August 3, 2010
An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: So we are going to swing the call over to Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 47 Clorox Kleenex Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series.
THE MODERATOR: Marcos, thanks for joining us. Big weekend for you coming up. You've won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Glen last two years, finished second last year in the Sprint Cup event, at the Glen you're third back in '08. Big, big couple of days at the Glen. What's the outlook for you?
MARCOS AMBROSE: We are really excited about it. We are obviously doing the Nationwide race and the Cup race. Who knows how it's all going to play out for us, but we feel like we have got a possibility to win either or both races and pretty pumped up about it.
The MODERATOR: You're always right there, either winning or almost winning right at these road course races.
MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, that being said, we managed to win the last couple of road races at Watkins Glen on the Nationwide Series. We haven't quite got it done in the Sprint Cup Series. We are going to be chasing Tony Stewart and the whole team down there at Watkins Glen. We feel like they are going to be the car to beat as, well as Jeff Gordon. We have to put ourselves in contention and do everything right and hopefully the race will work out in our favor.
Q: Given how the race ended at Sonoma with the hard brake for you, how does that affect your approach to this weekend? Do you need a win, basically, to get over that?
MARCOS AMBROSE: Well. If you guys stop talking about it I might get over it a bit faster.
Races come and go, and when you give one up like we did at Sonoma, no matter how it went down, no matter what the circumstances, it's never nice.
That being said, there's enough pressure to win at Watkins Glen without putting any more on yourself, so I think we are all focused on the job at hand. We can't go back and remember what happened at Sonoma. We've just got to move forward with it and not let it impact our weekend.
I want to win so badly that sometimes I get in my own way, and I think, you know, if I can guard myself from doing that again, you know, it will help us win the race.
Q: When you made your announcement last week, you listed one of your possibilities as perhaps returning to Australia to race. How realistic is that?
MARCOS AMBROSE: It's realistic. You know, I've spoken to a few people down there, and all have been well received, and it's actually been in the papers and on national television over the last few days, you know, obviously not ruling out the possibilities of me returning and where I would potentially go.
But my heart is in NASCAR to be honest with you. I've got unfinished business at this level of racing. I feel like I've become part of the sport but I haven't become a contender on a weekly basis, and I feel like I'm really -- if I left now, I would feel like I've got unfinished business.
I would like to stay here in America if I could, but if it doesn't work out -- I have taken a risk right now. I have jumped out of the team that I had fully sponsored and I was contracted to drive for 2011, and right now, I don't have any contract on the table to sign. So there is a risk involved with that. I understand the risks and I am willing to take any outcome from this point and deal with it. But if I could, I would love to stay in NASCAR and finish off what I started.
Q: Given all you've invested, would returning to Australia be a huge disappointment for you?
MARCOS AMBROSE: No, not a disappointment. I've been privileged to be in NASCAR for the last five years and feel like it's been a great journey, and if it does stop today, I'm cool with that. If it lasts a bit longer and I get a chance to re-up and re-dedicate myself to the sport and hopefully get in a position where I can race and contend for the Chase, I would like to do that, too.
I feel lucky that I've been in NASCAR and I've got to experience firsthand being at the top level. Not saying that I don't want to stay around and do more of it, but I feel lucky to have even got this far.
Q: Watkins Glen, you've had a ton of success there, a couple of Nationwide wins, a third place and a second place finish over in the Cup Series; what is it about this particular road course that agrees with your driving style, and what's the hardest part, the most challenging part of this track for you?
MARCOS AMBROSE: Well, thank you. When you say stuff like that, it does look pretty good, but I don't think it's necessarily the track that gives me any advantage. I think it's just road racing in general. Road racing, big, heavy too powerful race cars suits my style, and I've been fortunate that I've done well in road courses on NASCAR, and really set me up with a lot of confidence to know what I'm looking for in that race car.
So I've got a good base setup that I carry to all the road course races. And I really know what I'm looking for. We don't have to muck around with trial and error, and I pretty much engineer it from the seat because I have such a clear vision of what I need to do to get around these places well. And I guess I lacked that at some ovals and other places we go to.
I think it's just a confidence thing for me. I know what I need to do to get out there to contend at the front and bust up the lap times and know what the car needs to feel like, and know with a good team around me like I do right now, I'm able to get what I need.
Q: Boris Said rattled off a list of drivers that have come to him for road race racing tips, have any come to you over the last few years to get some tips, and how much information to you give them? Because you don't want to give away all your secrets.
MARCOS AMBROSE: Maybe Boris should come ask me for advice, too.
Everybody is asking me for advice, whether I'm talking to Boris and getting information off him or vice versa. I've had some Cup guys clearly, you know, I've helped. I've helped David Reutimann get some two-seater experience and get around some tracks and try to give him some fundamental tips on how to go road racing or how I do it. Martin Truex has looked at what I'm doing and taken a look at that and will probably take away with him some aspect of what I do.
I've got nothing to hide. If anyone wants to come up and ask me a question, I'll be glad it to answer it for them. But road racing and racing in general is a very personal thing, and what works for me doesn't necessarily work for anyone else. And you know, I'm just lucky that I've got some ability to get around a road course and know what to look for and have that confidence to really be able to get there.
Q: We've seen other drivers come over and have road course success, and you've had success on the road courses in the NASCAR Series; how much more difficult does it make it when you go to the ovals, or does it not make it more difficult at all?
MARCOS AMBROSE: That's a great question and it's really a question I'm trying to answer. Clearly I'm good on a road course; that I'm able to contend up there in the Top-10 with them on most occasions and run with them.
Yet, on the ovals I'm a little hit and miss. I have had occasions where I've run, qualified and run Top-5 speed; the other weekends where I don't run that well and it's a big question mark and that's really why I've made the decision to try and make a change. I feel like it's time for me to make a change, because I just need to change my environment to see if it's me that's the missing link, or whether it's everything around me.
So I'm looking for the answers to that question. I don't know whether there is any magic to it, whether it's just pure, hard work and driving the car flat out; whether it's road racing, kind of back entirely to the feel of an oval race car and be able to set them up.
So I'm not sure what it is. Clearly I'm lacking something right now on the ovals on a consistent basis, and you know, not many road racers have been able to cross over. Some have, but not many, and I hope that I'm able to prove any critics wrong and get an opportunity here to really answer that question, not just for me, but for everyone else that watches what I do.
Q: In any of the races since Infineon, have you had to save fuel and actually done kinds of what you were doing at Infineon, except kind of with success, and is there any changes to the way you do that at the Glen after what happened at Infineon?
MARCOS AMBROSE: Not at all. What happened at Infineon was an error. Whatever circumstances got us to that point, yeah, we were short on fuel. We were three laps short. If it had been a green-and-white-checkered scenario.
We were trying to save fuel. I got greedy trying to save too much and we cost ourselves a win. It was a fundamental error, no doubt about it, and when you make a mistake like that, the worst thing you can do is stew on it, think about it and let it affect future performances.
I had a pretty hard couple of days getting over that weekend. So it's fine now and no one will give the race back to me. The race is gone and Jimmie Johnson is going to be forever known as the winner of that race, not me. So all I can do is look forward, not back. I'm looking forward to Watkins Glen just because I have a chance to run at the front. We have put a lot of effort into our road course program and I feel like we are in as good of conditions as we can be to contend for the win.
Q: Marcos, British accent survived in Australia and New Zealand and we butchered it in the USA. Do you think your accent has had any kind of effect in relation to your development as a NASCAR driver and how would you describe that?
MARCOS AMBROSE: Well, I'm not as good looking at Kasey Kahne, so I need something to lean on, right.
I feel like being Australian, when I first came to NASCAR racing, was going to be a disadvantage. It's been anything but to be honest with you. I think I've been appreciated for being -- sounding different, acting different, different attitude to the way I go about my business. It's an attribute. I'm a proud Australian and a proud Australian living in a great country, the USA. It's a great blend, and I've had nothing but good words said about, I guess, my attitude or way of life and I feel like I'm in a good place.
If I can go there and win races, I'll be known as the fastest Australian in NASCAR, so I don't mind that. I play up on it sometimes if I want to but in general, I sound like Crocodile Dundee and it works out pretty well.
Q: Driving on a road course compared to an oval, the spotters have to be spread out quite further, how much will the spotters be able to help you at Watkins Glen compared to an oval?
MARCOS AMBROSE: I've come from racing where I haven't had spotters; so the whole spotter thing for me on a road course is fairly new but I appreciate it. It helps me get a feel on what's happening around me, but at the end of the day, I don't necessarily use them as my beat -- as my eyes. I have to use my mirrors a lot.
I've got a good feel on a road course about where I should position myself anyway without the spotter needing to tell me what's going on. I think a spotter on a road course plays less of a role than what they do on a Super Speedway or intermediate oval where you're going so fast and the banking is so heavy that you physically isn't see in the mirror because you don't have time to or you can't take your eyes off the road in front or you can't lift your head.
There's a lot of things going on on ovals and road courses that you need -- on an oval, a Super Speedway or high-speed, downforce oval that you need a spotter for. Road racing, less so. I don't really use a spotter that much on a road course. Really just to reinforce what I'm already thinking.
Q: Outside of road courses, you've had some pretty decent runs on some ovals, Bristol comes to mind, Richmond comes to mind. Outside of a road course track, what do you see as a place where maybe you have the best shot at winning?
MARCOS AMBROSE: Well, it's been a rough year, and we expected that any track this year was going to potentially be a good track for us. We have had such a rotten year, our confidence is low, I'm low as to really to pinpoint any trace racks. Pocono has always been good to me; Bristol has always been good to me; Talladega, too.
So there are plenty of tracks coming up that we have run well at, but it's definitely been an underachieving year. No matter which way you put it, we can run well, but we haven't run to our own expectations. So I'm a little shy of giving you a direct answer on that, but I feel like if you're going to be a NASCAR driver, you need to perform on every single track and have a chance to win at every single track.
Q: Given that you and Tad's team kind of came up together in NASCAR, how big would it be to get a victory with that group before you part ways at the end of the year?
MARCOS AMBROSE: It's something that we have spoken about, a lot. We just wanted to finish off this year the right way with the right attitude together. It's been a great journey with each other. We are really proud of what we have achieved and it's been an awesome experience for both sides and we want to win a race in the Cup Series before we finish, because I feel like that's the only thing left on our to-do list that we haven't achieved together.
It's never easy making a decision like I've made, and obviously going through the issues and the repercussions of the choices that you make; so it's been a rough rode here the last couple of months. I feel like if we can get a win for them, Watkins Glen will be our best chance for the year. It will be very special for all of us, and you know, I'm proud of what we have achieved together, but I'll be even more proud if I can sneak a win between now and before the end of the season.
THE MODERATOR: Marcos, appreciate you taking time out. Best of luck at a busy Glen weekend for you.
MARCOS AMBROSE: Thanks very much, guys, hope you tuned in and hope we get that 47 to victory lane