Bristol: Marcos Ambrose preview

AMBROSE LOOKS TO UNLOCK SHORT-TRACK FORM IN BRISTOL Marcos Ambrose will start his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the daunting Bristol Motor Speedway when he runs the Food City 500 in Bristol, Tennessee this weekend. The steep banks of...

AMBROSE LOOKS TO UNLOCK SHORT-TRACK FORM IN BRISTOL

Marcos Ambrose will start his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the daunting Bristol Motor Speedway when he runs the Food City 500 in Bristol, Tennessee this weekend.

The steep banks of the half-mile Bristol 'bullring' are as hostile a racing environment as you will find anywhere around the world, with forty-three 850-horsepower Sprint Cup cars racing door-to-door for 500 laps in a 160,000 seat stadium.

This will be the first short-track for Ambrose in the top-flight Sprint Cup Series, the first of two-consecutive weekends spent on half-mile ovals with the flat half-mile Martinsville Speedway the following weekend.

Ambrose has tested at the half-mile 'Little Rock' facility in North Carolina in the past week in preparation for these two short-track races, which come at a crucial time in this year's series.

After this weekend's race in Bristol, each week's 35 guaranteed starters will be based off of the top 35 cars in the owner's standings entering that weekend's event. Currently, Ambrose's #47 entry sits 28th in the owner's standings.

LOWE'S TYRE TEST KEEPS AMBROSE ON-TRACK DURING OFF-WEEK--

The first of four off-weekends in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule was not an entirely inactive time for Marcos Ambrose.

The #47 Little Debbie driver is participating in a two-day tyre test for Goodyear at the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ambrose is the Toyota representative at the test, with Jimmie Johnson (#48 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (#98 Ford) and Kasey Kahne (#9 Dodge) the other drivers present.

The two days of testing should be of benefit for Ambrose and his JTG Daugherty Racing crew this May when the Australian seeks to qualify for the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway via the Sprint Showdown.

The following weekend Ambrose will compete in the Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte on Memorial Day.

AMBROSE CREW ONE MAN DOWN POST-ATLANTA --

The #47 JTG Daughterty Racing crew of Marcos Ambrose will field a substitute refueller for the next four races after their regular 'gas man' was suspended as a result of an incident in Atlanta two weeks ago.

Jimmy Watts has been suspended from the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events (until April 22) for rule violations during the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Watts was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 9-15-U (crew members must not go on the race track for any reason while the cars are racing or while the cars are running under the yellow flag or the red flag, unless otherwise directed to do so by a NASCAR official). Watts has also been placed on NASCAR probation until December 31.

In addition, Frank Kerr, crew chief for the #47 entry, has been placed on NASCAR probation until December 31 for violating Sections 12-1 and 9-4-A (crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of the team).

WHAT MARCOS HAS TO SAY:

On the track --

"Bristol is a really tough, really fast short track and it tests everyone and makes even the veterans nervous," said Ambrose.

"It's definitely one of my favourites places. It's so unbelieveable you have to see it for yourself.

"I've run there in Truck and Nationwide and every time I've left there I've felt that I've learned something and improved my form there for the next time.

On the race --

"It will be my first Sprint Cup race at Bristol -- 500 laps is going to be a massive challenge. In some respects I'm glad we go there after the off-week so that we as drivers are well rested.

"We've had the tyre test this week to warm ourselves back up and I think we've just got to roll the Little Debbie #47 off the hauler and see what we've got.

"It's the first short-track of the year. I think we have shown that we have a good package on the intermediate tracks, but the short tracks are different.

"I love every race I run at Bristol and this one will be at another level again. It should be great but we are going into the unknown a little.

"The DNF last time out in Atlanta knocked our momentum a little but I'm very confident that we can get back on form in Bristol."

-credit: ma/bam

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Paul Menard
Teams JTG Daugherty Racing