Homestead: JTG Racing, Ambrose preview

Ambrose reflects on first full season in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Marcos Ambrose has his backpack packed for his journey from America to Launceston, Tasmania, Australia as soon as the checkered flag falls on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season...

Ambrose reflects on first full season in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Marcos Ambrose has his backpack packed for his journey from America to Launceston, Tasmania, Australia as soon as the checkered flag falls on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For Ambrose, his season has somewhat exceeded his JTG-Daugherty Racing team's expectations as they currently sit 18th in the championship standings with four top-five and seven top-10 finishes.

"On Monday after Homestead, I have a 3:50 p.m. flight to Australia and I can't wait to get home because my family is already there," Ambrose said. "It's just been a great year for the No. 47 Little Debbie JTG-Daugherty Racing team in the Cup Series. We didn't expect that we would be in position to finish in the top-20 in points because we were just hoping to finish in the top-30," Ambrose said. "We have exceeded our expectations and we have been very competitive. We have seven top-10 finishes, but were so close to having more. We had at least three 11th place finishes that with a bit of luck would have been top-10s. But, it doesn't really matter. We've done plenty this year."

Ambrose's flashes of brilliance occurred at a variety of tracks, not just road courses. In addition to finishing third at Infineon Raceway and second at Watkins Glen International, he finished fourth at Talladega Superspeedway, tenth and third at Bristol Motor Speedway, sixth at both Pocono Raceway and Daytona International Speedway. In 35 starts, he's racked up 15 top-15 finishes.

"Our team is growing and our results this year have helped prove that," Ambrose said. "I'm a lot more confident as a driver and secure in myself that I can do the job. All those things will play a part. You can't guarantee you are going to move forward. It's a challenging world we live in. We are very focused on understanding that not every step is going to be forward and sometimes you may take a step backwards."

The Australian driver knows there are no guarantees in this business, but he feels his JTG-Daugherty Racing team will be able to build a strong case for a spot in the Chase in 2010.

"We want to win a race and make the Chase," Ambrose said. "Sure, it's a lofty goal, but I think it's achievable with our No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota if everything goes well. I think we are worthy of it and can do it. We know we gave away 300 points before the Chase started and we were about 200 points behind in the end."

Before he looks ahead to 2010, Ambrose is ready to tackle Homestead-Miami Speedway with his No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota and close the book on the season. Last year, Ambrose completed 222 laps and finished 42nd after sustaining damage to his machine in the 267-lap event at the 1.5-mile oval.

"We were in a crash," Ambrose said. "I'm hoping to end the season on a better note this time. I'm ready for a fresh start. It's been a long year and I'm pretty tired. I'm not starting to wilt, but I feel the effects of the season. I'm looking forward to refreshing my mind and body by getting back into training and forgetting about going in circles for a while. I'm looking forward to joining my family in Australia and starting a new year in NASCAR."

-credit: jtgr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Marcos Ambrose