Marcos Ambrose - Ford interview 2008-08-05

Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 59 Kingsford Ford Fusion and the No. 21 Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion, will compete in both NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup races this weekend at Watkins Glen. The Australian talks about his racing ...

Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 59 Kingsford Ford Fusion and the No. 21 Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion, will compete in both NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup races this weekend at Watkins Glen. The Australian talks about his racing technique through the 11-turn road course. This weekend marks Ambrose's 59th Nationwide start and third Cup start.

TWO ROAD RACES BACK-TO-BACK; IS THIS YOUR COMFORTABLE PART OF THE SEASON? "These two races here feel like I'm on a Mediterranean holiday. Because the stress and strains of an oval track for me where I feel like I haven't quite mastered the trade, where here [on a road course] I feel comfortable in my surroundings. I know that if I do my job as I should that we should have a decent day."

IT FEELS LIKE A HOLIDAY, BUT YOU'RE RACING IN BOTH THE NATIONWIDE AND CUP RACES. "Well, that's right but I know road racing and I have a confidence in myself that I should do okay if I could just do what I do well. It's nice to have that feeling of security going into qualifying. It's a pressure deal, you only get one lap in the Cup deal, but it's as easy as it's going to get when you're trying to do it they way we're doing it. It feels good. I enjoy it for the experience. I like Watkins Glen. It's a good, fun place to be. Hopefully, the weekend goes well."

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WATKINS GLEN? "It's just a flowing track. It's got a lot of history to it. It's known as one of America's finest race tracks, as far as road racing goes. It's got a lot of character. The corners have good banking on most of them. The track is in a beautiful location in America. It's just a nice place to be. The fans, by the looks of it, they have a history of going there. They really know what they're doing when the get there and who they're following. They're fairly well-educated fans, too. Watkins Glen is a unique race track and the people go there to watch road racing which is nice too."

ARE ROAD COURSES MORE STRATEGY RACES OR SPEED RACES? WILL THE FASTEST DRIVER WIN OR THE BEST HANDLING DRIVER? "At Watkins Glen, you've got to have a really good car to make it work. I feel like car handling plays more a part of Watkins Glen than it does at Canada or Mexico just because it's a handling-style race track. So, brakes aren't an issue there at Watkins Glen. It's not as technical. It just really comes down to really being able to run the high-speed corners without getting yourself in trouble and carrying momentum. It's a handling race track. I think the fastest car will probably win the race, where as in Canada and Mexico, sometimes it's not the case. Strategy comes more into play at those other two venues."

CAN YOU BE TOO LOOSE ON A ROAD COURSE?  "Oh, yeah, you're loose all the
time.  You've got to set them up loose to be able to run.  It's no
different from oval racing to road-course racing.  You've got to let the
car do the work for you.  If you're putting a steering wheel into it, it's
not as fast.  It's easy to make the car too loose, for sure."

COMPARED TO BEING TIGHT? "Each corner is unique and different. You've just got to get a balance out of the whole lap. Some corners you're going to be tight even when you complain about being loose, there are some corners that you're still not going to have enough front grip on. It's a compromise on how you want it. It's a very personal thing setting up a road course. What some drivers call loose, someone else might call balanced. It's different driving style and how you want go about it."

DO YOU DRIFT ON A ROAD COURSE? "Yeah, I try to drift the car as much as I can. I generally set the car up to be a little tighter than most and a little stiffer than most so I can have the confidence to drift in the corner well. I try to get a nice forward slide going if I can. I feel like that's the best way I get around a road course."

CAN YOU DRAFT IN A ROAD COURSE? "No, it plays no part, really. What you gain in draft, you loose by being conservative on the brakes trying to stay off of them. It's not going to come into play."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Marcos Ambrose