Phoenix II: Marcos Ambrose qualifying report

AMBROSE QUALIFIES 21ST IN PHOENIX -- Marcos Ambrose has qualified in 21st position for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona today. Earlier in the day the Australian was 11th fastest in first practice...


Marcos Ambrose has qualified in 21st position for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona today.

Earlier in the day the Australian was 11th fastest in first practice aboard the #47 Little Debbie-backed entry of JTG Daugheryt Racing around the odd-shaped 1-mile oval.

Ambrose has the fifth best finishing average at Phoenix among this weekend's 43-driver Sprint Cup field at the Avondale, Arizona venue.


Ambrose is keen to put in maximum effort to finish his first full season in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on a high at the final two races of the season.

After a heartbreaking finish in Texas last weekend, Ambrose is confident that he can aim for top 10 finishes in the final two events of the season.

Ambrose is also working closely with MWR stable-mate David Reutimann as the pair aim towards a big showing in season 2010, when they will be joined by Phoenix polesitter Martin Truex Jr.

Reutimann, who has a similar driving style to Ambrose and has formed a friendship with the Aussie this season, will enjoy additional backing from TUMS next season along with major backer Aaron's.


McKee Foods, a family bakery best known for their Little Debbie brand, announced today that they will once again sponsor 'Awesome Aussie' Marcos Ambrose and the # 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing entry in 2010.

Chris McKee, Executive Vice President of Marketing & Sales, says the sponsorship of Ambrose has paid dividends in 2009.

"Marcos is a tremendous driver and a great spokesperson for our Little Debbie brand. Little Debbie is all about adding simple fun and enjoyment to life and Marcos' ever-present smile and upbeat attitude really illustrates our brand message," said McKee.

"We are impressed with his performance in his first full season in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing and we are excited about the possibilities for next year. 2010 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Little Debbie Brand --so it's a big year for Little Debbie and I think it is going to be a big year for Marcos and JTG-Daugherty Racing."

2010 will mark the fifth consecutive season that Little Debbie has been a business partner with JTG-Daugherty Racing. Team co-owner Tad Geschickter is proud of the partnership.

"Little Debbie is a great, family-oriented brand and we are proud to help promote their products," said Geschickter.

"In a year when many sponsors are leaving the sport, I'm thankful for their continued support of our team. We look forward to rewarding them with an even bigger return next season on the track and in the stores."

The 2010 JTG Daugherty Racing Sprint Cup sponsorship roster will include liveries from Little Debbie, Kleenex, Clorox, Kingsford, Lance Crackers and Bush's Beans.


"We have Phoenix and Homestead (Miami Speedway) left to make an impression," said Ambrose.

"As a group, we've come so far and we've got a lot of speed. Looking back at Texas, I take some responsibility because I didn't slow down enough to save fuel. We ran out with a lap and a half to go.

"It was stressful and a hard call. It depends on a lot. How much fuel did they get in on the last stop? Did they get it full or not? Were the reads during the day accurate? Also, speeds picked up at night and we burned more fuel with the denser air. A lot of things were going on and a lot of guys ran out of fuel at Texas."

On working with MWR stable-mate David Reutimann:

"David is just a great guy and in my opinion he is just not rated like he should be because he's one of the best drivers I've ever seen," said Ambrose.

"I'm in very similar equipment to him. We talk with each other and we share knowledge with one another. We are becoming quite good friends. You need to have that to have a successful team. You've got to be friends to work well together.

"Mutual respect is important. When I first came in to work with the MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) guys, they really didn't know what I was all about. As time has evolved, we are working better together and we have a better bond. We trust each other, which is important on and off the track. I think it is working out great for us.

"As a group we've come so far. We've gained a lot of speed and I've gained a lot of confidence and knowledge. We do need to learn to win as a team and we're not quite there yet. We have got to turn a good team into a winning team and that's just eliminating mistakes.

"We are not crashing cars. We are finishing races when we can. We are seeing where we are lacking as a team and we are going to work hard on that in the off-season.

On the final two races of the season:

"To win at Phoenix or Homestead would be really something," said Ambrose,

"Phoenix is a bit of a challenge. We've ran in the top-15 there, but I don't think we have had the car we needed to mess with the front-runners. We are taking a different setup this time with more grip. Hopefully, we can hit it like we did at Texas. You just never know in these races.

"Phoenix is a tough track. It's rough and an older track. It's got a few cracks that can mess up the handling through Turns 3 and 4. We want to run well there and finish our season out strong. In the mean time, I don't want to ruin Jimmie Johnson's race that's for sure."

-credit: ma/bam media

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Jimmie Johnson , Marcos Ambrose , David Reutimann
Teams JTG Daugherty Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing