Richmond: Marcos Ambrose preview

CREW CHIEF FEELS AMBROSE CAN NOW SHOOT FOR VICTORY -- The recent run of strong form from Australian NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose has his crew chief talking up his chances in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Frank Kerr, crew chief of the ...

CREW CHIEF FEELS AMBROSE CAN NOW SHOOT FOR VICTORY --

The recent run of strong form from Australian NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose has his crew chief talking up his chances in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Frank Kerr, crew chief of the #47 entry of JTG Daugherty Racing, has made it known that he has reset his expectations for Ambrose this season, saying that a breakthrough Sprint Cup victory in the top level of NASCAR is not only not out of the question, but could come at an oval track race.

"We thought at the beginning of the season that we would have a shot to win at a road course, but now we feel like we have a shot to win before we even get to a road course," said Kerr.

For Frankie's full comments ahead of this weekend's Crown Royal presents the Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia, see below.

NEW CAR FOR AMBROSE IN PHOENIX --

After last weekend's outstanding fourth place finish at Talladega Superspeedway -- Ambrose's best oval finish at Sprint Cup level -- the 32-year-old will run a brand new car at the Richmond short track this weekend.

The car, chassis 622 out of the Michael Waltrip Racing stable, will carry Ambrose to his first Sprint Cup start at Richmond, but the Australian does boast two top 15 finishes at the 0.75-mile oval in the Nationwide Series.

BUSH'S BEANS LIVERY DEBUT THIS WEEKEND --

Another first will be unveiled this weekend when Ambrose and JTG Daugherty Racing debut the Bush's Beans livery for the #47 entry.

The blue, white and gold paint scheme will run for two weeks, both this weekend in Richmond and the following event in Darlington, South Carolina.

It will be Bush's Beans first event as a major sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series, having backed Ambrose's JTG Daugherty Racing entry in the Nationwide Series for the past two seasons.

POWER RANKINGS REFLECT STRONG FORM --

Ambrose's strong 2009 form continues to be recognised well beyond his dedicated fan base, which continues to grow on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

Ambrose has featured in the 'Power Rankings', the tips devised by statistical experts to predict form and aid race fans with their Fantasy League picks for each race, at not one but two major outlets in the US.

Jorge Andreas Mondaca of FOX Sports has Ambrose in the 11th position in his rankings this week and also flags him as this week's biggest mover, improving nine positions in his tally.

"Did you notice Marcos Ambrose finished fourth at Talladega? He probably shouldn't be this high in the rankings, but the guy deserves as much attention as he can get -- he's proving a lot of people wrong (myself included)," said Mondaca.

WHAT MARCOS HAS TO SAY:

On the track --

"Richmond is a short track but it feels a little bigger and faster and drives like a blend between a short track and an intermediate track," said Ambrose.

"It's a spectacular race track, especially under lights, and I'm looking forward to racing there because we've got some good form going.

"Obviously, it's a completely different place to Talladega but I'm feeling good all the same."

On the race --

"We have Bush's Best® Baked Beans on the car for the first time at Richmond and we want to perform well for them and keep the momentum going," Ambrose said.

"We've surprised ourselves and we are doing really well.

"We're just going to keep doing what we have been doing and go to Richmond to race without expectations. The team is keeping an open mind."

AND A WORD FROM #47 CREW CHIEF FRANK KERR --

"We thought at the beginning of the season that we would have a shot to win at a road course, but now we feel like we have a shot to win before we even get to a road course," said Kerr.

"We keep getting better and unfortunately the points are not indicative of just how well we have been running.

"If it hadn't been for a few mechanical failures, we would be in the top 10.

"David (Reutimann) led the most laps in the fall at Richmond and we looked at what the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry did there last year.

"We feel like we can also be a contender. I was worried about places like Bristol, Martinsville and even Phoenix (International Raceway), but we excelled.

"We have found some new things for Richmond that will help all of us and we are really looking forward to this weekend and also having Bush's Beans on board with us."

-credit: ma/bam

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