Talladega: JTG Racing, Ambrose preview

AMBROSE PRIMED TO HAVE DRAFTING DOWN TO A SCIENCE AT TALLADEGA TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 21, 2009) -- The prestigious Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway is where Marcos Ambrose made his first superspeedway appearance in the No. 47 Little...

AMBROSE PRIMED TO HAVE DRAFTING DOWN TO A SCIENCE AT TALLADEGA

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 21, 2009) -- The prestigious Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway is where Marcos Ambrose made his first superspeedway appearance in the No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota Camry. Now, he faces the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. He's aiming to supersede his 17th-place finish delivered in February with the same car.

"To be fair, we were being conservative at Daytona and trying to stay out of trouble to get a solid start in the points," Ambrose said. "We looked at Daytona as one race we just wanted to finish and not get too crazy. At Talladega, it's a different beast for us. I want to be in there mixing it up all day with the Little Debbie Toyota and be in a good position for the last 30 to 40 laps. I can't wait to do it, but it's a challenge no doubt."

The 32-year-old has two NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at the steeply-banked, 2.66-mile asphalt tri-oval. However, this weekend's Aaron's 499 will be his first time competing and drafting in his Cup car at Talladega.

"Drafting is something that if you are not comfortable, it's very hard to get in your head to keep your foot to the floor," Ambrose said. "I watched Michael (Waltrip) a lot at Daytona and he did some crazy slide jumps to get up in there and I guess that's what it takes on this level to really mix it up. I don't think there's anything that can get you ready for Daytona or Talladega. Usually, you either feel confident and ready to do it or you don't feel ready and you just can't. I feel like I am at the point where I have some experience and feel confident that I've got good control of my car."

As Ambrose sets out to master drafting, he aims tosecure his second top-10 finish this year. His first occurred at Bristol Motor Speedway (10th-place).

"You've got to get used to bumping people, drafting and feeling that air," Ambrose said. "It's a science that someone like Michael (Waltrip) has figured out. You've got to just get up in there with the Little Debbie Toyota and get it done. If you really thought about what you were doing, you would realize how crazy it is. You probably wouldn't do it."

One thing is for certain, the Australian driver from Launceston, Tasmania is focused on this weekend and wants to keep his momentum going after a top-15 finish (14th-place) at Phoenix International Raceway. So far, his first full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with JTG-Daugherty Racing has somewhat exceeded his expectations.

"The stars have aligned, but we are ahead of our expectations," Ambrose said. "I hoped it was going to be like this and my career needed it. I knew this was my go year. Tad and Jodi (Geschickter) and Brad (Daugherty) have put an awesome package together for us. I thought I just wanted to be competitive, but now we are getting greedy. We are looking for top-10s each week. All I want to do in 2009 is make an impression and every lap is a chance for me to show people I belong here. I want to give the sponsorsa reason to smile about their program. I just want to get out there and have the results so they feel like they have made a good choice to put me in the car."

Crew chief Frank Kerr believes Ambrose is the best man for the job.

"Marcos has gained a lot of confidence and has done an incredible job," Kerr said. "Because he is more comfortable and confident, he will be a better drafter than Daytona, where we held back. We just wanted to finish the race and have a good point's day. Now, he's not holding back."

-credit: jtgr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Marcos Ambrose