Talladega: Marcos Ambrose preview

AMBROSE ADOPTS DIFFERENT APPROACH FOR TALLADEGA Marcos Ambrose will take a different approach into the second superspeedway restrictor plate race of the season in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama this weekend. Ambrose ...


Marcos Ambrose will take a different approach into the second superspeedway restrictor plate race of the season in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama this weekend.

Ambrose finished in 17th place at the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway -- which along with Talladega is the only other restrictor plate venue on the NASCAR schedule.

The Australian ran a conservative race at Daytona, determined to make a consistent start to his first full season in the top level of NASCAR. Points were also weighing heavily on Ambrose's mind, keen to cement his #47 JTG Daugherty Racing entry in the top 35 in owner's points, guaranteeing the car a start each week.

Now entering the eighth race of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Ambrose has stated that his superspeedway tactics this weekend will differ from those employed in Daytona, with a more aggressive and attacking approach in order.

With five top 20 finishes already this season, Ambrose has shown impressive race pace so far this season and been a big part of the advance of Michael Waltrip Racing, along with stablemates David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip.


Marcos Ambrose will make his Talladega Superspeedway Sprint Cup debut in the Aaron's 499 in Alabama this weekend.

Ambrose has three previous starts at Talladega, which is the biggest oval on the NASCAR schedule.

At 2.66-miles, Talladega is a daunting challenge for rookies and veterans alike, but so far in his NASCAR career Ambrose has run well at restrictor plate races.

Ambrose's best restrictor plate finish is 14th place in the Nationwide Series race at Daytona last season. The driver from Launceston, Tasmania also has a top 20 finish at Talladega, coming in 2006 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.


The Aaron's 499 is what NASCAR refers to as an 'Impound Race', where cars are locked in the Sprint Cup garage immediately after qualifying.

It means that teams will start Sunday's 188-lap race with the same set-up they decide to adopt for qualifying, with cars released to teams on Sunday a few hours before the race.

With qualifying a single car run and the race to be run in the usual restrictor plate-style pack racing, it means that teams that have to qualify into the race on speed have some thinking to do ahead of this weekend.

Ambrose, already locked into this weekend's race, is used to impound races from his two seasons racing in the Nationwide Series, where the majority of events are run to impound rules.


On the race --

"To be fair, we were being conservative at Daytona and trying to stay out of trouble to get a solid start in the points," said Ambrose.

"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 our Little Debbie car 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 stars have aligned, but we are ahead of our expectations.

"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 sponsors a 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."

On the track --

"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," said Ambrose.

"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.

"You've got to get used to bumping people, drafting and feeling that air. 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."


"Marcos has gained a lot of confidence and has done an incredible job," said Kerr.

"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: ma/bam

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