Indy IRP: Marcos Ambrose preview

AMBROSE REFRESHED AND READY TO FLY TEAM AUSTRALIA FLAG AT INDY Team Australia NASCAR Truck driver Marcos Ambrose has used a break in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to rest and refresh after a run of nine-straight races that saw the Aussie ...


Team Australia NASCAR Truck driver Marcos Ambrose has used a break in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to rest and refresh after a run of nine-straight races that saw the Aussie Vineyards-backed driver rise in stature and achieve some remarkable results in the green and gold colours of Team Australia.

Ambrose returns to action this weekend in the #20 Aussie Vineyards/Aussie Experience F-150 in Round 15 of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, the city regarded as the home of American motorsport.

After some sensational form on the wide-open speedways, it is now short track speed that the two-time Australian V8 Supercar Champion is chasing. A third place finish at Kansas, followed by qualifying fastest the very next week in Kentucky, has gone a long way to putting Ambrose and Team Australia on the map in NASCAR.

Those results both came on 1.5 mile ovals -- this weekend the Team Australia entry will be tackling a track less than half that size. Ambrose realises that the short track discipline is arguably the toughest to learn and tested last Tuesday at the short Carraway Speedway in North Carolina to refine the short track set-up of the Aussie Vineyards/Aussie Experience F-150.

This week's race marks Ambrose's 12th NASCAR start since switching racing disciplines from Australian touring cars to American stock cars. The Tasmanian born driver is certainly gaining confidence with every race, but is still keen to absorb as much information as possible.

This race will also be especially significant for Team Australia, as the Aussie Vineyards squad's Champ Car and Atlantic team race shop is in Indianapolis. With a break in Champ Car World Series action this weekend, many of the Team Australia Champ Car and Atlantic crew will take some time out from preparations for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Denver to cheer on Ambrose and the Aussie Vineyards/Aussie Experience F-150.


Marcos Ambrose - #20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards/Aussie Experience Ford F-150

"I went to New York during the break and had some family time with Sonya and Tabitha, generally just getting away from motorsport for a little bit," said Ambrose.

"We tested the Team Australia F-150 last Tuesday at Carraway Speedway, a short oval in North Carolina, then had a ride day on Wednesday at Rockingham Speedway and then my team-mate Bobby East had a test on Thursday, so we have really been working on the set-up of our Wood Brothers/JTG trucks.

"I went to Gateway last weekend as a spectator to watch the Busch Series race and support the Wood Brothers/JTG Busch Series drivers. Then on Monday I was at the team's shop as we prepare the Aussie Vineyards/Aussie Experience truck for this weekend.

"I don't think we need to do anything different in this second part of the season. We still have a lot more to learn, but it requires the same approach. We have shown some great speed and if we can turn that into more consistent speed the results will come.

"The best way to describe our approach at the moment is 'conservative aggressive'. There have been times where I have let a couple of trucks past and sacrificed some track position just to keep out of trouble and keep the rhythm of our race going.

"I feel more confident now and I am keeping an open mind about things. As well as everything I am learning, we are a new team visiting new tracks, but the results will come because we are working so well together and we are turning into a strong combination.

"I would like to think that from here on we will be running in the top 10 and who knows, maybe we can get a win or two before the year is out.

"The short tracks are definitely turning out to be the most different thing for me in this learning experience at the moment. I really enjoy driving them, but it is hard to race on them because there is just never any spare race track to work with.

"The first goal is to get the Aussie Vineyards/Aussie Experience truck handling better for the short tracks. For the big speedways we have a very good set-up, so we went testing on a short track to get a better set-up for the short tracks that will let us run in the top 10.

"A strong set-up will help me and allow me to race because it is very hard to run in the pack when you are gradually sliding backwards. These short tracks are hard, but we have unlocked the tricks to the other types of speedways, so we will get there eventually."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia

"They tell me they are drinking more and more wine in the mid-west, so it's great that Marcos will be flying the Aussie Vineyards colours in the home of US motorsport this weekend," said Gore.

"The Craftsman Trucks don't run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it is hoped that Marcos will get the chance to race there in the next few years.

"Like every track this season, this will be a new experience for Marcos and we are sure that he will adapt accordingly."

-team australia

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Bobby East