This Week in Ford Racing March 28, 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Marcos Ambrose, who drove a Ford Falcon to back-to-back V8 Supercar championships in Australia in 2003-'04, has moved halfway across the world, to North Carolina, in...
This Week in Ford Racing
March 28, 2006
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Marcos Ambrose, who drove a Ford Falcon to back-to-back V8 Supercar championships in Australia in 2003-'04, has moved halfway across the world, to North Carolina, in order to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Ambrose will drive the No. 20 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing F-150 starting this weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, which is not too far from where the famed Wood Brothers ran their racing operation for more than 50 years before moving to North Carolina a few years ago. Ambrose, 29, missed the first three races of the season due to NASCAR rules that prohibit "rookie" drivers from competing on superspeedways until they have demonstrated they have the ability to race at competitive speeds on shorter tracks. Despite being a two-time champion in another series, Ambrose says he knows the transition to NASCAR could take some time.
MARCOS AMBROSE -- No. 20 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford F-150
YOU'VE WON CHAMPIONSHIPS IN AUSTRALIA. WHY LEAVE THAT SUCCESS AND COME HERE? "The question is, 'Why not?' I'm at an age where I feel I want to challenge myself again, try something new. I'd achieved pretty much everything I could've ever dreamt of back in Australia and in that form of racing. My family's young. I love NASCAR. I've always had aspirations to come up here and be part of the scene, if I could, in NASCAR racing. And really the timing was just perfect, so I couldn't refuse. And, really, with the help of Ford Australia and Ford USA, it's come together beautifully and it's a dream come true. Just living the dream, man."
WHAT ARE SOME OF THINGS YOU'VE HAD TO DO TO PREPARE FOR RACING OVER HERE? "Well, what have I done, and what am I still doing, really, because there's still more to learn. I have to adapt so much more my driving style and the way I go about racing. Even my lifestyle. There's more life on the road, which we're looking forward to as a change and a challenge. I've done a lot research on NASCAR; you know, I've been a huge fan for years and years. In Australia it's pretty hard to get decent information down there -- it's a long, long away, and especially six years ago it was very hard to get any kind of information on NASCAR. I've been watching NASCAR races as soon as they came on cable TV in Australia, since 2000, the late '90s. I've done a lot research on how to drive the vehicles; setting the cars up and the trucks up seems very different from what I'm used to. I've read a lot of books, and really just try to soak it up.
"There's going to be nothing like driving the vehicles and racing them to really learn -- and that's on the run. That's what we're planning to do. The Wood Brothers, with this program, by starting slowly in the Truck series, without too much expectation, we're going to be able to learn out of the funnel just a little bit."
YOU'RE LIVING IN CONCORD, N.C. WHAT ABOUT CULTURAL DIFFERENCES? "Australians and Americans, we're on the same page. We have the same morals, we have the same values. The two countries are very similar. I've lived in Europe a lot, in France and a little bit of time in Switzerland, and England, and those cultures are very different from Australia, so I feel that Australia is just another state of America, really, in the way we think. We've had a great time in North Carolina, so far, being welcome with open arms -- from people in the racing industry and from people down the street, too. Everything has been fantastic. We've had a great time journeying across to America. We don't feel like starting fresh at all; it just feels like we're carrying on as normal. NASCAR is the biggest motorsports show in the world. Number one, it moves around a lot. But really, for numbers of cars and numbers of teams, numbers of race shops, NASCAR is it. And that's why I'm here. I love Charlotte for exactly that reason. It's an exciting place to be if you love racing. I've come across to try and race every week, and that's what NASCAR and Charlotte are all about."
FIRST RACE IS MARTINSVILLE THIS WEEKEND... "We're aiming for Martinsville. It's going to be pretty tough to qualify there. We expect, maybe, just under 50 trucks. We have to pre-qualify for that show, so it's not going to be an easy thing for the first race, but we anticipate we're going to be there and we're going to give it our best to make the race."
HAVE YOU RUN COMPUTER SIMULATIONS TO HELP PREPARE FOR THAT TRACK? "The race truck that I have is top quality and it's really going to come down to me having enough experience, if I can, before I get there, to qualify for that race. We're not expecting miracles here. You know, it's going to be a long road for me in the Truck Series to where I can be consistent every week and make the show every week. We're just going to take our time. There's not much you can do. You can't run simulations, really, you got to show up and see how you go, and hopefully all the preparation work has been enough."
HOW'S YOUR PATIENCE HOLDING OUT IN WAITING FOR YOUR FIRST RACE?? "We tested [last] week for the first time and that was great to get that out of the way because I've been running out of things to say. You can only talk to the guys so much without actually doing your job. I'm just so happy to be here and to be with the Wood Brothers and to be driving already. The race will come in time. You know, you can't rush these things. If you spend every day waiting for that race to come, it's going to make it a very long [time]. We only moved in five six weeks ago, so we still need to get things for the house. It's all gone by pretty quick, and there's no panic. I've been around racing long enough to know that you can't force these things to happen, they've got to happen naturally. So, I'm just going to hang around and wait."