BUSCH: Marcos Ambrose Richmond test 2007-03-29

ONE YEAR ON FROM NASCAR DEBUT AMBROSE TESTS AT RICHMOND AND SITS IN BUSCH SERIES TOP 10 Team Australia driver Marcos Ambrose has reflected on his rise through the NASCAR ranks while participating in NASCAR Busch Series open testing at Richmond...

ONE YEAR ON FROM NASCAR DEBUT AMBROSE TESTS AT RICHMOND AND SITS IN BUSCH SERIES TOP 10

Team Australia driver Marcos Ambrose has reflected on his rise through the NASCAR ranks while participating in NASCAR Busch Series open testing at Richmond International Raceway today.

This Sunday will mark exactly 12 months since Marcos Ambrose made his NASCAR debut, having moved his family's life from Australia to the other side of the world to pursue a career in the enormous world of NASCAR in the United States.

April 1 of last year was not only Ambrose's first NASCAR event, it was his first race on an oval of any kind when he suited up for the fourth race in the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The two-time Australian V8 Supercar Champion qualified the #20 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford F-150 in 19th and was classified in 34th after becoming the innocent victim on an incident on lap 61.

Twelve months on Ambrose sits an outstanding seventh in the NASCAR Busch Series in the Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion. Ambrose is also rivalling former Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya, sitting second behind the Indianapolis 500 winner in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.

Ambrose completed two days of testing today at Richmond International Raceway, his first visit to the 0.75-mile (1.207km) speedway.

Richmond will host two events in the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series this season, the first on May 5 and the second on September 7.

Ambrose used two cars on both days of the open test, logging laps and evaluating set-ups at Richmond, which features 14 degree banking through its fast turns.

Ambrose and the Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion team will enjoy a race-free weekend on Ambrose's one year anniversary in NASCAR before racing at the Nashville Superspeedway for race seven in the NASCAR Busch Series on April 7.

Marcos Ambrose -- Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion

"I had never raced an oval of any kind until I got to Martinsville last year," said Ambrose.

"Twelve months this weekend -- to think that now we're in the NASCAR Busch Series. I've come a long way, but I still got a lot to learn.

"I still feel like I'm at the very beginning of my learning curve because it's so daunting, so challenging.

"I have no idea how we've ended up (seventh). It's a dream come true.

"The entire team is really on the up and Jon (Wood, Ambrose's Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team-mate) and I are working together really well.

"We're learning about each other and learning to race each other on the track. Our team is really starting to develop and mature. The communication is great and the friendships are strong.

"There are so many experienced drivers it's tough to just stay afloat when you're a rookie.

"Two years ago I was watching TV thinking 'how cool are those guys?' Now, you not only have to let them pass but you've got to try to race them. I've been letting them pass a lot, but eventually I'm going to have to challenge them for race position.

"It's a tough sport, this."

-credit: ma

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya