BUSCH: Phoenix II: Marcos Ambrose preview

AMBROSE TAKES FORM CAR AND TEAM CONFIDENCE INTO PHOENIX Marcos Ambrose will have a proven performer and great short track race car underneath him in the Arizona Travel 200 at Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona ...

AMBROSE TAKES FORM CAR AND TEAM CONFIDENCE INTO PHOENIX

Marcos Ambrose will have a proven performer and great short track race car underneath him in the Arizona Travel 200 at Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend.

Ambrose will drive the same car that he drove to his debut NASCAR Busch Series pole position and fourth place finish in Memphis two weeks ago. That performance was the best for the Australian in his rookie season in the NASCAR Busch Series.

With two races remaining in this year's Busch Series schedule, Ambrose is looking to finish the season on a positive note in the Aussie Vineyards-backed #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion. Phoenix, and the final race in Florida the following week, will therefore be important races for Ambrose and the #59 crew from Wood Brothers/JTG Racing.

Phoenix is a challenging short track, offering a unique challenge on the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series schedule. The track offers vastly different corners at each end of the 1.0-mile racetrack, making set-up a tough challenge for the 200-lap event.

Ambrose never had the opportunity to aim for a sixth top 10 for the season in Texas last weekend when contact damaged his car in the early laps. Unable to show their true speed in Texas, Ambrose and Wood Brothers/JTG Racing are confident that using the car Ambrose drove with success in Memphis is going to give them the best possible chance at Phoenix.

At Phoenix earlier this year Ambrose qualified in 10th position before going on to take 22nd position at the finish, while he was again in the top 10 in qualifying last season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, when Ambrose qualified seventh and finished 15th.

Ambrose currently sits ninth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings and is only 31 points behind eighth-placed Greg Biffle, with seventh placed Stephen Leicht only 112 points ahead of Ambrose.

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

"I think we've definitely got everything in place to get the job done in Phoenix," said Ambrose.

"This last part of the year has been great at Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. We've been working hard all year and that work is starting to pay off. I feel confident that we have things in place and the direction is good.

"At Phoenix we will take the car we ran at Memphis. We ran really well there to get the pole and get our first top five on the board, it will be good to see how we run this weekend.

"Texas was a tough race because once we sustained that damage in the first few laps we just had to hang on and do our best. It certainly gave me confidence to see how hard all our guys worked to make sure the car kept going and we got to the finish.

"Phoenix is a great track, one that I think almost everyone looks forward to because it's a tough track and a different sort of challenge. We are all keen to have a strong finish to the year so this race in Phoenix and the final race in Homestead will be important for us."

Q&A with Marcos Ambrose

Q: GOING BACK TO PHOENIX NEXT WEEK. IT SEEMS LIKE A LOT HAS CHANGED SINCE YOUR FIRST VISIT THERE.

MA: "We qualified well there, but we slipped back in the race. I feel like our short-track program has come a long way since then. I'm looking forward to another one. I want to finish this year strong and Phoenix hopefully will lift us for next season. We're really focused on next year from here on out, just trying to finish strong so we've got confidence and direction for next year's cars and next year's program. I like Phoenix; it's a great race track and a great place."

Q: PHOENIX IS A UNIQUE RACE TRACK.

MA: "It is. It's a race track and they all have their little quirks. It's a hard place to drive, turn one is very tight and banked and turn four is very fast and flat, so it's hard to get a perfect setup on the car. But you never get a perfect setup, but we're really excited about it and will have a shot at it and just want to build towards the future."

Q: YOU'VE HAD A COUPLE OF RACES WITH COOLER WEATHER, AND THE NEXT TWO RACES WILL BE IN WARMER PLACES. DOES THAT AFFECT YOU AT ALL?

MA: "Compared to the summer we've had, anything is cooler than what this summer was. I really struggled in the heat at California, Bristol and Daytona, so I'm enjoying the cool weather now. Anything compared to California's second race is cool to me, so I don't think it will make a huge difference."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Stephen Leicht